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The Problem with the New Atheists

Ariane Sherine and Richard Dawkins at the launch of London's Atheist Bus CampaignAre the so-called New Atheists actually right-wing fundamentalists at heart? Our good friend Robert Wright has a great essay over at Foreign Policy called “The Anti-God Squad,” in which he points out some of the alarming ways in which the New Atheists may be continually shooting themselves in the foot in their quest for a more rational world. Here’s an excerpt:

[T]he New Atheists’ main short-term goal wasn’t to turn believers into atheists, it was to turn atheists into New Atheists — fellow fire-breathing preachers of the anti-gospel. The point was to make it not just uncool to believe, but cool to ridicule believers.

And this year doubts about that mission have taken root among the New Atheists’ key demographic: intellectuals who aren’t religious and aren’t conservative. Even on the secular left, the alarming implications of the “crusade against religion” are becoming apparent: Though the New Atheists claim to be a progressive force, they often abet fundamentalists and reactionaries, from the heartland of America to the Middle East.

If you’re a Midwestern American, fighting to keep Darwin in the public schools and intelligent design out, the case you make to conservative Christians is that teaching evolution won’t turn their children into atheists. So the last thing you need is for the world’s most famous teacher of evolution, Richard Dawkins, to be among the world’s most zealously proselytizing atheists. These atmospherics only empower your enemies.

So too with foreign policy: Making “Western” synonymous with “aggressively atheist” isn’t a recipe for quelling anti-Western Islamist radicalism. . . .

All the great religions have shown time and again that they’re capable of tolerance and civility when their adherents don’t feel threatened or disrespected. At the same time, as some New Atheists have now shown, you don’t have to believe in God to exhibit intolerance and incivility.

You can read the full piece here. And about a year ago, we spoke with Georgetown University theologian John F. Haught about his brilliant and insightful counterattack to the rising tide of militant atheism, which you can download here (and preview below).

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Filed Under: AtheismCultureEnlightenNext Editors’ BlogReligion

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About the Author

Tom Huston is the Senior Online Editor of EnlightenNext magazine. Follow him on Twitter @KosmicTom.

Comments (330)

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  1. But as long as you couch it in moral terms, the spat will continue. Obviously everyone, religious or non, can be good or bad. Everyone uses their beliefs to do what they do, or rather everyone does what they do and their beliefs are one expression of that. The bad point about the new atheists is that they’re conceptual bullies. They think religious people treat the existence of god as a scientific fact, when clearly they don’t and can’t. Faith is different, and only exists in so much as it maintains a different kind of conceptual system entirely. The argument will endless continue until some grammatical nuance enters the debate, but that is exactly what all the shouting from both sides destroys.

    • Tom Huston says:

      Right! Semantics are a huge, huge part of the problem here–and few people ever stop to define the terms in question. It’s especially prevalent in the age-old “evolution” debate, which is usually presented as being a debate between scientists and creationists. But as we pointed out in “The Real Evolution Debate,” the situation is much more complex than that simplistic duality would have casual observers believe…

    • I wonder if that age-old duality thing is not based on something biological. I don’t know where the ‘God’ centre of my brain is and I don’t know where the ‘Not God’ centre of my brain is, but I know I have both. In my own experience, part of my brain (brain/mind) KNOWS that there is a God/Creator. Another part of my mind KNOWS that there isn’t! Because I experience frequent bouts of profound conviction both ways, I can only surrender to the fact, that for me, I just don’t know. And, I don’t know in an exhilarating and cosmically teasing way. For me, both convictions are just a state of being created by the greatest computer created/evolved and the reason they can both feel like the truth is purely because they are experienced as philosophically beautiful in the moment. I have neither the sensory apparatus/intellect, nor the technology to work it out either way. And the very question is loaded. Is there a creator or not? That’s like asking, what kind of cheese the moon is made of? It presupposes that it is definitely made of cheese – The Universe has to be either self generating from nothing or created as an expression of intelligence – only two models for the most unfathomable thing there is? I sympathise with Dawkins because spiritual people are terribly oafish in that they extrapolate their own experiences as definitive, undoubtedly because communion with otherness is like a realization tsunami. But I feel violent towards spiritual oafishness more than I do secular vitriol, I wonder why that is? I have no problem with the existence of a creator. In fact, the prospect excites and enchants me even though I am at least politically atheist. I would surf a black hole to find It/Them. It really is a case of the old prayer, “Dear God, protect me from your followers!” Scientists are intrigued and delighted by the fact that Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are still separated by mystery – there is the heart and virtue of an atheist!

      • Norma Leonard says:

        Perhaps one’s inclination towards spirituality or towards atheism is determined by how one defines “God”. I certainly don’t believe in a super human-like God who sits on a throne in some far off heaven, hearing the petitions of the billions of people on earth and meddling in their affairs. But I do believe that the no-thing-ness which exploded in the big-bang arose from a constant potential and that consciousness must surely be the undifferentiated ground state which gave rise to that potential. In my personal spiritual practice, I have experienced states of consciousness that seem to encompass something more vast than my puny perceptive and cognitive abilities. So —I am not religious, but neither am I an atheist by any definition I’m familiar with.

        I wonder how Dawkins would define the God he doesn’t believe in.

        • Norma, ” the no-thing-ness which exploded in the big-bang arose from a constant potential and that consciousness must surely be the undifferentiated ground state which gave rise to that potential.” Beautifully expressed, I am so interested in that idea. I have to keep practising just to hold it in my head, but it is in that ‘undifferentiated ground state’ I think that pedantry and polarisation breakdown – so thank you. My exgirlfriend keeps threatening to send me “A History of God” which she feels given my duality/iliteracy on the subject, I should read. I’ll give it a bash.

        • Shirley Gibbs says:

          Thank you Norma Leonard. If I had put my thoughts on this matter, into words, that is exactly how I would have liked to express myself.
          Brought up in an extremely punitive GOD fearing religion ( I was actually smacked and locked in my room for eating an ice cream I had been given on a Sunday ), I broke free from the shackles of this religion when I went to Teachers’ Training College aged 19, in 1947. I did try a few of the conventional churches for a few years but found that I was unwilling to commit myself to membership of them because the ministers inevitably preached salvation as the ONLY WAY. It seems to me to be so arrogant and exclusive of all human existence past present and future, that never has heard and never will hear of christianity. I have yet to find the primitive fundamentalist who can satisfactorily answer that question.
          However, I have had sufficient experiences occur in my 81 years on this planet to cause me to believe that there is a great creative force in charge of our wonderful universe and the many others that astronomers now tell us are out there too. While rejecting the petty punitive god I was brought up to believe in, I have an absolute belief in the existence of an immortal spirit/soul in humans.The description of this in the Bhagavad-gita…..”The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can it be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.
          This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.
          It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable and unchangeable. knowing this you should not grieve for the body.”
          I can handle that belief and also read and evaluate what other folk have to say on the matter.
          The N.A.S.A. web site and the wonderful pictures it provides through A.P.O.D.( Astronomy Picture of the Day ) has been of great inspiration to me. When I get fed up with the news about violence going on in Afghanistan, Iraq, India and Africa, all related to religion I begin to wonder when/ whether mankind will ever learn! The universes will continue expanding whether they are populated by humankind or not !

          • Karina says:

            In essence the teachings of Jesus can be simply stated as “Truth, Love and Respect”.
            All the other stuff in the church that does not encompass these teaching is not ‘Christian’…

        • Tony says:

          Actually, according to traditional theism, you are an atheist. Christian theology is quite specific about the nature of God. Perhaps you are panentheist like Tillich or Hartshorne.

      • Harry Winter says:

        I am the only one who read Ken Wilber? — this is all old wisdom.

        Let’s take a look at “stages of consciousness” (spiritual growth), such as James W. Fowler’s study or the good description in Scott Peck’s . We find that the stage of the fully developed rational/phenomenological mind is also the stage of (a stage in which we hand out Nobel prizes in science in our culture). This is also a which is actually one step above the one where people are , or , or , or .
        Ken Wilber gives a very good explanation for this: when he writes: … dogmas or given beliefs are precisely what hinders the emergence of deeper truths and wider vision. —— “There is more spirituality in reason’s denial of God than there is in myth’s affirmation of God, precisely because there is more depth. (And the transrational, in turn, discloses yet more depth, yet more Spirit, than either myth or reason)
        — Read it all at http://msmisp.com/logos/B-Bush.htm

        • Kenny Dahle says:

          This sounds like it could be a cogent comment, but you left out so many words that the effect is lost. Proofreading is a good habit.

        • Nikola says:

          LOL…. So how much more spirituality IS there in “reason’s denial of god than”… “in myth’s affirmation of god”? One, two pounds?
          And by reading Ken Wilber… how much more spirituality do we gain? One, two pounds?
          I see a lot of people mentioning big names here, while I’d prefer reading about personal experience… One’s experience doesn’t get more valuable because Ken Wilber shares one’s opinion… That could be just a rhetoric trick.
          “in Ken we trust” is just another believe. (of course I love the guy!)
          How can there be more spirit?
          How can there be more eternity?

        • Tony says:

          No, I’ve read most of his stuff too. First encountered “A Brief History of Everything” 15 years ago and went from there.

      • froggy57 says:

        “If you don’t believe in me, then believe in my works.”
        The Rose is in the Seed.

      • froggy57 says:

        ((The Universe has to be either self generating from nothing or created as an expression of intelligence – only two models for the most unfathomable thing there is?))

        It seems to me that both sides have yet to answer the question: ‘Where did it all come from?
        The believer says, ‘God created it’. The atheist says; ‘Then where did God come from?’
        The atheists says; ‘It all evolved out of nothing’. The believer replies; ‘How silly. How could anything evolve out of nothing’?
        And yet we ‘see’ electrons pop into existence. Seemingly out of nothingness.
        Birds can see before the sun comes up. They can ‘see’ what we cannot.
        Obviously there is a great deal more to be ‘seen’.
        “Pull down they vanity.”

        • Harry Winter says:

          Froggy 57,
          Yes, the Cosmos was either “created’ or was, as “Ken Wilber” named it just an OOPs. (An oops is an “accident” as in the old TV-commercial where the burritos breaks and the source goes all over the don’s fancy shirt. His famous words are: — “I hate it when that happens! — )

          However, I like my version of Genesis better:

          Missing from this “Gospel” is the , the Tao Te Ching, but you can find it hidden in my below.
          In the Beginning were no Words, but God Thought: (To Herself, no one else was there!) I’m Bored, Let’s Go For Broke! And with , she made a Big Bang.

          • Harry Winter says:

            Why are some harmless words missing from my posting?

            “In the Beginning were no Words, but God Thought: (To Herself, no one else was there!) I’m Bored, Let’s Go For Broke! And with one handclaping she made a Big Bang.”

            • Sam says:

              I loved your genesis story! I copied and posted on
              my facebook (and credited it to you of course).

              Thanks

    • joni says:

      When a person believes he/she is in contact with God or whatever
      label they apply to their spiritual Source, it doesn’t really matter
      what anyone else says, thinks, or believes. And rightfully so, everyone
      has a right to believe whatever helps him to survive this life here on the planet. And when one hears the still small voice within speaking one
      is convicted for life of the existence of another realm altogether and
      you need to experience it to know that. So let the heathen rage.

      • Harry Winter says:

        Hi Joni,
        “Have Faith in nothing, Faith is the eye that sees nothing and rejoices in it. Unknowingness absolves the future path of danger. The eye sees [it should, but], sees nothing, and so has Faith. — Fair set, all are hallowed — Shanti”.

      • Tony says:

        Maybe the “heathen” has also had such experiences, but doesn’t interpret it in the same way as the “believer.”

    • jonmark222 says:

      From a different point of view, what about the argument from the point of view of outstanding thinkers?.

      Okay, Richard Dawkins, says there’s no God, but Jesus Christ said there is.
      So did Mohandas Ghandi.
      Sam Harris thinks myth is a pack of lies. Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell would disagree.
      John Doe thinks God is a fairy tale.
      Deepak Chopra MD and Karen Armstrong know very well that God is no such thing.
      Make a column of serious believers in a good and compassionate God and a column of those who think that we live in a dead mechanical universe.
      I know which camp I belong too. – Even Sir Isaac Newton (who worked it all out mechanically) before Einstein and the Quantum Physicists realized how much we don’t understand, even he, Newton, was a profound believer in the ineffable divine reality.

      As the Jesus said, “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

      The atheists irritate me. I want to say to them, what they always try to say to me: GET REAL!

      • Harry Winter says:

        Hi Jonmark222,
        Albert Einstein also believes there is a God, but not that there is any reasonable Church and that the Torah is childish.
        — see this letter by Albert Einstein published in 2008 —

      • Tony says:

        That’s nothing more than argument from authority. I’m sure, if you were totally honest with yourself, you could admit that you are just picking and choosing all the heroes you want on your side, and are unconsciously or even consciously omitting plenty of wonderful, intelligent, compassion, sane, and decent people from the “other” column. An atheist could do the same. Perhaps atheists might also feel irritated with the heaps of condescension laid upon by the majority. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdVucvo-kDU&feature=related

        And I don’t know if your characterization of Newton’s god is really accurate. Ineffable divine reality? That’s a rather vague definition. He was a deist – the mechanical clockmaker god.

        At any rate, he spent a LOT of time on now discredited alchemy, however interesting his research may have been. Should we conclude that his work in that area are as true of Newton’s laws of motion, gravity, energy, etc. which have actually been verified (well, except on very large and very small quantum scales)?

  2. I couldn’t agree less. The vast majority of the several hundred atheists I know are tolerant of other atheists. There may be some griping from what I call the “coexist atheists” about the volume and tone of discourse (ahem), but if no atheists question religion, and if we act like not offending Christian parents is more important than keeping science class based on facts instead of politics, we will all continue to be marginalized.

    Sure, some of us need to be nice non-threatening neighbors, philanthropists, and good citizens. But some of us need to cry foul when we see religion doing reprehensible things. We’re not forbidden from taking part in the discussion, just because we lack belief in a god.

    • Tom Huston says:

      Well, I think Wright’s point is that the “tone of the discourse,” as you put it, may be doing more harm than good for the atheist cause, and the tolerant atheists you speak of should be worried about this. It isn’t about tolerating or not offending Christians; it’s about employing more skillful, intelligent, and less divisive means in the way we rationally minded, science-loving souls go about trying to help the true believers see our point of view.

      I don’t think the black-and-white polarization really helps anything. In fact, from a certain point of view, relating to life in such terms is the fundamental definition of fundamentalism. If we can’t see that the picture is far more nuanced and complex than Science vs. Religion or Atheists vs. Theists, then the battle will never end. The New Atheists seem to think they’re on to something new with their impassioned defense against “religion,” but Voltaire was skewering hapless blind faith far more ingeniously and skillfully 250 years ago.

      Besides, it isn’t really a matter of religion; it’s a matter of development. Conflating a fundamentalist orientation with “religion” as a whole is what Ken Wilber calls the level/line fallacy (see Integral Spirituality). It means accidentally equating a line of human development (moral, aesthetic, cognitive, religious, etc.) with a particular developmental stage or level of that line (premodern, modern, postmodern, etc.). Religion or belief in God isn’t the problem; it’s the premodern, mythical, Bible- or Koran-thumping version of religion that is.

      • Tom Huston says:

        And, I should add, it isn’t even that premodern religion is a “problem” per se. It’s just a characteristic of a certain stage of human cultural development (or lack thereof), and the solution isn’t to do away with it (as if such a thing were even possible), but rather to find new ways to encourage people to evolve.

        • We’re just going to have to disagree here. I recognize that there are many moderate believers of any religion, but they create cover for & better PR for the fundamentalists of their faith. And there you *will* find the problem, unintentionally supported by well-meaning believers who just want to love their families and their gods. I’m not saying anyone is making the world worse on purpose, but religion is a force for evil in the world and in the lives of millions of children who are being brainwashed and abused everyday, in the name of some fictional god.

          • froggy57 says:

            There is a saying about Gold. “Gold is the root of all evil.”
            Actually, it isn’t Gold that is the root of evil, but as has often
            been said, ‘the lust after Gold. ‘
            One might use that analogy re-worked, to comment about religion.
            But perhaps it is not religion that is the problem… but mankind.
            Anything you can look back through time and see people doing, is probably human nature. And mankind has been commiting acts of
            evil forever. Mankind is insane and always has been.
            But instead of facing that, and accepting responsibility for our
            own insanity, we try to put it off on religion, etc.

          • Harry Winter says:

            Anjie and Tom,
            You are both missing the importance of Level or Stage of “Consciousness” concerning Theism or other Religion or even Spirituality. They are all dependent on the “Level” your mind is operating on. Ralf Waldo Emerson stated the universal Law:
            ————- “What we are, that only can we see” ———-
            Atheism is actually a higher stage than any conventional Religion.
            “Ken Wilber” gives a very good explanation for this: when he writes: … dogmas or given beliefs are precisely what hinders the emergence of deeper truths and wider vision. —— “There is more spirituality in reason’s denial of God than there is in myth’s affirmation of God, precisely because there is more depth. (And the transrational, in turn, discloses yet more depth, yet more Spirit, than either myth or reason).

            • Walter Keil says:

              Oh what a strange type of argument.
              I never met an atheist who said he is a spiritual person.
              Maybe you try to lift yourself above others.
              All of our personal status is a gift, even our personal achievements.
              Do you know how it is to live in the dark where all possibilities are rather small ?
              And Ken Wilber do not deny any God. (read in”A Brief History Of Everything”

              • Tony says:

                Wilber is a panentheist, so his use of the term “God” mean something something different than it might for the *typical* Christian believen

                And if you interested in being empirical, here is the proof: I am an atheist who considers himself a “spiritual” person. Perhaps you should
                spend more time with Buddhists and other non-theists.

        • Harry Winter says:

          Right Tom!
          Actually, the Stage of our development of “CONSCIOUSNESS”, for the individual as well as the Culture, determines our “Understanding”.
          “What we are, that only can we see.” says Ralf Waldo Emerson.

          Our human race is now at the Ego-mind Level to about 95%, the other 5% are still lower. —

        • Harry Winter says:

          Hi Tom,
          You gave as a solution:
          “… to find new ways to encourage people to evolve.” Do you actually know how difficult that is — nearly impossible. When Jesus Christ tried to raise the consciousness of his disciples he failed miserably.
          See the misquote by Luke: “Unless you hate [the motives and life-goals which] your father and mother and wife and brother and sister, and, even yourself [stand for], you can’t be my disciple.” (As misquoted by Luke 14:26, because he did not understand nor did anyone else, even now, that’s why I inserted the words in square brackets.) What Jesus is demanding here is a for his disciples.

          R.W. Emerson gave us the reason (Jesus did not read Emerson!)
          —— “What we are, that only can we see.” ——

      • Anthony says:

        A lot of bogus claims have been made about atheists/atheism in general, and what’s said about these fellows is hardly new. It seems as though too many critics have not bothered to thoroughly look into their arguments one by one. They were lumped together mainly because they all put out popular books arguing passionately for the validity and necessity of rejecting belief in deities and the supernatural at about the same time. The Four Horsemen roundtable discussion thus was made as a sort of homage to the notion that they are the leaders of this so-called “New Atheism” movement. And incidentally, it is a very good discussion.

        Except for perhaps Hitchens, and sometimes Harris, they don’t come across as provocatuers to me. Indeed, Harris argues against using the label “atheist.” Further, he’s alienated some atheists because he calls for scientific study into spirituality/contemplation, thus validating it.

        If you look at their statements carefully, it should be obvious they are not “fundamentalist.” They each have different – and yes, nuanced – positions on religion, politics, and philosophy. Indeed, one of them is in fact a professional philosopher (Dennett) who’s been writing for decades and I’ve never seen, heard, or read anything of his that came across as incivil or intolerant in tone. On the contrary, his opponents are usually the ones who get prickly (e.g. see his debate with D’Souza, who is against teaching the equality of all religions in public schools, as natural phenomenon, on the grounds that it is “metaphysical Darwinism”). Whether this means eliminative materialism is correct or not is beside the point.

        To characterize them all as “militant” in either style or content is a bit of stretch. Harris in particular has been selectively quoted out of context in order to discredit him personally, thus conveniently avoiding some of the deeper questions/issues he’s tried to raise. It is true that certain private beliefs – mainly religious – are often considered offgrounds (thus sancrosanct) in the public sphere for pragmatic reasons. It helps us get along, the liberal “overlapping consensus” of Rawls in which citizens act rationally and humanely without an authority that forces metaphysical agreement on them.

        Except, of course, the reality is that America is hardly consistent in following this principle, especially in the media when it comes to politicians. And really, why should we keep questions about God or gods at arm’s length? Why is religion (and the institutions that support it) a mode of discourse in which its central premises, out of “politeness,” must be accepted uncritically? We don’t do this with other important areas of life, do we? This is strange for a country predicated on a notion of separate of church and state.

        If more people were able to argue constructively against these “New Atheists” and not in a knee-jerk fashion or emotional fashion, the cause of reason itself would be advanced, whether or not their propositions on certain issues turn out to be correct or not. This is the cause which, by the way, actually seems to unite these irreligious “crusaders.”

      • Meh, I grew up in a bible-based cult where children died of medical neglect based on their parents RELIGIOUS beliefs. I still blame religion and belief in unreality for losing so many friends to preventable deaths.

        • Anthony says:

          In this case, I’d say that religion (as a system of beliefs, rituals, praxis, signs/signifiers) is definitely to blame. Certainly, if the beliefs and their fatal consequences were actively questioned, well, surely this needless suffering could have been avoided. The law, of course, can’t prosecute “religion” specifically, because religion is not a person. Besides which, the first amendment protects religion from the state (and in theory, is supposed to protect citizens from [politically forced] religion). Persons have rights/responsibilities, whereas a social-ideological-metaphysical system is not a sentient being per se. But perhaps bad ideas, in a rational legal setting, can in a certain sense be “put on trial.”

          By all means, the state should charge those guilty with neglect, if they haven’t already. How that would play out in court is another question (think of the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose, or the book “God and the Gavel”).

          • Well, I can tell you how one particular place played out in court. The little boy Harrison Johnson was 2 and fell into a nest of yellow jackets. He was stung over 400 times and died after 7 hours. His parents prayed rather than calling 911 (at the advice of my cult-leading grandmother, who was present for all this). The parents were charged with nmanslaughter, but were acquitted after the jury was advised by the judge they had to believe the parents *intended* to let their boy die. There are religious exemptions in Florida & 46 other states that interfere with ordinary child neglect laws, making it much harder to gain prosecution. Reversing these laws is one of my driving passions in life. (Sign this petition to help, please: http://www.petition2congress.com/2/2550/go/410376/)

            My grandmother, writer of the dogma they followed, was not charged with anything, because she was a religious leader & those only get in trouble for breaking into government offices, killing a bunch of people, or having an illegal arsenol of guns. Maybe after a few generations of girls being married off to old pedophiles, one of the guys in your cult will go to jail for it, after hundreds of girls’ lives have been ruined by the illegal practice of bigamy in the FLDS cult.

            I will NOT be quiet about religion. The cult made me into a silent witness to terrible atrocities. Now that I’m an atheist, I’m going to talk. And to hell with anyone who tries to silence me.

            • Anthony says:

              I’m with you all the way. I wish you luck. I’m sorry you had to go through that, and I won’t try to placate you with the statement at least it motivated to fight for justice. Maybe it did, but that doesn’t justice the evils committed in the name of religion.

              My experience has been different, yet I’m no stranger to religious
              abuse, and I too am working to promote reason against the darkness all around me. I’m lucky I haven’t been killed.

              • Paul says:

                I wonder what a world history would look like if there was no belief in anything beyond our perception? If there had been no Jesus or Mohomad, would there have been less human strife? We can blame the carnage on differing theologies but man is evolving from a kill or be killed environment.
                Trying to teach the people of 2000 years ago about the big picture is like trying to teach quantum mechanics to a grade 1 class, there may be potential in some, but even they won’t understand and get it right. There is no question that religions have been abused for personal power, but those are man’s issues, not Gods.
                Atheists, like fundamentalist, tend to use a very literal and (to my perspective) outdated view of God. I personally think the Bible was intentionally vague and open to interpretation so that it would be applicable as time and man advanced. As is usually the case, the answers are somewhere in the middle ground and still not entirely available to us.

      • Kenny Dahle says:

        The elephant in the room is belief itself. The present argument falls inevitably into a well-worn groove that has on the one side, thinking people who say that religion is bad and on the other, sincere people who say, don’t you dare attack my beliefs. The more meaningful argument is about the very act of belief itself.
        Religion is spawned by belief. If one comes to believe, for example, that the sun revolves around the earth, then that conviction can become a tenet of a religion. It does not matter that the sun does not actually follow this particular path. Once a belief has become “formalized” by strenuous espousal and official pronouncements, it has hardened into religion.
        I think it was Werner Erhard who said that belief is the booby prize in life. Our everyday life and cultural evolution is based on belief–belief in the future based on belief in the past. Yet, to some of us it is quite obvious that the act of believing in something should be done very cautiously and held lightly, for the nature of being is that of continual change and a thing believed today is a lie tomorrow.
        The maddening folly of religion is that it tries to hold time still and turn current or past ideas into laws that must be obeyed and ultimately defended. Fear of change and intolerance of another point-of-view is a hallmark of all religions. The folly is that the motivation for this knee-jerk reaction to human experience is intellectual and spiritual weakness.
        The other thing that makes the classic atheism vs. religion argument so often ridiculous and “much ado about nothing” is that atheism itself is a religion. The pronouncement that “there is no god” is as much a belief as “there is a god”, and rigid adherence to this belief as a guiding principle is tantamount to a religion.
        Of course we must then acknowledge the obvious which is that believing is an intrinsic part of being human and we all do it; atheists and Christians alike. (An interesting aside: my Microsoft word spell-checker just capitalized “Christian” for me but left “atheist” unchanged. Of course it capitalized “Microsoft” as well so you know where its proclivities lie!). But belief does not need to be clung to. A belief can be held lightly and be always available to change. It is when belief is cauterized into a rigid conviction that the human tragedy of religion begins.
        The funny thing is that within each religion lies a jewel of truth. I regularly attend Sunday mass at a local catholic church here. Yet, as you might have surmised, I am not in the least religious and don’t take the sophomoric bible story seriously. It is glaringly anachronistic and pathetically adolescent in nature. But the Christian parables and metaphors ring true. That we have, for example a “Christ nature” seems true. That we (our egoic self) must “die” so that our true spiritual self can emerge (ascend) into a blissful state (heaven) is an epiphanal construct to be sure. Thus, religion, when presented masterfully and stripped of its dogmatic “beliefs” can be valuable and inspirational.
        However, in its present and long established state, Religion is illusory, false, corrupt, culpable and dangerous and it deserves withering criticism. But what needs to be brought to the fore and revealed in discourse is the very deceptive and unreliable nature of the very act of believing.

        • Harry Winter says:

          Kenny,
          “Believe” in a spirituality (or Religion originally) comes in Stages or Level of “Consciousness” . (Yes, its a Hiraky) Concerning “Consciousness” Ralf Waldo Emmerson gave us the universal Law:
          —————— Only what you are, that only can we see. ————-
          Jesus must have been very frustrated with his disciples, because they never developed the which he demanded from them, and even his urgent request for it got lost when it was terribly misquoted by Luke 14:26 “Unless you hate [the motives and life-goals which] your father and mother and wife and brother and sister, and, even yourself [stand for], you can’t be my disciple.” (I inserted the missing words in square brackets.)

          A vital consequence about this stage or level of consciousness for our lives is that:

    • It’s not that it wouldn’t be great if you could have a debate, but you simply can’t – well at least not about the content of the beliefs anyway. To do so would require them to denounce their religion, or otherwise talk metaphorically or poetically – neither a very good basis for genuine dialogue.

      A religious person has to defend themselves from scientific claims, because their beliefs do, if they are to be real, take the place of scientific facts (if jesus lived, he certainly didn’t come back from the dead etc.)

      Atheists can of course enter the debate as to what the religious texts mean, what God would want religious people to do and so on, and they can discuss with them all the reprehensible things they do, but only within the context of the particular belief system.

      You can’t start from scientific scratch, because your side of the argument requires them to accept something they litterally cannot accept – ie scientific reality. If they did accept the context of the argument they would no longer be religious and there would be no argument.

      You can’t talk about your own myths as myths. Useful dialogue between religion and atheism can only take place if atheists are willing to play ball with myths as myths, and that is something they seem completely opposed to doing. It’s why the new atheists are a kind of fundamentalist, allbeit not religious ones.

      • Anthony says:

        I play ball all the time, as annoying as it sometimes is, because I have to in order to get along, and currently just to protect myself. But here’s the thing – atheists are a minority in America, one that is more distrusted and, according to polls and public vitriol, hated than racists, criminals, or even Islamic terrorists (perhaps because the Christian religious right, while not agreeing with the beliefs/practices of Muslims, can relate to their puritanical streak and the desire to act on behalf of a vengeful God). Besides, America has its own terrorists – the identity movement, anti-government militias, and hate groups (however small or marginal) that tap into the larger irrational impulses of American popular culture.

        So while atheists are often required to understand the pov of believers, it seems there’s much less willingness on the part of believers to try to understand the perspective of non-believers (that is, to consider the possibility that the myths are not literally true and that there are other, mainly naturalistic, explanations of the world that make sense to people).

        • Absolutely, i think it’s really hard. I’m saying atheism is a threat to non-believers, and they definitely can’t understand the atheist pov as it rests on foundations which, if they understood them, would completely undermine their faith. I don’t like it that it’s that way, its just the way faith works.

          If you’re religious you have to believe that god still exists for the non-believers, so we are massively missing the fundamental thing.

          Quite how you go on is very difficult unless atheists accept that they have to put forward something positive, and accept that they are trying to convert people. Not an atheist religion of course, but a decent grand narrative that makes life good. You can do that without organized religion, priests, metaphysics, holly books, worship and all that, but you can’t do it with science alone. Facts only mean what we use them for.

          • Anthony says:

            “I don’t like it that it’s that way, its just the way faith works.”
            But I think faith can actually work in different ways. You can have faith in things that are subjective matters and either unprovable or difficult to prove empirically/statistically – the future will get better, I’m a worthwhile person, being healthy/happy is preferable to being miserable, if I do positive actions, I can achieve well-being, etc. While the notion can’t be validated without trying to apply some initial proposition (accepted on faith) in your life, you can certainly muster some factual evidence to make it seem reasonable to pursue certain things. Cognitive psychotherapy, for example, works in this way.

            As for absolute truth claims about beings who are said to exist in an “objective” sense, as individuals beings who either live in or at least interact with the manifest realm of spacetime, well, that’s a whole other matter. Because now you are making propositions that can be answered in a scientific manner, not just qualitative issues. And
            you are further asking others to also believe these propositions and
            accept them uncritically (which is what religious institutions generally do) and intimidate those who don’t seem to live their lives on these objective principles or base their worldviews on it.

            “Quite how you go on is very difficult unless atheists accept that they have to put forward something positive, and accept that they are trying to convert people. Not an atheist religion of course, but a decent grand narrative that makes life good. You can do that without organized religion, priests, metaphysics, holly books, worship and all that, but you can’t do it with science alone. Facts only mean what we use them for.”

            Sam Harris has already raised these issues, so I suggest you revisit his
            arguments again. I already went to the trouble of posting a
            quote of his, and it didn’t take me that long to look it up. There
            is also Dawkins and his “Stop worrying and live your life” proclamations, which may or may not have much cultural impact.

            What comfort is there for one who no longer has faith in shaky metaphysics? After all, isn’t it normal to want to feel that the universe is on your/our side? You could look to the ancient Greeks. There was Aristotle’s “golden mean.” Epicurus invented “hedonism,” a much abused term as what he actually advocated was rationalism – the balanced application of pleasure in service of the good life – and a happy life (greater pleasures) over fleeting and lesser pleasures. It influenced the Utilitarianism of Mills and Benthem (which, for example considers art and culture superior to other forms of sensual indulgence), political liberalism-libertarianism (Rawls, Nozick), ethical egoism (Rand), etc.

            This is an issue that I’ve talked about to fellow non-believers myself.
            It does come across as though atheists are only interested in taking away comforting beliefs. But as I’ve pointed out, plenty of non-believing philosophers have, or have tried, to come up grand narratives without recourse to an unquestionable deity. Even European existenialism in the 20th century, often gloomy, has as its central concern human freedom, dignity, and the importance of values.

            So as far as I’m concerned, that’s positive. And science, by the way, has not arisen in a vacuum. It’s not only curiosity, passion, or values that moves it forward, but human need. A need not just to survive, but to thrive. Not to pretend to have answers that can’t be questioned, but to generate *useful* truths to others. Science was born in an environment in which people have used it to seek a better life. And the spiritual sciences, the various forms of Yoga, if they can be called science, are basically on the same page.

      • I agree with everything till your last sentence. Matt Dillahunty & the rest of the Atheist Experience show *love* getting into conversations about beliefs. I absolutely love talking to theists about their beliefs too, not science (which I’m woefully ignorant of thanks to my religious upbringing.) I agree – only once I lost belief in a god was able to accept some things, but I did accept evolution six months before I became an atheist. It probably helped.

        New Atheists deconverted me. People who pointed out what a jerk the God of the Bible was helped me. How can I not wanna pay that forward? If no one had pointed out how screwed up Christianity really was, I might still believe.

      • froggy57 says:

        lol. Good post, Anthony.

    • AnniepieSunflower says:

      I live in Lancaster Co., PA, where Christianity/fundamentalism reign!
      The ‘religious’ lie, cheat and steal … they are not to be trusted. If someone announces they’re Christian, I run away!!!

      • froggy57 says:

        ((The ‘religious’ lie, cheat and steal … they are not to be
        trusted.))

        Oh, please. You cannot be simple enough to accept the
        idea that lying and stealing are typical of religious
        people? You are describing characteristics of people in
        general, and for the sake of furthering your point of
        view, attributing the more undesirable human faults to
        one group of humanity. You could have just as
        accurately attributed those faults to ‘doctor, lawyer,
        Indian Cheif, etc.’

        • Shirley says:

          froggy57,
          I know Anniepie Sunflower’s comment seems to be extremely harsh and judgmental BUT what if she was stuck in this community, unable to move away from it because of circumstances beyond her control ? What if her circle of relatives/ friends was not wide enough or wise enough to give her some respite from it?
          As a young child and into my teens I lived in the middle of a drama which split the family apart..there was no escape for me.
          Briefly :- The elderly father had made a will fairly distributing his possessions to the family in a way designed to meet everyone’s needs.
          Money for two married daughters, the large and beautiful family home to four spinster daughters the eldest of whom was excessively religious to the point of fanatacism and by a codicil to the will, he left the original family home in a small country village to his only son who had lived in it with his wife and 6 of his 7 children for the past 18 years. Due to an accident the father became hospitalised and by the solicitor’s oversight, the will was never signed.
          When the father died in 1942, the same solicitor who had neglected to ensure that the will was signed, told the eldest religious daughter that the codicil could not be enforced and that her brother’s house could be included in the main estate.
          The rest of the family were horrified at what she set about and succeeded in doing even though it took three years to accomplish .
          With his wife just out of hospital after a long illness, five children still dependent upon him and working two jobs to make ends meet,his eldest sister ordered him to vacate the house.He protested and her answer was that “God wanted her to send the proceeds to the missionaries in the Belgian Congo.”
          A decent solicitor would have organised the matter very easily but the sister’s solicitor had dollar signs in his eyes. He knew it would take years to settle. I guess he rubbed his hands with glee.
          With his wife hospitalised again with a very serious illness and five dependent children this poor man couldn’t stand the pressure.He capitulated and found a small cottage to rent and soon after purchased
          a lovely home on a large section which he turned into a market garden. This garden supplied the Nurses’ Home at the local hospital with vegetables and the “gardener” paid off his mortgage very quickly. It was a very good outcome after all the misery and bitterness.
          In the Belgian Congo, the missionary’s wife had a grand piano sent out from England.
          Very shortly after that we had word of the Congalese uprising and sadly of the death by cannabalism of the missionary, a lovely New Zealand man who was back packing powdered milk into the area for their starving children. This young man, in feeding the starving children, was following Jesus’ example even unto the death. For his compassion and bravery, I honour him.
          He was a truly lovely person.However, I have to believe that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and for the wrong reason.
          It was not until many years later when my husband and I read “The Poisonwood Bible ” that I recognised the same fanatacism in it that I had known as a young person. My husband,Walter, said wryly, “Shirl, in a different age, your Auntie Ada would have been the Mother Superior of a Closed Order Convent.”
          I added “Maybe she was in a different life !”

      • jonmark222 says:

        Funnily enough I live in Lancaster, too.

    • froggy57 says:

      ((The vast majority of the several hundred atheists I know are
      tolerant of other atheists.))

      Of course they are. They don’t believe in anything. So how can
      they disagree?

      ((But some of us need to cry foul when we see religion doing
      reprehensible things))

      Religion is not doing anything. Some idiots who ‘claim’ to be
      religious are doing stupid things in religions name.
      If someone forges your name to a check, does that make you
      liable?
      If a scientist does something reprehensible, do you decry
      science? lol.

      • Tony says:

        I don’t, but actually quite a few religious people do decry science on those grounds. It is a silly argument.

        On the other hand, a lot of bad behavior by religious people can indeed be traced to religious beliefs – ones that religious institutions have indoctrinated people to believe, ones that are held to be absolute (read: unquestionable) – and this is when you can no longer excuse religion. Ideas have consequences, especially if they are considered infallible and are backed up by coercive political power. Irrational ideas are often dangerous in this regard. So let’s look at bad ideas for what they are.

    • Harry Winter says:

      Hi Angie,
      Atheism is at a higher Spiritual Level than any other Conventional Religion.
      “Ken Wilber” gives a very good explanation for this: when he writes: … dogmas or given beliefs are precisely what hinders the emergence of deeper truths and wider vision. —— “There is more spirituality in reason’s denial of God than there is in myth’s affirmation of God, precisely because there is more depth. (And the transrational, in turn, discloses yet more depth, yet more Spirit, than either myth or reason).

      • Patrick says:

        Harry: That’s a great quote. Good on Ken W!

      • Walter Keil says:

        Dear Harry,
        I can’t see you, you are so high above us all….

        But, there is no evidence that God does not excist.

        Your statements are barely judgments without arguments.
        All living beings carry their genetic plans in their cells. And this is only due to meaningless passing by of time ?
        I live in Germany where is no such war between christians and atheists.
        I am christan, but I seek the truth and therefore I disagree with the official church in may things.
        I think we live in a an epoch of globalisation and enlightenment and we have to overcome cultural and religious differences. This cannot be done by telling other people, they are behind. I know religious hardliners, and I know their double moral standards.
        But here in Germany we have now millions of atheist from the former DDR. I can’t see any difference between western a nazi and a eastern nazi.
        The western skinheads got christian education, the eastern got atheistic education. It’s the same with the russian and the italian Mafia:
        No higher level in the atheistic russian Mafia. The kill you take the money and run… I think some skinheads even don not believe in God.

        I know for sure that religous people can be more than evil.
        Man and women can be evil regardless their believe.

        I really dislike persons who think they are above others. Growing up in the light and speak to the people in the dark as poor and obsolete is not my thing.
        We have the right to critizize, but with respect.

        • Tony says:

          Actually I have (personal) evidence that at least some members of the Russian mafia DO believe in Christianity.

        • Tony says:

          “…there is no evidence that God does not excist.” The old “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence argument. Well, logically you can’t prove a negative – that something exists because you can’t say it doesn’t. Do you believe in Santa Claus? If you say no, then would you accept a characterization that you are narrow-minded and unspiritual. After all, we don’t have proof that there is no Santa Claus. How do you know that if you or I go to the Arctic some day, he might be there? Why close off the possibility, unless you are an extremist!

          And what about he invisible pink unicorn? Are you a believer? If not, why? After all, how do you know that I don’t see the unicorn, just because you don’t? I’m telling you, it’s pink, and if you don’t believe me, that’s because you have an anti-pink unicorn religion!

          • Walter Keil says:

            Tony, sorry, I missed your answer.

            So I’m a little bit late with my statement.
            We know how it came to Santa Claus.
            Only a symbol of childish and foolish fantasy ?

            It’s good example for the evolution of culture.
            The story of Santa Claus goes back to the Bishop of Myra who died
            352. Wikipedia is telling us a lot about the history of Santa Claus.
            To understand how it comes to such a childish fantasy
            you need to give respect to the people of former times. To say they were extremely blind and dull is a rather arrogant way of thinking on our fundaments. Our ancestors had to struggle in daily life in a way what is hard to imagine. The average age of the people was about 35 years. And dead was much more a companion in daily life as now. The common knowledge was on a rather low level.
            Women have been always pregnant from teenage age mostly until their death. Men had to live a very hard life of work and war. When you imagine how hard life was in ancient times, you will know how they needed rituals and stories celebrating the happy end and a deeper sense of life. This effect can also be seen today in social underclass and in the third world. Our brain, working with eternal energy, is always looking for solutions and salvation.
            And therefore hard times of the past led to such developments on the field of culture and religion.
            Today we have Hollywood and a lot of story tellers with different levels of writing and people long for that stuff.
            By more than 90 % it contends a small or big piece of consolation and positive outlook. The happy end is in general a human requirement. We are born positive thinkers. We can overwhelm a lot of childish stories which had their origin in the childhood of mankind.
            But this takes time.
            But we can not overwhelm the new fantasies, produced by writers and artists, commenting the motives of human activities.

            You can resume, because every living being carries the program of a will to survive under almost every circumstances. And a growing intellectual species is maturating with stories and rituals that can not stand close examination. They are part of their struggle.
            It’s a part of evolution.
            Without a God this is unthinkable for me.

            And because we do not know very much about the whole truth of reality, a new atheistic look at the world, based on scepticism to religion and God, can not be a final enlightenment.
            Life is still a miracle and science is an incomplete system of a look on reality.
            We should not forget that we do not know what gravity is. That’s why we build laboratories like the LHC.
            Which may send us one day into a hidden dimension. There is evidently a fundamental belief in a reliable reality among scientists.
            I have my doubt and think the LHC is dangerous instrument.
            And: Maybe life on earth is attended by higher developed beings, playing the role of caretakers.
            What we absolutely do not know, but it’s possible.

            With kind regards from Germany
            Walter Keil

            PS. We still haven’t found the final truth.

    • chris says:

      The thought I have, beyond what are poor arguments against Atheism in this piece, is that religion is the lesser of two evils. We all have to live with each other, I just don’t trust Atheism to the great majority of those whom I must co-exist. People are to blame for reprehensible things, religion is a cover; and to deny the positive effects religion has is a serious oversight.

      • Shirley says:

        Hi Chris,
        Not sure if your reply is to Walter Kiel’s or Tony’s post but I would like you to clarify if you regard either or both atheist beliefs or religious beliefs as evil?
        In the past, undoubtedly, both atheism and religion have included some horrible practices. However, that said, I truly believe that both “stands” are much closer together today than most people realise.
        Since I first became interested in reincarnation, after reading some of Joan Grant’s books, at the age of fifteen, I have read widely (pro and con) many religions. It did not come as a surprise to me that Jesus actually taught reincarnation nor that he was married and father of at least three children. As an orthodox Jew he was required to be married.
        Interesting documents held in Tibetan monasteries indicate that Jesus lived and studied there so the corollary is that he would have been exposed to reincarnation beliefs.
        During a visit to an ancient monastery in Xian, we were told that the stone tablets in the “Forest of Steles”indicated that the Jewish teacher whose people had crucified him had lived and taught there.Our guide, a communist said “That was your Jesus.”
        In Cornwall, England, persistent stories emerge of Jesus managing tin mines for his uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, one and the same uncle whose camel trains travelled the Tibetan silk route. It doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to place Jesus in these scenes during the period called the ‘Lost Years of Jesus.’ There have been some fascinating books written about Jesus the man.Certainly, with an uncle a wealthy merchant with a fleet of oceangoing ships and a caravan train, Jesus would not have been short of opportunities for travel.
        People who assert the divinity of Jesus are very uncomfortable about the fact that during the years from thirteen to thirty, Jesus, the man would have actually earned a living working.
        Egyptian records tell of Jesus as a young man, studying and graduating with the Theraputiae.
        People who consider only the religious/ miraculous aspect of Jesus
        miss out on learning about what an amazingly versatile human being he was .This is why so many churches are happy to leave the Lost Years of Jesus, exactly that, Lost !
        In the early sixties,Professor Lloyd Geering, Head of Old Testament Studies at the Knox Theological College, Dunedin, published his book ‘God in the New World.’ It created a furore in the community and churches throughout New Zealand. Some church members cried for his dismissal. Other people were more than happy to have the opportunity to examine “modern” christianity.
        In November 1962, charges of heresy were brought against Professor Geering before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand. After a two day trial, all charges were dismissed as no doctrinal error had been established. Nevertheless the ‘pot’ had been stirred and how ! (at the end of the school year the mother of one of my pupils, also a close neighbour, gave me a very generous book token as a thankyou gift. I purchased Professor Geering’s book . At a street Saturday coffee morning a few days later she asked what I had bought with the token. When I replied Lloyd Geering’s controversial book, she looked aghast at me and said crisply’ If I’d known you were going to buy THAT with it I wouldn’t have given it to you.’ To make matters worse her husband said ‘I’d like to read it when you’ve finished.’ I had finished so I handed him the book. My husband, the agnostic, (for want of a better term,) fled from the room convulsed with laughter and I decided it was time to fill up the coffee cups.
        The Principal of my school, a staunch old style catholic, heard about this book.He made a special matter of it at staff meeting that no one was to bring it into his school and he hoped that none of the staff would read it. Of course they all wanted to read it after that and I am surprised that I ever got it back again. It is still here as I write this and after dipping into it I find it as relevant as ever. Lloyd Geering is still alive and still writing!
        Anyone who is fascinated by Jesus as an extraordinary human being would enjoy Barbara Thiering’s ‘ Jesus the Man., ‘ ( A new interpretation from the Dead Sea Scrolls.)
        If anyone has read either of these books I would like to hear your thoughts on them.

        Blessings and Light to you all, Shirley.

        • chris says:

          Shirley,

          A specific religion’s history; while fascinating, entertaining, and relevant to an individual follower or dissenter, is irrelevant to the impact of an ultimate and devine power who’s rules must be followed. Atheism is the greater of two evils because it gives no boudries or rules as it has no ultimate or devine deity. What I’m trying to say, is that Theism or Atheism is neither evil or good. People are evil or good, and some evil people are subjucated by the ever pressent rules of religion; while Atheism provides no guidance. My argument against Atheism, is that without God we (collectively) become more evil.
          I’d like to say I’ve read all those books, but I haven’t the time or inclination…..maybe in my next life.

  3. Don Dixon says:

    Few people are ever persuaded by rational argument, and bullying tends merely to amplify resistance to new ideas. The possibility that Hitchens, et. al. are reinforcing fundamentalism is simultaneously amusing and depressing.

    • Anthony says:

      Again I ask, does Dennett seem like a bully? And I trust that Dawkins, when he says that every unbeliever and scientist he knows is a decent, gentle person, is probably telling the truth.

      • Its not that they’re bullying people, its that their arguments are bullying. The rational argument pre-supposes that religious claims are factual in the scientific sense, the religious person has to accept this as well or they look like their dodging the question, and then they are forced to make up fake science (ID) or act massively defensively to protect their beliefs. Everyone knows that “myth” isn’t a word you can use about your own beliefs, so why do the new atheists get them to try and say it?

        • Anthony says:

          OK, but using the term “bully” here is stretching the term quite a bit, no? What these intellectuals are doing is simply employing critical thinking in the same manner that is done in so many other spheres of life anyway, and to be consistent you would then have to claim that all such discourse is also a type of bullying, because whenever you question any belief that people don’t want to, or refuse to, question they are then in a certain sense “forced” to question it or look at it more objective. Teachers must be de facto bullies, and so are adults who tell their kids that Santa or the tooth fairy isn’t real. After all, who are they to disillusion children and their magical ways of thinking?

          Your position almost seems condescending to religious people in America (ones who have an educational level many people in developing countries don’t enjoy, but often show better cognitive skills than the supposedly rational norm in the US, which has way more international power) – oh leave the poor fools alone, they’re not able to question their myths and must take them literally, they’re comforted by believing propositions without evidence, they’re at the “blue meme level” (essentialism) or whatever and don’t know any better. Why upset them so?

          This is the same “hurt feelings” card that shucksters use all the time to in fact bully or at least pressure others to accept things that benefit the shuckster. This is how snake oil salesmen work, or how, in a much more nefarious sense, politicians convince people to do/accept things they might not otherwise allow. So who is the “intellectual” bully here?

          So to answer your question: “…so why do the ‘new atheists’ get them to try and say it?”

          Because, in case you haven’t noticed it, especially in America, religious discourse DOMINATES the public sphere, and except a few places (on certain colleges/universities, in some book stores) critical thinking is kept at arms lengths and the non-believer minority are told to shut up, be quiet, and play along at best, or that they are idiots for even questioning the existence of a deity, or worse. And you know what? They’ve decided that they won’t accept insults any more. They think their position is more intellectually defensible. And I agree with them.

          • Paul says:

            The argument above assumes that Science is absolute and Theism is myth. That doesn’t seem like a far place to start a dialogue. It is always interesting how critical thinking deals with subjects it thinks are bogus to begin with. Has critical thinking and science been applied to telepathy, the study of the soul or the power of human thought? Any scientist dealing in these areas are automatically branded as “quacks”. Religions are founded on teachings from 2000 years ago, even if they are enlightened, the vocabulary and the understanding was limited by the knowledge of the day. They need to be updated and interpretted in the now.

            • Kim Ray says:

              The trouble with atheism is in its extremism. These positions are never right. In this case, the position leaves out the fundamental proclivity that humans have for belief. As ancient as religious concepts are, they co-evolved with human psychology, and must be understood in those terms. I think the point is that the God question is better approached as a problem of definition. As one can at once be an atheist and still be spiritual demonstrates the fact- my “God” derives through scientific appreciation of nature. My definition is different, my religion “absent”, but my needs accomodated.
              Open your mind but don’t drain your heart- your human-ness can’t really be neglected.

          • Rebecca says:

            Thank you for your comments, Anthony. When I read the lead article I was disgusted, so I’m glad to see such a good discussion of Dawkins, Dennett, Harris & Hitchens. I love what they say and by saying it they allow the rest of us breathing room and courage to say it, too. If the discussion gets heated, so be it. I respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they choose, but I don’t have to respect their beliefs.

      • froggy57 says:

        ((when he says that every unbeliever and scientist
        he knows is a decent, gentle person))

        I think the key phrase here is ‘every scientist he knows’.
        And even then, his circle of aquaintances must be
        very limited.

        • Tony says:

          How do you know how big or small his circle of acquaintances (or friends) is? Is his circle any smaller than yours? Or mine? I don’t know. I do know that in my experience, a lot of the bigoted comments said about atheists, essentially no different than what racists say about other “races,” or any other group, has often turned out to be wrong.

  4. Tom Huston has made some very good points of analysis! Yes, the problem of the so called new atheists must be sought somewherelse too…Theism or atheism are words-notions very relative to deep beliefs linked to a intellectual or spiritual long term evolution. Somebody may call himself theist and act as a criminal, or an atheist act as a believer. I have met scientists and medical doctors that consciensly deny to put into practice methods that allow to people enjoy life to its full, just because there is economic advantage, in hiding from people the “truth”! They deny even “attainable” facts! So much more when someone would try to speak about not “visible” notions as the one we are dealing with…We are living, for most of us in the 21st century, and the deepest question in this matter would then not be to approach this dilemma with the conscious reasoning : “How can I still exist when I know so much about the way I am functioning”?! Or how is it possible that I do not blow up….! The old atheists I believe, just believe that we are “that much Gods” that we need no Else to coordinate all this evolutive system we are living with. Can the Theists be sure, then, one shall ask! I believe not! But the “Good Will” determines the “Leap of Faith”, which determines our “Intuitive Reasoning”, which determines “Tolerance”! I do not believe that the problem is whether someone believes that Adam and Eve existed… I firmly believe that the issue is much more complex than in arguing about unknown things, taking into account that even atheist scientists doubt about the evolutive schema of Darwin, simply because they take into account the relativity of time compared to the amazingly big number of possible combinations of form of life…and other facts too!
    Can then one answer what is Theism or Atheism?! Would not, one answer that the base issue is all about “LIMITS…”, which is also one of the moslty used notions in mathematics too?!
    If believers were really believers, (for not discouraging others to become believers) they would firstly acknowledge or accept what also the Bible proclaims in the new Testament, that is the primordial role of our CONSCIOUSNESS! It is the only judge for all; some people put it to death by leting it strarve, other people constantly feed it with the Intuitive and Initiative collected Wisdom. Do we believe in Consciousness…!? If not, then yes…, someone allows himself or herself to ridicule the belief of others!

    • Harry Winter says:

      Phebe,
      Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What we are, that only can we see.”
      —————— That is an universal unbendable law
      Meaning: You cannot understand. feel, discuss or block anything higher than you own level of consciousness. — Raising you “level” is very very difficult; — Jesus tried it for his disciples with out success.

      • Thank you for taking time posting a comment to my comment…
        I could but only agree with you, but only to a certain level: by this I will try to explain myself to you…
        Firstly, I agree that one can perceive or understand only what his consciousness allows him…and, this is attainable only through paying attention to the inner voice of our conscience. You must surely remember the parabole (Bible) of the different home ustensils, those of common use and those of luxurous use…One needs to clean his “mindset”, if you allow me to say so. Sometimes sciences and pure logic have helped towards this direction, other times literally oppresses in a rigid way true spirituality which was born not only from long term thought or intellectual thinking ,but also from long term cultivation of inner balance and intuition.
        In the case of Christ, I wouldn’t dare saying that He failed, because then I would indirectly suggest that Jesus was never a spiritual leader… Whether He failed or not it is not up to me “to judge”, not only because the writings of Apostle Paul are extremely interesting to analyse but also because the “Existence” of Him needs to “be placed” within the right, true, evolutionary, historical, frame. I believe that only then, One can afford being or call himself-herself Christian. I also believe that historicaly speaking , “Christianity” is the most difficult or at least challenging mystical insights of mankind.
        Once again RELATIVITY is the key word!
        Respectfully,

  5. “The mystery of the humanity of Christ,

    that He sunk Himself into our flesh,

    is beyond all human understanding.”

    -Martin Luther

  6. Manitou says:

    Atheism is so very close to enlightenment.

  7. Jan Kotze says:

    I am a 56 yr old atheis….was brought up a Christian, dont hate what you call God ( any religion) and i never met a ath. that hate anybodys Gods. We just dont believe in a god and have serious isues with religion in general and i hate people that try to force people to believe what THEY believe and HATE all other religions…..AMEN Jan Kotze
    so all you believers….get a life and i love you all

    • Harry Winter says:

      Atheism is a Spiritual Stage, Jan, higher than any “convential Religion”!

      Let’s take a look at “stages of consciousness” (spiritual growth), such as James W. Fowler’s study or the good description in Scott Peck’s . We find that the stage of the fully developed rational/phenomenological mind is also the stage of (Which is a stage in which we hand out Nobel prizes in science in our culture).
      “Ken Wilber” gives a very good explanation for this: when he writes: … dogmas or given beliefs are precisely what hinders the emergence of deeper truths and wider vision. —— “There is more spirituality in reason’s denial of God than there is in myth’s affirmation of God, precisely because there is more depth. (And the transrational, in turn, discloses yet more depth, yet more Spirit, than either myth or reason).

      Interestingly, one of the Eastern Gurus made a similar statement when he said
      “Have Faith in nothing, Faith is the eye that sees nothing and rejoices in it. Unknowingness absolves the future path of danger. The eye sees [it should, but], sees nothing, and so has Faith. — Fair set, all are hallowed — Shanti”.
      (I wish Web-addresses were not censored here, I could give you the paper “The Atheist in the Burning Bush”)

  8. Manitou says:

    Maybe enlightenment has something to do with merging the atheist concept with the non-atheist concept in a non-dual fashion.
    |In which we can only conclude:
    Maybe we are The Wiz.

    • Anthony says:

      Well, I don’t consider myself enlightened, although I am interested in the question of what enlightenment is. I consider my position panentheism, which is sort of a variant of pantheism, and thus is classically atheism, as defined by monotheists of old.

  9. Anthony says:

    Allow me to quote Sam Harris in full (from the article “Response to My Fellow Atheists”):

    “Here is a way of separating my position from those of my fellow atheists who insist that there is power in a label. Let’s call it the ‘press conference test’:

    Imagine President Bush announcing his veto of federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research at a White House press conference. A reporter for a major television network can ask one of the following questions. Which would you choose to best strike a blow against religious ignorance in this country?

    1. Mr. President, what rational basis is there to worry about the fate of three-day-old human embryos? These embryos do not have nerve cells, much less the nervous systems they would need to suffer their destruction on any level. Your veto, frankly, seems insane to any educated person, and it is painfully obvious that it was the product of religious metaphysics and superstition—not science or morality. Do you ever worry that you may be dangerously misled by your religious beliefs? What can you say to the tens of millions of Americans whose suffering will be needlessly prolonged by your faith-based thinking?

    2. Mr. President, as an atheist, let me ask what rational basis is there to worry about the fate of three-day-old human embryos? These embryos don’t have nerve cells, much less the nervous systems they would need to suffer their destruction on any level. Your veto, frankly, seems insane to millions of atheists in this country, and it is painfully obvious that it was the product of religious metaphysics and superstition—not science or morality. Do you ever worry that you are failing to represent the interests of millions of atheists who also vote, or that you may be dangerously misled by your religious beliefs? What can you say to the tens of millions of Americans whose suffering will be needlessly prolonged by your faith-based thinking?

    Which question would you like to see asked on the evening news? To my mind, (1) is clearly better than (2). Much better. And yet, many atheists are behaving as though they prefer (2). They seem to believe that our goal, as advocates of reason, will be best served by our using the term ‘atheist’ without concern for its associations, thereby removing its stigma. They believe that announcing ourselves as a constituency in increasingly visible ways is the best strategy for success. Well, all I can say is that question (1) would probably have the support of 200 million Americans today. Question (2), while virtually identical in content, would likely alienate 180 million of these people. What is more, if we ever succeed in marginalizing beliefs in invisible gods and magic books, question (2) will seem utterly anachronistic.

    So pick your strategy.”

    • froggy57 says:

      ((what rational basis is there to worry about the fate of three-day-old human embryos? These embryos do not have nerve cells, much less the nervous systems they would need to suffer their destruction on any level.))

      ‘the saddest words of tongue or pen, are these four words: It might have been.’

      • Tony says:

        Exactly – someone who is physically suffering, someone who dies in their prime from a disease that could be cured. They could have had more time, or at least an easy life: what might have been.

  10. Mr. Teacup says:

    Wright misunderstands the Christian fundamentalist mindset. Their paranoia is fueled by the *absence* of any real atheist movement – this allows them to whip up a frenzy of fear, that behind all the ordinary, mundane workings of the government, there’s a secret plot against them by shadowy figures in control of the levers of power.

    Any evidence that refutes this is taken as evidence of a cover-up, so the logical thing to do is to put the so-called “atheist persecution” out into the open.

  11. Manitou says:

    It’s like the atheist and the enlightenment movements are barking up the same tree. The atheists would say there is no god. Others say there is no god, separate from Us. \That there’s nothing out there. We’re it. The manifestations come from the glowing speck of awareness that each of us are. Together, we are one big awareness – the universe becoming aware of itself. Maybe that’s why the universe appears to be expanding from our perspective.
    I find that awareness incredibly comforting, for some reason. It’s like all awarenesses, including atheism, meet in the same grand room when you go far enough to its conclusion.

    • Tom Huston says:

      There’s a new book we received a review copy of titled “Spiritual Atheism” by a Zen practitioner named Steve Antinoff. I haven’t looked that closely at it yet, but it seems like it’s advocating something along the same lines of what you’re saying here. If you define an atheist as someone who doesn’t believe in a white-bearded man in the sky, then most mystics are atheists, for sure. http://bit.ly/6QX4v2

      • Anthony says:

        Yes, I’ve actually perused it myself the last time I was at a bookstore a few months ago (a brave bookstore that has free thought books, in a state where the official punishment for “blasphemy” is death!). From what I saw, it was a good read. There are those in the Zen, Advaita, Tantra, etc. community who consider themselves either agnostics or atheists, and are deeply spiritual (that is, value that which is not material, w/o denying the reality of the manifest world). Well, at least those not caught up in solipsistic and metaphysical sophistry, or confuse altered states of consciousness with altered traits.

    • Walter Keil says:

      To say God is in everything, or God is all the life, doesn’t exclude that God is also without the universe !
      All quanta could vanish into nothing, but it’s a hidden power that divides particles in plus and minus. They appear descrete but they are always connected. Energy is always united, only one ! Read about the spooky phenomenon ! Extra dimensions are probable !
      We know a lot of science, but we are in times to reclassify the knowledge.

  12. I have just finished a splendid book by Alister McGrath and Joanna Collicutt McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion, a hugely intelligent critique of the many flaws in Dawkins’ God Delusion. It is extremely well written and its 65 pages don’t take long to get through. Strongly recommended for those from either side of the debate.

  13. Could it just be that both the religious and the atheists as wrong! Could it simply be what we already see and know! Could we already know that God is a state of mind but fail to understand how to gain that state. From the moment we open our eyes to this world, we learn a great deal, much of which we take for granted. It is precisely there that our attention must turn so that we gain the insight — the realization — that can be ours. It is there that the gift of the so-called mystical state awaits. We now have the basis, the evidence and the logic to explain why that gift takes place and how to attain it.
    Emmanuel J. Karavousanos
    Author and Speaker

    • James Love says:

      Emmanuel,
      Your statement sounds like someone, you, in all this
      debating, dialogue, back and forth mental locking of horns,
      are in a way barking up the right tree when you ask,
      if perhaps both the theist and atheist are missing the mark.
      You introduced something new in the act of framing a question.
      I didn’t notice anyone mentioning agnosticism by the way. however as I said, earlier, atheism, theism, agnosticism, are all ‘isms’. They are systematic attempts to describe what is ultimately truth, using thought, language, symbols, descriptions etc. which are all just
      relative reference points in space and time based on memory and knowledge as language, and therefore extremely limited. There is no book method no school of science or religion that can actually uncover the infinite unknown mystery which is life.
      In man’s search for meaning and his effort to make sense of life, death, and suffering, he has come up with science, philosophy and religion, social political dogmas, democracy, socialism, libertarianism, innumerable religions but none of them has grasped the illusive or resolved the problems of the human race which are extremely serious and critical if one looks at what we have done with technology and nuclear, biological weapons of mass destruction, the destruction of the earth’s ecology etc. All of these things are rooted in the past and are based on knowledge, memory and authority. There may be a very few individuals who have in the midst of these searches for a panacea who have come upon truth, through their own urgency to find out for themselves, or through sheer luck or grace, or call it whatever. But the basic reality is that none of these things have changed our world, none of them have changed us,
      We are educated and conditioned to think of liberation as personal and as an attainment of some kind. Others may realize that what man has been seeking for thousands of years is not at th e end of the journey but is something that has been there from the beginning, and it is all these shenanigans that have been an impediment to realizing a different life ——– yet, the understanding of that may be an understanding which is an idea, a concept and not the actual realization itself. It’s like understanding intellectually that smoking is bad for you while you continue smoking. There are thousands of Doctors actually living this way which is monstrous when you think of it. When one really sees the danger of cigarette smoking not as an idea but really see that, one drops it.
      The theist (along with some scientists) is asking if there is something sacred beyond all that man has experienced or created which can be discovered which can end mans suffering or for the want of a better word, if one can find enlightenment in this life and live with a sense of something that is beyond time and beyond all words.
      The atheists and some scientists are asking if we can find a truth
      by stripping away the escapes, the comfort, the false hopes that can be created by religion, stepping out of the realm of pious morality and hypocrisy and perhaps find a more real, modern and meaningful life that’s not just an escape into romantic fantasy, a desperate attempt to
      evade a the immense fear by suppressing it with the concept of some kind of God or Deity, so in a sense both are also in a way right.
      One is hoping to find something that can never be tarnished or sullied in the idea of something that is not caught in all the complex attachments to things, thoughts, objects, etc. which is the mundane world.
      The other seeks to relate in a very honest and humble sense of
      sane relationship to the mundane things of the world and the ordinary facts of life stripped of anything fabricated and thereby living a life more direct, meaningful and real.
      So here we are, all barking up the wrong tree, and at the same time barking up the right tree. There’s a question that is being overlooked however. There’s a climbing of the tree that people are forgoing in all this. There’s something both sides owe their existences to and at the same time by their very points of view are denying. Does anyone understand this? Does anybody get what is being asked here? Or do I just sound like or am, a babbling idiot? Thank you for your consideration.
      JKL

      • Shirley says:

        James,
        It seems to me that quite a few of us are pretty much struggling up the same tree. If we are fortunate to take a few words of encouragement from each other on the way that can only be good.
        Quite a few years ago, when I was wanting to understand evolution a little better so that I could discuss it more intelligently, with my husband, a friend suggested that I read Stephen Jay Gould’s “A Spread of Excellence.” It was great. Eventually I read the “The Hedgehog, the Fox and the Magister’s Pox,” 7th in a series he wrote ‘Mending the Gap between Science and the Humanities .’ In this book Gould quotes the anthropologist Clifford Geertz, “For the most part, the “science wars” trafficking in tribal jealousies and archaic fears, have produced more heat than light. But in one respect they have been useful. They have made it clear that using the term “science” to cover everything from string theory to psychoanalysis is not a happy idea because doing so elides the difficult fact that the ways we try to understand and deal with the physical world and those in which we try to understand and deal with the social one are not altogether the same. The methods of research, the aims of inquiry and the standards of judgment all differ, and nothing but confusion ……….. results from failing to see this.”
        Respect for each other’s Disciplines and a bit of cooperation could work wonders. The answer to your last question is a resounding NO!Your post is an inspiration and I agree with you that Emmanuel is on to something good.
        Shirley.

  14. Frank Luke says:

    I wonder if it’s accurate what is reported, that spirituality w/o belief in God is the fastest growing segment in religious life? It’s doubtful if established religions will ever lose their hold on a hard core of their believers but we should be wary of throwing babies out with the bath water. Religion serves those who need to believe, wot? There are the upsidesof them, not inconsiderable, but lots of downside aspects too, unfortunately. I hope that atheists will not throw out spirituality in their zeal to personally disavow God and organized religions. The bad- apple believers should not dismiss all the good that believers and doing good in following their beliefs.

    Best wishes all for 2010! Aloha,

  15. Pamela Richmond says:

    I think there is an absence of respectfulness in the new atheist movement – as well as in right/left politics – that is troublesome. It’s not that many fundamentalists are not also disrespectful, but adding to that tone doesn’t help us come to terms with our being a country presumably founded on allowing for diversity.

    I’ve been questioning lately whether or not Americans believe in diversity and democracy. In a nation with such diversity, how can we function without a healthy respect for differing opinions. (And in politics, compromise).

  16. Nikola says:

    My suspicion is, that atheism is a new religion… albeit a seeming contradiction.
    Think about it, atheists believe there is no god, which is just another believe, isn’t it? Can they absolutely know that there is none, just because nothing was yet proven?
    I thought I was an atheist myself, until I stumbled over that question, and I had to admit, that in fact I CAN’T know for sure whether or not there is a god.
    So I prefer the more agnostic approach to the discussion (which doesn’t get us any further either, I suppose).
    I sort of made peace for myself with religions. I can see, that clearly, a lot of people (including my parents for example) find comfort in their religion, and I’m really happy for them… I sometimes even feel jealous because they seem to have some kind of refuge through their belief. But I can’t find it in myself to believe in what any of the churches or religions have to offer. Nor can I believe hardcore atheists.
    Guess it’s everyone for themselves. Find your own way, whether within or without any religion. In the end we’re all here to learn and evolve. Where is the mistake on either side, I just don’t know, I can’t see one. I’ll just continue to question everything, maybe I can doubt myself towards enlightenment…

    Sorry if I can’t impress with all those great words my predecessors used… am not a native speaker and just do what I can, within my limited vocabulary.

  17. Jay Zo says:

    Everyone’s limitations in body and mind (conscious or spirituality, etc) are being broken by a new knowledege daily.

    And applying Quantum Theory all matters including spirituality becomes Quantum Conscious, that is only possibilities are existing.

    Aren’t we still pursueing the core of conscious? I hope they would develop further on this, and let the debate calm down. It is healthy, but misguides a lot of people. Knowledged people should be more careful what they say or write.

  18. L says:

    In my experience, religious fundamentalists and atheist fundamentalists are just two sides of the same coin. The religious demand faith. The atheists demand evidence… though I think that they define “evidence” too narrowly. Just like the religious folks, many atheists will only entertain a thought if it fits within their worldview; anything else gets dismissed.

    And thus we have two sides of an argument who end up acting like children, sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting, “I can’t hear you, you idiot!” If this sort of attitude didn’t cause so many problems, it might almost be amusing.

  19. John T. Bruere says:

    As a lawyer, I have been trained and have to practice to adhere to the concept that the evidence of a particular event has to be discovered in order to understand and prove or disprove the event. This is basically what an antheist adopts, along with scientific theory to disprove the existence of a Creator or God. Along with that, some have a fear(one of the two basic emotions, fear and love) that they are wrong and have to try to support their position by trying to convince others of their position. In addition, often, the ego has to justify it’s existence by advocating that there is nothing greater, ergo, vociferous announcements towards others that they are wrong. However, what this kind of thought process does is limit the process itself to within itself. There is no motivation to look outside and see if there is another process that can be brought into play. We know that the heart generates more energy than the brain. We know that we can have spontaneous insight into a problem(that is what makes an above average attorney). We know that there is something called intuition. However, the atheist generally rejects these concepts. I completely understand how an atheist thinks because, when in a lawyer mode, I have to think that way. However, the difference is that I am willing to explore other avenues of finding answers, an atheist is not. When I do, I often experience events which occur which one would have to call non-reality, as we think about reality. I then have to apply my training to that event to determine if I can conclude that it was not an illusion or an emotional event and in fact something that I experienced that was not generated within. The consequence is that I am forced to believe in a Creator, or highter intelligence, or God because there is no other explanation. If the atheist followed what I do, the athesist would then have doubts about his or her position or attribute it to just the physical brain having an aberration, which could be a position of denial. A person who is secure in his or her position does not try to overthrow someone else’s unless there is an unconscious doubt. One has to realize that each of us is where we are supposed to be and judging is nothing but an attempt to justify our own situation. We should only react to another if our physical or economic existence is threatened – a threat to our emotional status should not ever cause us to react with threats or condensending actions.

  20. Don Padelford says:

    Believers in religion, who typically believe they are children of God, perhaps understandably object to the idea that they are in fact robots:
    “Each one of us is a machine”– (Dawkins, 1996, p. 3).
    It’s almost enough to make one want to fly airplanes into tall buildings or something.

    Dawkins quote from an essay concerning consciousness in evolution:
    http://www.integral-review.org/documents/Padelford,%20Consciousness%20in%20Evolution,%20Vol.%205,%20No.%202.pdf

    • Walter Keil says:

      Atheists who are circulating in their biological arguments can not see that everything is build on atoms and elementary particles. And due to Quantum Theory and Einsteins Relativity mass is another form of energy. Werner Heisenberg said: energy is constant in time.
      But every living being will be constructed in every second by his metabolism controlled by genes.
      Richard Dawkins is nothing more than a founder of a new agressive belief, not a wise philosopher.

  21. Wes Hopper says:

    Anybody who enters this debate speaking in absolutes is a “fundamentalist” because that’s what fundamentalists do. An atheist that dismisses all religion as belief in magic and a mythic god just displays ignorance, just as someone on the other side who characterizes everyone who disagrees with them as an atheist. As many of the comments have noted, there’s a wide variety of beliefs on both side.
    I highly recommend David Sloan Wilson’ s series on Huff Post called “Atheism as a Stealth Religion” for a detailed analysis of this debate.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sloan-wilson/atheism-as-a-stealth-reli_b_76901.html

    There are non-mythic, science friendly spiritual systems out there for those who look. Some of them even have churches!

    • Patrick says:

      Wes: in your opinion, what else is there beyond religion (ie. besides mythic and magic stuff)?

      Myself, I view religion as just a bunch of primitive superstition that comes from the infancy humanity.

      • Wes Hopper says:

        Patrick, You have a very narrow view of religion, or else a very narrow definition of religion. I define religion as a process of connecting to the transcendent side of reality – beyond the outdated strict materialism of the past. There is plenty of scientific evidence for the limitations of materialism in both physics and psychology, and more and more investigations of those areas. There is no doubt that the mythic god of the past is not valid, but insisting that all religion is some variation on that is quite a mistake. For a more enlightened approach, check out, for example, the research of the Institute of Noetic Sciences – IONS.org – founded by astronaut and MIT PhD Edgar Mitchell

        • Patrick says:

          Wes: Ah OK, we pretty agree then. Cause, yes I define religion much more narrowly than you do. To talk about the transcendent, I myself use other terms (than the term “religion) to describe it.
          Cheers

    • The knowledge that science is providing is first of all an argument against established religions and beliefs. But in the end they come again very close. It’s obvious that science and religion now working on the same field, and they affect each other. That is leading to intellectual evolution.
      The growing recognition of the qualities of reality is becoming such a great work to interpret. It needs an overwhelming input of great thinkers, scientists, spiritual teachers and artists. Yes even artists provide a great deal of inspiration and enlightenment.
      Myths and magic stuff are primitve expression of the supernatural quality of reality. Normality is now leaving step by step our mind by scientific reports from our borders of reality …
      Remember: we do not know what keeps us on the ground. Gravity is still a secret.

  22. Walter Keil says:

    As we all live in a sea of uncertainty on islands of knowledge and certainty we have to respect other beliefs. In a world where all life is based on genetic plans and every liveing being is generated in every second by his metabolism nobody can deny the vast sphere of information behind the material aspect.
    So a belief into a constructed reality is now more
    plausible than ever before. But on the other hand all beliefs are always under construction, and as Andrew Cohen said, evolution is the most important aspect in the spiritual field. So no atheist should jeer over any religion or belief in God. But we we can critizize them !
    Science is only a way of understanding how the universe is working under Gods direction.

  23. froggy57 says:

    It is my opinion that atheists suffer from an egoistically induced form
    of blindness. The inability to see the miraculous and not recognize it
    as a form of artistry.
    The rose is in the seed. The velvet of the petal, the aroma, the
    sharpness of the thorn. The tangled root mass. And because it has the
    power of repro-duction.. infinity.
    To feed their own view of them selves as ‘intellectuals’, ‘who can see
    through the ‘myths’ that lesser beings (the religious) cannot’, like
    children saying:
    “Look at me, look at me, how clever I am.” they forever push away
    the only reward worth having… a relationship with God.
    How sad.
    “The Ant is a Centaur in his Dragon world. Pull down thy vanity.”

    • Tony says:

      It is both egoistic and anthropomorphic for humans to assume that the universe must be “designed” because we humans design things, or that the beautiful or miraculous aspects of the manifest require a grand “artist” just because we human artisans create in this way.

      Indeed, why consider that this “creation” happens from without? See Watts on the difference b/w the “making process” (outside-in) versus the process of “growing” (inside-out) in his speech: The Nature of Consciousness (aka What is Reality?).

      To me it’s not a coincidence that monotheism typically assumes that god is a man or male-type figure. He imposes his will from “higher up,” just as a monarch or king would (or a tyrant!). But if there was anything like a big bang, that would make it more like a “birth.” That’s what females do, they allow living beings to grow inside them.

      And when you jettison the goddesses, you have a universe under the thumb of a “lord” who lords it over us (not to mention god’s representatives who do the same to us politically).

  24. Patrick says:

    Question: I’ve noticed that most people in this community tend to dislike atheism more than theism. Why is this? Myself, I’ve always disliked theism more than religion. Theism negates reason. Atheism employs it.

    • Wes Hopper says:

      Atheism employs reason to dispute the ancient mythic god, and that doesn’t take much effort. Atheism negates reason when it goes beyond the mythic god and attempts to dispute all transcendent aspects of reality without any evidence. Dean Radin, in his book “Entangled Minds” quotes such a scientist who said, concerning non-local properties of mind, “I don’t believe it’s true! And if it was true, I still wouldn’t believe it!” Scientists and atheists are people, after all, and defend their beliefs to the end just like we all do.

      • Patrick says:

        Wes: I would differ on this part here: “Atheism employs reason to dispute the ancient mythic god, and that doesn’t take much effort. Atheism negates reason when it goes beyond the mythic god and attempts to dispute all transcendent aspects of reality without any evidence. ”

        My take: atheism doesn’t say anything about the transcendent aspects of realtity. It is solely a philosophy of non-belief in any gods (ie. a-theism).
        Cheers :)

        • Kenny Dahle says:

          If one claims to be an atheist then one, perforce, believes it to be true. Therefore he is a believer himself. Thus atheism is not a “philosophy of non-belief in any gods” but a BELIEF in the lack therof. It is itself a religion.

        • Wes Hopper says:

          Patrick: Technically you are quite correct, however many outspoken self characterized atheists are quite vocal about being strict materialists as part of their atheism. This has corrupted the meaning. My wife, who is a Unity minister, and I, a Unity Licensed Teacher, are atheists using your definition since we have long ago abandoned the “old guy in the sky” concept. However we don’t use the term due to the problem mentioned above. To be accurate we would have to describe ourselves as atheist idealists from a christian perspective, but that’s not something that most people intuitively understand! LOL

    • Walter Keil says:

      I tell you what reason is:
      The fundamental kind of science is physics ! No biological argument in relation to the question of God is based on constant energy in time or quantum theory or atom physics in general.
      The theory of relativity and quantum physics is showing us, the end of understanding. There is no human possibility to come to logical and final conclusions. Atheism is also a belief and thats so hard to bear for an atheist, that reason is not on his side.

    • jonmark222 says:

      Well, as Blaise Pascal, the 17th century mathematical genius said:
      “The last step of human reason is to realize that there are an infinite number of things beyond its capacity to understand.”

    • Tony says:

      Because it’s politically correct. Who know, maybe they got the go-ahead from Andrew Cohen. At any rate, it’s ok in America to do this, and that’s where the bulk of this community is from.

      It’s ok to tell atheists that they are stupid, un-spiritual, materialistic, immoral, and extremist. It’s more ok to do that than to label Muslims as terrorists even. It’s ok to generalize about atheists’ characters, and to tell them that their position hurts the feelings of believers (as though atheists don’t have feelings, being so cold-hearted and hateful of religion). It’s apparently not considered hypocritical to simultaneously hold that atheists essentialize believers and to essentialize atheists as a group.

  25. John says:

    Life must come from life[ or consciousness must come from consciousness] This is a fundamental law. What awesome creative force was there [ before] the Big Bang? The scientists have shot themselves in the foot when they said the universe had an original beginning, out of billions of beginnings. The Big Bang was not an explosion in a mattress factory, but an Intelligently Balanced and harmonious creation by the[ Source of all] that exists in the universe and beyond the universe in multiple dimentions. You don’t have to see, hear , touch , taste or smell everything to believe in it. Do you believe in Love? You can’t put everything under a microscope .We are made up of the same chemicals as the universe and are not seperate from it but are ONE with it. DNA is the original intelligent instuctions put into every living thing in the universe by the creator. Even the core of the smallest molecule or atom that are the fundamental building blocks that make up everything in the universe[including us] has it’s own instructions built into it and is set into motion and [kept in motion] by the Source, God or Universal consciousness . 0 + 0 = 0 Nothing comes from nothing. If there was no God there wouldn’t be anything of anything. I think therfore [I AM].

    • Paul says:

      Even the math behind quantum physics, which tries to enlighten us scientifically, doesn’t work untill there is an observer.

      • Tony says:

        Even if it’s a mystery how it works, quantum physics does something that science does quite well, and religion has never been able to do – make predictions. Very, very accurately.

    • Kenny Dahle says:

      Verily, I am therefore [I AM].

    • Tony says:

      Surely you’re aware of the work of recent cosmologists like Steinhardt and Turok on ekpyrosis? Or the Baum-Frampton model of cyclical universes?

  26. jonmark222 says:

    ‘The impious fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’

    Psalm 14:1 New English Bible Translation

  27. James Lee says:

    Many people don’t like atheism. Just as many, it seems, don’t understand it.

    Why should I seriously care?

    Science flys rockets to the moon.

    Religion flys planes into building.

    • Wes Hopper says:

      Religion is not a single belief, any more than atheism. You could just as well say “religion sends humanitarian aid, science builds gas chambers.”
      To lump everything together to make a straw man to shoot down is the thinking of the fundamentalist. “Don’t bother me with the facts, or with the need for critical thinking.” Come on, grow up.

      • Tony says:

        You could just as well say “religion sends humanitarian aid, science builds gas chambers.” No, that’s equivocation. Charity exists independently of religion, even if it usually is a religious praxis, whereas worship of deities most certainly does not, as it is central to religion.

        Science doesn’t build gas chambers or anything else, people do. Scientists provide the knowledge for this and many other good and harmful activity. Science (or more properly sciences) is a method for investigating the world. Science is an activity, yes, and one that provides knowledge, and the application can be used for gas chambers or anything else. But it is morally neutral in that regard. Religion, on the hand, most certainly proscribes actions, on moral grounds.

  28. JP says:

    As long as there’s not an ample realization of the intrinsic space that holds any and all such arguments, i.e., atheism, theism, beliefs, assumptions, truisms, presumptions, assumptions, et al., then it remains in an exclusive time/space dimension event; thus a perpetually suffocating cul-de-sac; i.e., a limited small-self referral dynamic, that lacks the air of Being-realization. It’s like a rubber ball bouncing in an enclosed space of four walls, a floor and ceiling with no place else to go.

    Ultimately all of it is our very Self, but the deep meaning of containing it all as the reality of who we are, is to experience our multidimensional unique (different but not separate) human being-ness, in and through the space of non-abidance, i.e., not being stuck on a specific point. From HERE, from the space of non-abidance, any dominant sense of a separate “self” is rendered transparent.

    Once this is realized, then speak from the natural integrity of the HERE and NOW that you are, and see what’s spoken, and how it gets expressed. The intrinsic space of possibilities which is present beyond our small-self reach is where the deep, calm, self-contained Mystery innocently begins it’s primordial wonderous murmur. :-) As the old Gita phrase puts it, “Established in Being – Perform Action. :-)

  29. Karina says:

    Putting it a few simple, clear words… As the saying goes…
    “Minds are like parachutes. they only operate when they are open”…

    Contemplating the words and actions of people that have extreme , inflexible beliefs, that I would call obsessive (be it atheists or religious zealots), I feel that obsession is ‘dangerous’. The more rigid your beliefs the more that you restrict yourself (you paint yourself into a corner). You give yourself nowhere to go, only defense is to react or fight (not good for anyone!)

    • Tony says:

      As a corollary to your parachute quotation, I think we should add that: it’s good to have an open mind, just not so much that your brains fall out.

  30. Robert says:

    I have long felt that vocal hard core atheists are as polarizing and close-minded as religious fundamentalists. Glad to see this piece challenging atheistic rhetoric.

  31. robbie says:

    One of the big problems with this debate, is that Americans find it hard to see their overly religious culture in the same way that the rest of the world does. The USA is a very myopic country at the best of times – even though it is probably the most creative country in the world. But Americans find it hard to see how others see them. From other parts of the world, fascile religious beliefs appear to dominate US foreign policy, economic agendas and cultural values. George Bush appeared to wage a religious war on Iraq. Just last month three US evangelists managed to persuade the Ugandan government to execute homosexual men as part of that country’s war on AIDS! And gangsta rappers still thank god when they win music awards. The current push by the atheist movement is very healthy one from a world perspective. It shows that not all US citizens are Bible-bashers and that a broad religious outlook always includes a broad and healthy atheist and agnostic movement. Without dissent of one kind or another you end up looking like China in the 1950s.

    • Wes Hopper says:

      The loudest noise in any discussion always comes from the fundamentalist wings, because they’re the ones that are certain that they’re right and all others are idiots or pagans, or both. So the Christian right and the atheist right get all the press, but most people are somewhere in between. It’s nice to see in this forum that the inbetweeners are contributing.

  32. James Love says:

    The short intro and the audio interview are truly wonderful. Recently, Andrew, Carter and ‘the gang’
    so to speak here have been engaged in something rather vital and interesting. They have presented us with some articles and invited discussion on topics such as ‘self esteem and Narcissism today’, certainty and post modernism trends, Obama’s pragmatic aproach to peace and war and now this solidly good intro and audio clip.
    I must say I differed with the certainty and Obama Nobel Speech editorials, but all in all these represent to me valiant acts of challenging the
    more accepted and perhaps overly comfortable mind set of the “spirituality” of our recent times.
    That’s a great project in general, though maybe not on target every time, to shake up the mentality of the so called “New Age” folk, is something that needs to be done to keep alive that flame of awareness which we are intending to embody.
    This latest article does an excellent job at bringing to the surface a more vibrant paradigm. The only thing I’d add is that atheism, is just another ism, and we always have to be aware of our proclivity to make things into systematic and methodical thought based approaches and then respond to life from those stagnant cloistered corners of our habitual comfort zones. As the songwriter Lennon said: “Everybody’s talking about ragism, tagism, … ism ism ism.”
    Thanks editors for your noble efforts to keep us on our toes.

  33. Rastas says:

    The only reason creationists can’t come to terms with Darwinism is because of their human ego, created by their deep-seated fears. Humans think they are special, and deserve a higher place in the food-chain, tell that to the billions of people who – as the prophet said – are now dust.

    Fear and ego force people to grab hold of any idea that will make them feel at ease, if it’s a loving god – who creates killer cyclones, cancer, fear itself and pain – or a concept of not actually dying at all but being immortal in the after life. Sure our energy goes on, from my limited knowledge, I don’t think you can destroy energy, it just changes form, so we go on as energy, which is all we are anyway, our concepts only exist in our minds, they don’t actually exist in outer reality. I’m proud to be an atheist, but I still believe in the oneness of life, I just don’t believe in a god that is separate, everything is god, not a god and then everything, why do people have a problem with that. Because they don’t want to take responsibility, “Oh that was god’s will, not my responsibility”. Fear and ego created the need for a god in the first place.

    • Wes Hopper says:

      I love the way former Episcopal Bishop John Spong puts it, “Religion has always been about the need for security and certainty, not about the search for truth. To search for truth, one must be willing to give up certainty.” He’s taken a lot of flack over the years because of his own public search for truth. I would say that his comments apply equally to the self-described atheists here. Are you searching for truth, or loudly proclaiming your certainty? The highest state of consciousness may very well be “I don’t know.”

      • James Love says:

        Wes,
        You are right on the mark in your comments although I’m fairly certain (no pun intended) that it’s Jack Spong. Once again, in line with this topic I’d recommend to anyone who hasn’t read it, “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism” for insightful, scholarly wisdom on the whole subject of modern Christianity as well as some shocking surprises in the author’s analysis of St. Paul and his condition. Spong has been the spearhead of a growing movement of liberal Christianity which is serving as a counterbalance to the more fascist Christian right movement which has seen its heyday during the Bush administration. That along with the Christians who adhere to “centering” (on that with no center) will, I believe and am hopeful bring about a very dynamic revival in Christianity especially in Europe and America which is long overdue. These new “evolving” Christians won’t even call themselves Christians as to do so would divide them from Christ. Spong talks about that and there is great beauty in living like that.

        • Wes Hopper says:

          James,
          Spong’s full name is John Shelby Spong, and it’s possible that his nickname is Jack, but that’s not on any of his books including “Rescuing the Bible” as far as I know, and we have about 8 of them. Neither was it used when I heard him speak and he was introduced.

          He is one of my heros, not only for his scholarship and prolific writing, but for his courage in going where his trail of inquiry leads him. He’s taken a mountain of abuse from literalists in both his church and others without letting it slow him down in the least.

          I learned more about Jewish culture and midrash from his book “Resurrection” than from any other source by far. Thanks to him I have a deeper appreciation of the Bible than ever, even though I’m more conscious of its failings than ever.

          Like you I’m reluctant to call myself a christian because that word has been co-opted by literalists. I follow the spirituality OF Jesus, not the religion ABOUT Jesus. As someone once said, “The master points to the Infinite, the disciples point to the master.” That’s what happened to Jesus.

  34. C. Holden says:

    As long as enlightennext is focused on this type of article, you are ignoring the assistance your readers seek to develop their own beliefs. It is not my job or intention to critique the belief of others: the US Constitution is committed to freedom of belief for all Americans and residents, and I support this. Therefore, return to your mission, and stop infecting the discussion with specious articles designed to create conflict between people…… this is not a spiritual path. To stir desention among people is the common path, one that we see exploited everyday by those who co-opt religion to gain personal power. Stop it.

  35. Tom Howe says:

    The other day I saw a snippet from “The Daily Show” in which the word “Christianity” was spoken and the audience laughed, just from the word, as if the mere thought of Christianity is hilarious.

    It was kind of embarrassing for me, as if somebody had said the word “wee-wee” and people chuckled. I just find it very rude and hurtful. The problem I see with athiests is in those who know they know the truth – so laughing at religionists is allowed, like laughing at fools and monkeys.

    I do think Christianity has many a pernicious doctrine – that everyone who disagrees with it gets eternal torment, for example – but to me that doesn’t invalidate everyone who believes in the good parts of it. Nor does it prove no creator. Revealed religions are naturally metaphorical, despite what fundamentalists may say.

    What some atheists don’t realize, and what makes it so annoying, is that they don’t know either. Atheism is not the freedom to create an infallible god of yourself. As a human being, not knowing for sure is your birthright.

    I don’t think this blog is specious at all, by the way, nor designed to create conflict. It’s a good discussion. Religion makes people happy: to have a reason and a purpose, even if it’s fallacious, is often a much better life than just laughing at words. What does atheism offer, the joy of knowing everything is an accident? As long as there’s no proof either way (and can there ever be a rational one?) I’m in favor of not knowing.

  36. Laurence Voss says:

    All of the major religions have their own political agenda. Most of it has little to do with Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, regards women as a lower class of human being and preaches homophobia on a daily basis . That denies the rights of maybe 50 % of the population. The priesthood , forced to remain celibate , is shot through with sexual predators that have preyed upon the altar boys and orphans entrusted to its care. For reasons incomprehensible to me, people continue to practice this religion and seek spiritual advice from its leaders. That the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is allowed to participate in the legislative processes having to do with healthcare is an abomination as is their stance on reproductive health. To encourage their poorest constituents to have as many children as possible is not only selfish , but manifests an alarming disregard for these people’s health and wellbeing and ignores entirely the population explosion. This has nothing to do with the sanctity of life and everything to do with building a power base. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church is forced to use the Old Testament to bolster its arguments promoting misogyny and homophobia as nothing regarding these matters are addressed in the New Testament or the Gospels which contain the teachings of Christ.
    Why should people who do not believe stand still for this type of nonsense ? If it raises dissension to speak the truth, then so be it. What is there to be afraid of about an elderly goup of men in the Vatican that dress like Munchkins and wear silly hats ? It seems to me that the real fear is in allowing this particular church to hold political sway. Neither the RC church nor the fundamentalists waste any time loudly expressing their views and demanding that this country follow their preposterous dictates. To remain silent while these entities attempt to take over this country is not only wrong , but morally unethical as there is absolutely nothing of value in what they propose.

    • Kenny Dahle says:

      Well and truly said.

    • Tom Howe says:

      Great work Laurence. I agree massively. Religions are out for group power. That’s how they differ from spirituality, which in my mind is used to empower the individual over him or herself, not over others.

      I’ve always figured atheists are strict materialists, they don’t believe in spirit or soul or anything but molecules, etc. If an atheist is somebody who believes religions are full of crap (at least their doctrines, if not so much the believers) but it’s still possible to live in a universe of both spirit and matter, then I’m all for them.

      To me, religion is when a bunch of guys with a book tell a bigger bunch of people without a book what God wants…oh yeah, that’s politics, nevermind.

    • Tony says:

      Well, I think it has something to do with Christianity. For most of Christian history, Christianity WAS the Church. Tertullian’s Bible, devoid of the Old Testament, was quickly rejected. But maybe by Christianity, you mean solely the New Testament (and nothing from the Old Testament)?

      Did Christ not stipulate that marriage is between a man and woman? Did he not promote monogamy and sex within the confines of marriage? Did he not consider whoring a sin (even if we should treat the sinners kindly)? Assuming that there actually was a Jesus, or that the New Testament is really an accurate document based on the life of Jesus, it is clear that Jesus had moral beliefs, and that his teachings, like any religious person, was not infinitely elastic. He also said: I came to fulfill the scriptures (i.e. the Torah) and not to destroy them. Apparently, he argued with the formalism of the Pharisees, not the actual substance of their belief or ritual. And he wasn’t even totally original in that regard (e.g. Rabbi Hillel).

      As for celibacy, the Desert Fathers in Egypt predate the papacy in Rome. I believe believe said to “be perfect as your father in heaven is [perfect]” which many took to include celibacy, especially as Jesus was believed to be celibate himself. True, celibate priests could conveniently keep property that way, and not all Popes were celibate in history, so it does have a political component outside theology. But theology is not independent of Christian practices, especially when Europe had theocratic government for so long.

  37. K T says:

    I wonder how many who engage in discussions like this have carefully sought to clarify from the start what they understand by religion. More often than not, I get the impression that religion to them is simply equal to classical Abrahamic theism. But there are many other religions which do not subscribe to this notion of God — if indeed they employ the concept of God at all. The God (?) of Advaita Vedanta is a very different creature from the God of the Old Testament. Shouldn’t we take these other ways of understanding God and religion into account? Well, maybe you want to say that Vedanta doesn’t count as a religion — which brings us back to the question what religion IS. What is our shared understanding of what religion IS?

    Even within the same cultural tradition where a religion has predominated for a long time, there can be different ways of understanding the tenets found in this religion. Can Spinoza’s God be simplistically equated with the God of the Old Testament? What about Whitehead’s God? Pascal’s God? David Ray Griffin’s God?

    I also wish to point out a few things about science. Many seem to talk about science as if it’s all about ‘hard facts’. That’s just not true. Science is as riddled with ‘unprovables’ as any religion. Just read the works of Alan Chalmers and Paul Feyerabend. Also, many major scientists have turned out to be deeply religious or spiritual people, such as Newton, Einstein, Schrodinger, Bohm etc. Newton in particular ‘aspired to increase human understanding of God’s plan for the cosmos’ (D. Harkness) before the end of the world which he believed was foretold by a comet in 1680. Religious nutcase? Maybe, except he was one of the world’s greatest scientists as well.

  38. Rastas says:

    C. Holden (as in Caulfield I guess). I think it’s great that ENext has opened up this debate, how can one be enlightened in a tunnel.

    It’s OK to question, as long as both sides are allowed to question each other. The real problem for humans is a biological one, it’s the fear storage part of the Limbic system, and it’s name is the Amygdala (Wiki it). You can also read more about it in Joseph LaDoux’s book, The Emotional Brain or go to The Release Effect com

    I am, therefore, I am.

  39. Mae Mae Commander says:

    What the world needs now is Love Sweet Love… not more intellectual masturbation. Those days are over. The more intellectuals separate themselves from the masses… the more they look in the mirror and think “what a good boy am I”… the more they fail to LET GO and open up to SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT… then the more doomed we are. Let’s face it – it is “too late”. These are the End Times. Now we must think completely out of OUR box and open up to the whole world. Be humble. Be servants. Stop depending on (1) Ego Gratification/Being Right and (2) Money/Status…. and start experiencing the world AS A CHILD again – like the great Masters recommend at such End Times. Oh yes – it is The End. Good. That means we can get on to The Beginning!!! So – LET GO. Empty your mind to what you think you know. Start over. It is really quite “liberating”. It is what we tried to do in the Sixties… but that was just a prelude. This is The Real Deal. So stop embracing your Ego and start embracing everybody you meet. Then the world will truly Be Saved ! And you will be happy… as just another regular Human BEing.
    (The End of Glamour is near… Repent!)

  40. I was recently invited to speak about evolution and religion at Adams State College in Colorado. I was invited because I earned a PhD in microbiology with a thesis on the evolution of bacteria. My presentation was boycotted by the biology department because the campus Christian group had invited me. Clergy from various denominations in the area, including several Fundamentalists, attended my presentation. Before my presentation, some clergy stated their belief in a literal version of the Bible. But they listened and afterwards some CHANGED THEIR MINDS and realized that evolution and religion were compatible after all. For many of us, the enlightening question is not “Is there a God” but rather, “What is your concept of God.?”

    • Harry Winter says:

      I like your post Cathy,

      Did you know that “EnlightenNext” publishing will soon bring out a book by Professor Dr. Beatrice Bruteau on “Evolution as the MAIN concept” of a reformed religion. (She is a practicing Catholic.)
      You should read the interview with Beatrice on their web-site.
      (I like that concept but not all of it. My own wep-site is:
      http://www.msmisp.com/logos.index-L.htm )

  41. Jane says:

    All the new atheist are people with passions that are stuck in dualities and they have to share with others. Richard Dawkins etc. For me it is a lack of tolerance of others faith, reasons they give meaning to their life and basically sad. Too have come so far with education and communication and to not really allow the mind to occasionally be quiet. Oh well, life is full paradox and I guess there are does who need to be public about. It is a form of action that relieves suffering and internal anxiety. Poor Richard.

  42. Kenny Dahle says:

    A thing believed is a lie. This is what I believe today, tomorrow is another day. If what I believe today is what I believed yesterday then I am living in the past. If I believe tomorrow what I believe today, then I am living in fear.

  43. Rastas says:

    Quite the opposite Jane, it’s the creationists that are stuck in duality, evident by a god separate from themselves, rather than part of themselves, with no separation whatsoever, i,e. ISness.

    I am, therefore, I am.

  44. John says:

    To the person who believes in God, no explanation is needed.

    To the person who doesn’t, no amount of explanation is suffice

    • Wes Hopper says:

      John: If no explanation is needed for the belief, then aren’t you saying that security and certainty are more important to you than finding the truth? By that approach, security is easy to come by, just invent a concept that makes you feel secure and believe it. That might be the way that many ancient theistic religions were developed, but it seems inadequate in this day and age.

      • John says:

        Wes: I believe that God is unconditional love and eventually i will merge with this Source or state.That is all the belief that i need. In this physical world that we live in, the only guarantee or certainty that you have is that you are going to die, and you don’t know when how and where you will die. Security can also be taken away from you at any time in your life: ie fire floods illness old age complaints death earthquakes roadtraffic accidents physical assaults shootings etc etc. You mention in your EMail about this being more important to me than finding the truth.What i have just written i believe to be the truth.

        • Shirley says:

          Greetings John and Wes,
          I agree so much with your posting John, but would like to add to unconditional love ( light and music. )
          Because my first instruction re God was of a very punitive and fearsome nature I tend to avoid the use of the word God, thinking rather of the tremendous creative force that gave us light and formed not only our universe but the seven others which astronomers tell us, share space with us, as a great and wondrous force of Love, Light and Sound from whom we all have come and to whom we all return.
          I like to think of it as the Supreme Lord and have many experiences of being surrounded by this indescribable feeling.
          During the last hours of my late husband’s life, he awoke from a light sleep and looking at our daughter, said, “Oh Robyn, Love is all around me.” His face was shining and he was so peaceful and happy.” I knew then that he was entering into the Light.It was so comforting to us all as Walter did not believe in the Abrahamic god we had been brought up to worship.However he was a scientist who was also filled with compassion for his fellow men and gave a great deal of his retirement and money to organisations which gave service to mankind.I was extremely grateful that the brain tumour that took his life did not cause him one moment’s pain, although we had been warned that it probably would. If he felt restless he would ask me to put on Cloudscapes, metamusic which I use for relief of stress. It always worked and he would fall into a gentle refreshing sleep.
          Our family still feel that we have so much to be thankful for at that time of sadness and stress. Always we were uplifted by the love, light and music from family and friends…. the Universe looking after us.

      • Tom Howe says:

        Atheist = There is no God.
        Theist = There is a God.

        ~ or ~

        atheist : no god
        theist : god

        Boy, words suck when it comes to communication, but what are you gonna do? I tried grunting and that doesn’t help.

        Sounds like I may have to revise my definition of a word, again. So you’re saying you have an evolutionary concept of soul? That the spiritual realm of reality or non-reality has evolved out of a non-created unexplainable blast of nothingness? “The Big Shhh” Can an atheist just be someone who believes in no gods? Or just no gods so far?

        I’m no great fan of any of the gods I’ve read about, though have enjoyed Loki and Hermes, for some reason, and Coyote, alas. But when it comes to the big boys I find them very repellent, from Zeus on down. So I don’t really have an old guy in the sky, but I never imagined that made me an atheist, God forbid. Words…damn them to hell.

        Oh well, I’m enjoying this thread so much I don’t want to complain or get into any lengthy descriptions of belief. So glad to see it here, instead of a site in one or the other camp. Someone called this thread “mental masturbation”. That’s a little harsh. A spiritual take on it might be that masturbation is only masturbation after the first time –or the first two strokes perhaps, if one is picky. Masturbation is impossible in beginners mind…at least so people tell me.

        I think most of us agree that there is no old guy in a white robe sitting on a cloud, Godwise.

        And if we are God, somebody screwed up.

      • Harry Winter says:

        Hi Wes,
        These thoughts of “believe for Security” is the subject of a book by Dr. Beatrice Bruteau “THE PSYCHIC GRID” — good read)
        All the truth we have are the “believes” of our “Conviction Community” —- there is no other TRUTH according to Bruteau.

    • Harry Winter says:

      Interestingly, one of the Eastern Gurus made this statement, he said:
      “Have Faith in nothing, Faith is the eye that sees nothing and rejoices in it. Unknowingness absolves the future path of danger. The eye sees [it should, but], sees nothing, and so has Faith. — Fair set, all are hallowed — Shanti”.

  45. Manitou says:

    How can there be argument? We are god.

  46. Rastas says:

    L Ron Hubbard has thousands of people following his writings and he talks of aliens, does that make what he says true because of his large following and should we question his beliefs and ask for an explanation. People can say anything they want, and write books, but that doesn’t mean that what they say is true. Anyone who believes in “god” but asks for no explanation of what god is, scares the hell out of me.

    • John says:

      Rastas

      I believe in unconditional love.I believe that God is unconditional love. I also believe that love is the most powerfull force in the universe.

      • Harry Winter says:

        John,
        Do you know what you are saying?
        — These are the words of Dr. Beatrice Bruteau from her interview with EnlightenNext. — “This energy of love is inexhaustible; it is plentiful, bountiful, and enormous. The True Self is constantly radiating this willed goodness.”
        Wow, I need at least another incarnation to fully comprehend this, because it violates LaoTzu’s 2nd Premise: ‘When all the world knows goodness as good, then there is evil, (2)’, meaning that the extremes of opposite forces or qualities in a duality become identical.

        Your love-proclamation is one extreme of a Duality!

        • John says:

          Hi Harry

          We can’t avoid duality in this physical universe we live in [even with words] This is the best way I can describe this pure emotion that is beyond worldly conditional love. Words and intellectual reason are inadequate to describe pure emotions like [ Unconditional Love]. They have to be experienced. If you proclaim the DEVIL as being the extreme opposite of GOD you have extreme duality. As Tom Howe said [ words suck]

          • Harry Winter says:

            Hi Jon, answering your post from: Jan 15, 2010 at 7:55 pm

            I don’t remember ever recommending avoiding Dualities. Now one can, because se this entire Cosmos is made of Dualities. My Genesis is:

            In the Beginning were no Words, but God THOUGHT: (To Herself, no one else was there!)
            “I’m Bored, Let’s Go for Broke!” And with One-Hand-clapping, she made a Big-Bang

            • John says:

              Hi Harry

              We can all take ourselves too seriously
              when it comes to religious matters or
              atheism.Have you ever thought that
              we might need both? One sounds out
              the other. If you didn’t have this you
              would either have religious arrogance
              or atheistic arrogance [two sides of the
              coin. Glad to see that you have a good
              sense of humour.

        • John says:

          From the ONE comes the many

    • Harry Winter says:

      Rastas,
      Who is Ron Hubbard?

  47. James Lee says:

    What Manitou said. I used to be an atheist until the Hindus convinced me I am god. In fact we all are. In fact everything is.

    Monism rules. Monotheism drools.

    End of debate.

  48. Gail says:

    As an atheist, I am sometimes uncomfortable with how strident the “New Atheists” can be. On the other hand, atheists are one of the few groups that are openly discriminated against, as in “Oh, you’re not one of those atheists, are you?” or “I’d never vote for an atheist for president,” etc., etc., etc. How would people react if I said “I’d never vote for a Christian for president!” (not true, by the way)? If we are to be tolerant of others beliefs, let’s include atheists in the category of those “others.”

  49. Rastas says:

    Hi John, have you been living on the moon :o) Google or Wiki L Ron Hubbard, it would take too long to explain, but make sure you read the Controversy part of the Wiki profile. I think the L might stand for Luna :o) I’ll stop there, beacuse apparently, if I stated what I really think of L Ron Hubbard, the organization, sorry, religion of Scientology will sue me and hound me for the rest of my life. I’ll give you a clue though, think Amway meets The Rev Sun Moon meets The Manchurian Candidate.

    I even question what love is, and to be honest, I’m happy with my answer. To me love is a feeling that comes when there is no judgement or interpretation, just “what is”. The “what is” feeling. Pure unconditional acceptance. Nothing added, no need to even add water, just plain and simple ISness. Can I explain what that feels like, no, but if you let go of judgement and interpretation, you too can experience this version of love, keeping it going is a little tougher, but with practice you can prolong it.

  50. James Love says:

    If you believe there is a
    God, you are stuck in a conclusion and therefore you have a closed mind. If you believe there is no God you are stuck in a conclusion and also have a closed mind.
    That’s is why Gautama Buddha that the existence or non-existence of God is a question “not tending to edification”.
    If one keeps an open mind, perhaps that open mindedness is itself what people call God, Love, Truth, etc. whatever name one chooses to give.

  51. Patrick says:

    This whole comment section has been kinda funny. The majority of people are supporting theism and attacking atheism. I thought people in this community were supposed to be smarter that that…

  52. Ron Ruhnke says:

    I find the “New Atheism” in no way extreme. It has been and is so taboo to speak truth to Christians and Christianity that when someone does, they are labeled extreme, even fundamentalist. Actually, the new atheists are simply being honest, straight forward and truthful. How refreshing!

  53. John says:

    Thank you for aswering my EMail Rastas .It is a big world out there with all different cultures and beliefs, and we are all entitled to our opinions, whether we believe in God or not.

  54. harold says:

    Well, if you re-frame the question (look up framing), the only difference between science and religion is that religion, spirituality, philosophy and even things like sociology look at bigger issues. Social science would look at the part that is mathematical, statistical and the like. When we get to a Goodall or Hawking it has a lot to do with popularity, the media is looking for sensationalism.
    Framing can be said to be what hypnosis is all about. We are really vacillating between using more or less intuition, inspiration and right brain creative thinking or left brain. The West is 60% left brained and there’s the rub.
    From Aristotle to Einstein and in modern Nuero Science, it is noted that most of our thinking is done below our consciousness, despite our protestations to the contrary and the intuition is more objective than objective scientists. As a matter of fact the mother of objectivism had visions. No intuition, no thinking. No intuition, no creativity. It’s that simple. Our left hand is fighting our right.
    All reality is logical, the universe can be described in numbers, for instance. Religion doesn’t take any more belief than science. They both need enough belief so that they will investigate, an not make only assumtions. I guess the argument is between those who would have you accept something without reason and define belief as naive credulity, but who would admit that? Seeing is believing and faith is built on testing, just like science. The scientific method is to test and itr is used in everything, always has been. Anyone telling you any different doesn’t know what they are talking about or they are taking about something else. If someone doesn’t know that spirituality can be explained logically, just doesn’t know the subject properly or science either, I would warrant. We are so compartmentalized. Interdisciplinary studies was supposed to get us out of that.

  55. harold says:

    Another way to look at it is as the conflict between close mindedness and open mindedness. How much of each, not either or. Solipsism or naive realism or something all inclusive, like David Bohm, the implicate order. That’s perfectly logical. And something like that it seems probable as well. How can we let the media manipulate us like this?

    • James Love says:

      Harold,
      That’s right. You quoted my friend the late Dr. Bohm and having spend considerable time in dialogue with him when I lived in California, I think I could
      venture to state that he would say realism and solipsism, are both isms which brings us back to the limitations of thought as an investigative tool and the question as to whether there is another
      instrument which can be employed, other than thought. He talked a lot about the whole and the implicate order and about the nature of holograms.
      The thing is in communication there has to be a dialogue. Where there is a dialogue we have to begin without our preconceptions.
      In investigating God, existence, etc. as soon as we have swept away the conclusions and concepts so that we are not coming from a place of distortion, then we are already in the ground of that totality, wholeness or implicate order. So to really go into this question we have to answer it first by throwing away first all the answers, and then the question itself. This is why I originally pointed to the statement by Buddha about the whole topic being a question not tending to edification.
      JK

  56. Syd Shaw says:

    This discussion is endless. The reality is that the cancer council of America have been asking people who come to visit them to be tested a whole array of questions for 50 years to try to determine what causes cancer. It was 2004 before their computers had the muscle to crunch the vast data-base they had accumukated which related the thousand or so questions put to them to the respondents DNA. The question which interested Dean Hamer was: “Do you believe in a higher being.” Hamer is the PHD who leads the tesearch effort of THE CANCER COUNCIL. 50% of respondents said they did, the other 50% said they didn’t. When Hamer looked for a gene that was common to the believers he discovered that they had a gene that the non-believers didn’t have.
    The rational conclusion to this very precise and scientific research is that there are 2 different species of humans living on the planet – one with the GOD GENE and the other without it. The institute I work for has been searching for EVOLVERS since 1943 when psychologists determined that there were people who SELF-ACTUALISED.
    I have personally been EXPERIENCING clair-voyance and many other gifts since I was a child. Ther’s no way I can convince anyone of my gifts unless I find someone who is EXPERIENCING gifts which I too enjoy. The reality bis that if you don’t EXPERIENCE an EVOLUTIONARY gift, it doesn’t exist for you. If you do, nobody is going to persuade you yhat you don’t.
    When I tried to explain this to Andrew 6 months ago he simply wouldn’t even acknowledge reading what I wrote to him. His PA had to transliterate. That’s where the race is stuck. If you EXPERIENCE higher being you’re an EVOLVER. If you don’t you’re a HUMANIMAL. Those who can DO, those who can’t DON’T. This same point is made throughout the religions of all 6 major world religions where the vast majority just ignore such statements such as “You must allow no man to call you teacher for you have but one teacher, the ANNOINTING which is within you.”

  57. Manitou says:

    ISness. How perfect.

  58. Rastas says:

    Cathy Russell, That is a miracle, so maybe god does exist :o)
    I’d never have thought it possible to be able to change the mindset of a fundamentalist in one session, maybe there’s hope for the world yet. I applaud you not only for helping them see the light, but of trying to do so in the first place, I gave up on them many moons ago, but who knows, maybe a small part of our conversations back then did get through their filters of fear.

  59. John says:

    The Yin [negative energy] is incomplete without the Yang [positive energy]. Combine the two and you have perfect [ONENESS]

  60. joan says:

    It’s amusing that we’re surprised that there’s been such a strong reaction to conservative religious fundamentalism. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Fundamentalism and zealotry come in all flavors:
    conservative, liberal, and yes, even progressive, all born of dualistic we/they thinking and reactivity.

  61. Rastas says:

    Your Amygdala is your worst enemy, probably your only real enemy, although when it triggers, it can make you see many enemies and creates many levels of paranoia. Subconscious fear can be imprinted before you can remember consciously. For more info, read Joseph LaDoux’s The Emotional Brain, for the answer to the problem, read this guy The Release Effect dot com

    Understanding the nature of this part of the brain adds new light to the puzzle of duality. We separate to give a false sense of security when we are feeling fearful.

  62. Kurt Jensen says:

    A wonderfully cogent argument presented by both the author of this blog and Mr. Haught’s video clip.

    Militant atheism reminds me of my 5 yr old throwing a tantrum over something that she barely comprehends. So I find myself mostly embarrassed by the arguments of people like Dawkins. They dont even know what they dont even know.

    Having spent a great deal of time message boarding with atheists in the old ACLU forums on AOL, they like all categories of people have a wide spectrum of opinions. The ones who were honest admitted the only legitimate conclusion you can arrive at, if you’re going for pure logical and rational thought, was to be agnostic. The so called “hard” atheists who positively asserts that there is no God make fools of themselves when trying to use logic to explain their position. They violate the logic they use and cant even understand their own fallacies. This is quite frankly embarrassing. And the fact that it’s being done so publicly is like watching a 20 car pileup at Daytona.

  63. Walter Keil says:

    Good and bad
    Good and bad are coming from the evolutionary context. Good is what the universe needs to reach a higher level with all the living beings.
    That means, because we are all connected in a way that is sometimes plain to see, and sometimes very hard to see, there is no secure way into future without taking care for all the life. And life is depénding on matter with a great variety. So it is bad to burn all the oil in motors etc. and overlook that the carbon atoms and molecules are rather precious building blocks of a biosphere and they cannot produced easily.

    Bad is therfore what is endangering future and developing.

    Sure, good and bad are also an issue in the relationship of people in common, but I think it’s not hard to see, that this also has it’s context with the flow of evloution.
    So a lie is also a obstacle in developing confidence, what we all need to live and work together.

    In the past when mankind was like a child myths and simple beliefs in Gods and genies was very helpful for the souls of the awakening minds.
    Therfore we still tell our cildren tales and storys with a happy ending.

    Now, we know that there is a reality which is ultra complex, but we are proud, to see we unriddled some great mysteries. But there is no written bestseller who points out, that there are even more great mysteries behind the knowledge of today.

    We really do not know, what keeps us on the ground. What is gravity ?

    We know how arrogant Bankers and Managers can be. How they sell vague prospects as certain prosperities. I feel some scientists are not better by telling us how the world works.
    I think, when we leave some myths, fairy-tales and religion behind, we are not sure , hat we only change them. Cause our soul is more than sensitive.
    Greetings from Germany.

  64. Rastas says:

    Sorry, is it just me or does anyone else find the following sentences by Kurt Jensen convoluted, I can’t seem to make sense of them:
    “The so called “hard” atheists who positively assert that there is no God make fools of themselves when trying to use logic to explain their position. They violate the logic they use and cant even understand their own fallacies.”

    I think I might even agree with Kurt, because using logic to discuss something totally illogical, is a bit foolish. It’s like using logic to dispel the myth of Santa Claus, why would you bother. But with “god”, there is the little problem of the millions of people who have been killed in the name of “god”, so I think we should question with logic whether this “god” does actually exist or whether it’s a figment of indoctrinated follower’s imaginations.

    • Jan says:

      That is exactly my point,the only reason i am commenting on this blog is to help some confused religious soul to start questioning,!” dont argue with fools because people might not notice the difference ” do not know who said thart first……..wise man!!!!!

      • James Love says:

        Jan,
        I’m glad you said that. At least YOU aren’t clueless. As far as don’t argue with fools, I think some guy in one of the Testaments said
        “Cast not your pearls before swine” or they’ll be trodden under foo” or something like that. I think his name began with a J or something like that. Some guy from Nazareth. Anyone wanting to renew their appreciation of Christianity can read “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism” (i think thats the title.) by Jack Spong. It should be required reading for anyone interested in so called religion. especially Christianity. Thomas Merton and Gerald May have offered a lot of good material/
        ‘teaching on the contemplative “side” which has been almost completely ignored or is just unaware of by the millions of self proclaimed “Christians” of modern America. When Jesus said “You shall do greater things than I”
        I don’t think he had those people in mind. What kind of Christian supports capital punishment?

        • Jan Kotze says:

          hi james….i think that is exacty why people is religious……they dont have to think of moral and sosial isiues……they just adapt there religions to suit them……look at my coutry s politics “South Africa” in the years of apattheid, their religion told them they are better than the blacks and it is a sin to mix with them……the same people with the same religion now declares 40 years of apartheid was a sin against humanity. And some people stiltake religion seriously…..please pardon my grammar and spelling….English is my second language

    • Tony says:

      Well, this goes back to Hume. Deductive and inductive logic are different. We can’t even deductively prove gravity will always work, it’s merely an assumption. And causality? What is that? All we can say is that one event can reliably predict another in every circumstance we observe. It’s basically air-tight association. Science was directly challenged by a committed empiricist! It seemed like a crisis during the age of rationalism, at least until it was reconciled by Kant.

      Still, empirical proof is not mere imagination, sophistry, or “making it up.” So yes, deductively, hard atheism might not work, and thus we move from a belief to a claim to knowledge (that is, agnosticism, the claim that we have no knowledge of god or of god’s existence, whether or not we “believe” that god exists). This “weaker” position is the only defensible one, deductively. But inductively, well, I see no evidence that the universe is ruled by an individual being, object, or persona somewhere.

      I, like anyone, am allowed to come to some conclusions, even if knowledge is never 100% certain about anything.

  65. Jan Kotze says:

    I will rather have a discussion with a ranting athiest…..talking about evolotion proving there is no god as in the bible……….than listen to somebody trying to convince me of his god according Noah’s fairytale.

  66. John says:

    We can only go by our [ own ] personal experiences. Still the restless turbulent mind and find the small still voice of wisdom within you. The scientist observes. The Mystic observes and is being observed.

  67. Rastas says:

    Most people who believe in “go(o)d” also believe in a “devil” (_evil). They usually believe in either punishment or reward after they have passed away. This is a double edged sword, because if you are always traveling to the future in your mind and living your life to avoid hell or to get a ticket to heaven, you’re never in the moment, you’re never here, and that’s where the power of life is, here and now, swimming in the beautiful flow of the ISness.
    Believing in after-lives in the way the churches indoctrinate people to believe, is what actually stops people from enjoying the heaven on earth that comes with being in the ISness, being in the flow, the NOWness of life. Religions hold their flocks through the use of fear and reward, but you only get the reward if you do what they say. Bit like politicians really, which is exactly what the earliest leaders of churches were, until there ideas became so outrageous that people got up in arms to take away their absolute power. There is more “spirituality” in the little finger of a person practicing ISness than there is in a multitude of people blindly believing religious controlling fairy tales. The biggest con trick of all time.

  68. Tom Howe says:

    Apparently the new definition of “atheist” is somebody who is against organized religion, their methods of control and their fabulist parodies of the creative impetus of the universe(s). Good to know. Just wish we wouldn’t swap our words around so much.

    To me the revelation that ancient religions used metaphor, at best, is a no-brainer, considering what we’ve learned. What’s so special about that? You get your own word just for that? Agnostic not good enough for ya? Just because a bunch of morons might believe ridiculous crap doesn’t prove anything in a created/uncreated debate. Nor does it prove that those believers are somehow worse than us. Or wronger.

    It almost seems like a political ploy, to co-opt the word “atheist” to add some punch to their discourse. An atheist is someone who believes in no god and no soul, that everything is material. Sorry, I’m going with the old definition.

    • Tony says:

      “An atheist is someone who believes in no god and no soul, that everything is material. ”

      The point is that being “against organized religion, their methods of control” is actually the old definition of atheism. The Church charged mystics like Bruno and many other intellectuals with that label. The old definition included anyone, even if they were born and bred Christian, who rejected the orthodox beliefs. So the “new” definition actually reflects its historical usage.

      Indeed, if you reject the, as you put it, “fabulist parodies of the creative impetus of the universe(s)” you reject what the monotheistic religions, even in Asia, often had to say about god. That’s really denying god, or a certain version of god.

      For example, what was Socrates officially sentenced to death for? (Remember, this was before Christianity). It’s commonly said that he corrupted the youth of Athens, but that’s the reasoning for bringing him to trial. The actual charge was the “crime of atheism.” He didn’t believe that the deities the priestly cult propitiated existed. The ancient Greeks feared punishment from the gods if people insulted them or didn’t do the rituals correctly. Now, Christians and even some Jews and Muslims held that Socrates was a “pious pagan” and therefore was really a monotheist because he held that his conscience, his “daemon” was this inner, quasi-divine force that gave wise council on how to avoid error.

      And yet this man, who believed in reincarnation (and thus the soul), was an atheist!

      • Tony says:

        I forgot to make a further point. Jains believe there is a soul, but no god, or at least not a creator god. So are they atheist or not? According to your definition, they must be half atheist. Or what about Vaisheshika philosophers? They, like Leucippus and Democritus, believed in only atoms and the void, but also believed in deities. Are they atheists? Perhaps only the Epicureans or the Carvakas would have met all of the requirements: no god, no soul, only material. Do modern atheists have to believe in the ancient cosmology of certain Indian or Greek philosophers?

        Let’s just stick to the larger definition. Or better yet, avoid the term “atheist” unless we know what we are accepting or rejecting.

      • Tom Howe says:

        Seems “atheist” is like a lot of other descriptive terms, its meaning depends on who you talk to.

  69. John says:

    We are Spirit having a Physical Experience.

  70. Walter Keil says:

    Dear Rastas,
    I think you use some right arguments but you don’t come to the right conclusions. I miss always a great heart, what is absolutely neccessary in terms of looking at people with some obsolete thinking. We have to be very careful in our judgements without knowing the history of believes and myths and espacially the Bible or the Koran.

    I think they are probably half true. Some very impressed followings came to write it down decades or centuries later. So we have to admit that this must not be the very true story. I think it’s religious literature and this, because literature is always full of morality and even spirituality. Philosophers point out that older writings have to be interpret. That’s why preachers preach. (Hermeneutics)

    I think life is starting with the trauma of birth and the expierence of uncertainty and insecurity. Can you hear the babies cry ?
    And the love of a mother and father is helping to start into the personal life. Fairy tales, myths an religion are helping the incomplete mind of a child in orientation. Nowadays we have a lot of information from science, that complements our beliefs and maybe it displaces them.
    The Dali Lama said in Germany, he thinks that is not so good for the people with a cristian belief, to convert to Buddhism. He said, our deeper soul can get into a conflict. So I think the way to a richer religion and spirituality is a very sensitive issue.

    I think we have still enough myths around us, we can not replace in a good way. God, soul, has our life a deep meaning, why is there actually something, higher dimensions, the end fo the universe, etc.

    All life is tending to organize themself in groups. Sometimes with small, sometimes with much cooperation. Leaders, nobilites and elite is always the consequence. Evolutionary Enleightenment is a strong movement in the beginning, I think soon it will be more successfull und perform in more established way. We can not predict, how this movement will be organized in further future. What will be in a 100 years ? (If we survive)

    We have some new ideologies, which are coming up as very controlled groups with and even with new rituals. In Germany the former DDR. for instance, tried to form a same mind atheistic society even with a system of spies and informers. (Hell’s Angels, Scientology is maybe close to that).

    Positive criticism and endless discussions are the only way to develop minds. I think for myself, very helpful is to study Physics.
    Because, Physics (Astrophysics an Quantum-Physics) delivers a very extreme look on normality. My conclusion: there is no normality, everything is sheer lunacy !
    Billions of neutrons from the sun are going through our bodies and all matter in every second ! How would we fell if it were’nt so ?
    Evers ling being underlies a permanent construction process of cells !
    Life is a steady generating process ! (Apoptosis / Proliferation)

    Greetings from Germany

    Walter Keil

  71. Walter Keil says:

    Correction of the end of my last article:

    How would we feel if it weren’t so ?
    Every living being underlies a permanent construction process of cells !
    Life is a steady generating process ! (Apoptosis / Proliferation)

    Sorry I was getting disturbed, and my English is not better.

  72. Caroline Hitch says:

    We’re never going to find the truth of who we are until we stop looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Nothing can be properly apprehended without perspective. We have some real data from the developing science of cosmology that can help us understand our place in the universe. Having said that, I’ll throw in my two cents on the nature of God; there is only one mind, one self, one being, one nature, one universe; i.e., one thing, period. Starting with such a premise one can actually see how everything is connected, which Abrahamic religions are unable to do. That is, these religions are impotent to produce any results other than to reinforce the patriarchal systems for which they were created. Instead, look to how the stars condense out of hydrogen gas through gravitation, how the elements (carbon, oxygen, etc.) are created inside stars, how stars burst and seed the surrounds with these elements, how planets condense out of them, how life emerges as molecular components cycle together through feedback loops to form larger wholes, and how these wholes are continuing to form. It is there, in pondering such things that we’ll achieve understanding. Whereas, if you look at any of the man made religions and ideologies that preceded this new but growing body of knowledge, you’ll see that they all have androcentric moorings; i.e., they’re grounded in the dualistic notion of human superiority over nature. Granted, many Eastern religions, such as Vedantism, apprehend a singular cosmos, but we need to move beyond faith to a realization that’s connected to the very stuff of our physical experience and existence. That is, our vision needs to be such that everything can be explained by it.

    • Shirley Gibbs says:

      Thanks for that, Caroline. You have given a very concise description of the reason why humankind is still unable to comprehend its place in the Web of Life. When we all accept that we are not the lords of it, but a strand in that vast and wonderful, ever expanding creation, will we be able to utilise our vast collective mental and physical energies into eliminating famine,disease and senseless destruction of our beautiful planet Earth. Roll on that day when every creature can enjoy “Living in the Now!”
      I do believe that mankind already, has the technololgy to do it. All that is lacking is the ” Vision, ” plus cooperation, coordination and commitment at an international level.
      You have set me thinking. Perhaps yours could be the voice to turn the tide of indifference. May the Force be with you!

  73. Tom Howe says:

    Thank you Caroline, that was beautiful. One on!

  74. Rastas says:

    Very intelligent words Caroline.
    For me, the question of peace of mind is the only goal worth achieving, all the knowledge in/of the universe will never make up for an un-peaceful mind.
    If you have a peaceful mind, the search for knowledge seems to disappear anyway, and intuitive wisdom kicks in, or should I say kicks back in, because it was our way of knowing our world even back in our time in the womb, we didn’t have rationall intelligence back then, but we sure as hell felt our environment. Unfortunately, some of those early feelings in our formative years, might have been scary, maybe a feeling of abandonment or lost when we were left alone too long as a baby, or the feeling of helplessness when we couldn’t get our needs met, not being fed when we were hungry, but instead on a timetable to fit in with the creche or mother’s busy schedule because she had to live up to the feminist ideal.
    All of these “negative” feelings from these events are not remembered consciously, because that part of the brain hasn’t developed yet, but the Amygdala is actively recording the feeling of what the baby experiences as feeling beliefs about those type of experiences, so in the future, any experience even remotely similar, can trigger the same feeling again, but the current situation might not carry any danger at all, but the felling tricks us into believing there must be a danger, or why else would we be feeling it :o) and of course this is what the Buddhists call Monkey Mind.
    When the fear in the Amygdala is changed, the mind can start to see “what is” again and the person can get on with their lives the way they really want to live, and not need to ask “where did we come from? what is god? and where are we going?” It doesn’t matter to a peaceful mind.

    Check out Joseph LaDoux from NYU Neural Research Centre, he wrote the Emotional Brain, or Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, you will find out quite a lot about the Amygdala and of course about yourself. “Know Thyself”.
    Then go to this guy at The Release Effect dot com for the way out of the fear maze, with no gurus, no gods, no religions and no analysis of the past. Freedom from fear, which is the only real freedom.

  75. Walter Keil says:

    What a good statement.
    One thing leads to another. Religions and beliefs have been always under slow construction, but now the time has come, we see more clearly now. We see the direction in a world with accelerating changes.

    Greetings from Germany

    Walter Keil

  76. John says:

    I wonder if any of you people out there have heard of [ CYMATICS ]
    The Healing nature of sound and[ Sound Scapes ]by Dr Hans Jenny a Swiss Pysician, artist and natural Scientist.In one of his tapes [Bringing Matter to life with Sound] he experiments with basic materials like sand, powders,pastes, liquids and iron filings with remarkable results.
    By putting different sound frequencies through these raw materials they come to life in all inticate shapes and forms. Change the sound vibrational frequency and you change the shape and form. The higher the vibrational sound frequency the more Intricate the shape and form becomes.In the gap between the lower and higher frequencies there was chaos and no form.
    But don’t take my word for it [ See for yourself ] A picture is worth a thousand words. A U M

  77. Ozmium says:

    I’m disturbed at the amount of posters claiming atheism is a religion. Yeah right. And an apple is really an orange. Listen up folks, atheism simply means “without religion”. Atheism isn’t a philosophy either, or even a worldview. It’s almost an empty word.
    If someone says they are atheist it only means they don’t share your religious beliefs. That’s it. THAT IS IT. Get it?
    I wholly agree with Sam Harris when he says ‘atheist’ is a word which shouldn’t even be necessary. To say atheism is a religion is akin to saying that not collecting stamps is a hobby.
    If there are those who say “There definitely is no deity”, then I think it’s time we invent a new term for those people instead of calling them atheists. Perhaps ‘strong adeist’?

    • James Love says:

      Hi, I’m disturbed by people claiming that Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. have something to do with religion. A religious life, it would seem, means to live a daily life free of all that stuff, but rather to respond as an original human being with love and compassion in one’s daily life, not following someone or some authority from the past.

  78. Kurt Jensen says:

    Having talked to more atheists on message boards that most people probably know in real life, I can tell you that their beliefs and the way they describe their “atheism” runs the full spectrum.

    The rules of classic logic dictate that being agnostic is really the only option if you’re not describing yourself as a theist.

    Then there are two forms of atheism -

    1 – “soft” atheists who take the stance … “I have yet to see any evidence that convinces me scientifically that such a thing as a deity exists”

    2 – “hard” atheists … who positively affirm that “there is no God”. This stance is illogical, since there is no way of knowing all things that exist or do not exist in the universe, or for that matter in dimensions that possibly exist that we are not aware of (think String Theory). This is a logical fallacy and when I have challenged these people about this, they will often admit to it. So their stance mostly falls back on emotion, and they many of them know it.

    The hard atheists I have run across can often be pretty abrasive and remind me very much of fundamentalist theists of all flavors. So to call them “religious” in their zealotry is not that far off the mark. Some of them are very politically active making it their mission to “enlighten” people to their way of viewing the world, much as many theists also proselytize. That many people find both of these things annoying is not surprising.

    Ken Wilber in his essay “The Three Eyes of Knowledge” does a wonderful job explaining why atheists and materialists of all flavors make a number of logical fallacies in their arguments. If you have not read it, its one of the better takes on epistemology you will ever run into.

  79. Regarding Ozmium’s comments: Job done as far as I am concerned – he’s right, it’s not a philosophy, it’s the absence of of a religion. It’s not even an opposite of religion. Cold is not the opposite of heat, it’s the absence of it.

  80. Walter Keil says:

    Hello Ozmium, what you’ve said
    is probably what a great amount of atheists think about their atheism.
    But for instance the communists states with their atheistic education had not only the idea of refusing religion. No, they replaced religious rituals and beliefs with new forms.
    People were apperently asking for this.
    I think if atheism becomes popular it will develop new forms of pseudo-religious life to unite and lead the people – even in the USA.

    You speak a strong speak, but I think there is the wishful thinking behind, that there is more clear mind in atheism. I disagree, the big questions of our existence, and especially why does anything exists at all, can not be answered, so we are all inevitble believers. We came to this world and became human by learning from our people in the next and in the further surrounding area. So you, would be maybe a strong muslim if you were born in Afghanistan. And if your place allows you think God is not existing, you probably learned some arguments for that from other people. You know for sure, there’s no proof behind. It’s a change of myths.
    I think if a religious man kills a fish just for fun he’s a sinner. I think it’s also a sin for an atheistic man, to have no respect of live.
    To think sin is only religious phenomenon to press people and law and order without religion is enough is overlooking a lot.
    The world is based on rules and laws, from physics to human civilisation. Atheism is maybe an attempt to create substitutes.

    But I say clear our personal and our common consciousness are always in development. We have to discuss everything. If it’s a social, a political, a scientific, a religious or an atheistc issue.
    I prefer the aspect of improving religion into a globalized higher form.
    The essential point will be the evolutionary content.

    So finally I say, that the word “by accident” is for me the very weak point of atheism.
    Think about that.

    With kind regards from Germany

    Walter Keil

  81. Rastas says:

    Great post Ozmium.
    It’s my opinion that most people who believe in religious dogma, have been brainwashed, hypnotized or/and conned, usually when they are too young to be able to make rational decisions, or when they have been at a very vulnerable point in their lives.
    In saying that, I think most people I’ve met who are religious are usually fine people, but so are most atheists. I think the religious one’s would have been fine even without the religious indoctrination.
    I really think the first third of http://www.ZeitgeistTheMovie.com or maybe .org sums Roman Catholic based religions up nicely.
    I’m sure they all mean well,but to see them always living in hope for the future, when the answer is to be in the moment, breaks my heart at the waste of quality of life.

    • Walter Keil says:

      Dear Rastas,
      I dislike your aggressive words, like brainwashed, hypnotized,conned, on religious people.
      That’s the way you will convince nobody.
      I miss the debate about the biggest atheistic movement in history, the communism.

      With kind regards from Germany
      Walter Keil
      All is one, and you are me. No respect to others, no respect for me.

  82. Tom Howe says:

    Atheism, from Merriam Webster Online:
    Pronunciation: \??-th?-?i-z?m\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle French athéisme, from athée atheist, from Greek atheos godless, from a- + theos god
    Date: 1546
    1 archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
    2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity

    Sorry Oz, the definition has already been set, so you don’t get to define it.

    Sam Harris’s idea that atheisim is so normative that it doesn’t even need to be a word is self-serving. What’s up with atheists so often wanting to redefine the word? If you don’t disbelieve in the existence of a deity, but still are anti-religion, come up with another word.

    So that is NOT IT, sorry.

    • Tony says:

      First, you ignore your own evidence here – see definition 2a. Most people use definition 2b exclusively, omitting the wider, more common and inclusive one that Harris refers to. Again, you ignore the issue of how a non-belief is the same as a belief. Isn’t that like saying an apple is the an orange?

      I’d like to know where Harris has redefined atheism or any other word. I’ve never read him change the word atheism to mean something different. He doesn’t like to call himself an “atheist”, and rarely uses the word “atheism” to describe his own beliefs. I don’t think he even used that word at all in his first book The End of Faith. What he argues is that atheists should stop using this, or any other label, for themselves.

      So in this, he is rather consistent and does not run afoul of logic. For more on his actual views, see: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/sam_harris/2007/10/the_problem_with_atheism.html

  83. Rastas says:

    Maybe we need a word for people who don’t believe in L Ron Hubbard, or a definition for those who deny the existence of the tooth fairy.
    It’s a bit like George W branding people who didn’t believe in HIS style of “patriotism” as terrorists, or Macarthy’s communists, feminists brand anyone who challenges them as misogynists, if you don’t believe in Islam you are an infidel, or to the Jews you’re a gentile. How strange to brand people by what they are not.
    I wonder how many so called Christians have actually read the bible.
    Check this out, especially the first third of it. ZeitgeistMovie dot com (I posted it wrongly last time as ZeitgeistTheMovie) This is much more believable than what I was dished up as gospel at Catholic schools. In fact, I would say that it’s a must watch for anyone who seriously wants to debate this topic.

  84. John says:

    I would like to hear the view of [ Near Death Experience] people on this subject, as i believe that you have to go beyond the five senses into the death state to find the answer.

    • John says:

      Mellen-Thomas Benedict had a [Near Death Experience] He was pronounced clinically dead for over an hour and a half after dying of cancer. This is fascinating reading if you want a glimpse of what is on the other side.

    • Shirley Gibbs says:

      John, I tried to get a message to you last evening but I do not think it got through. I had, at age 15, an N.D.E but it was many years later that I realised it for what it was. Since then I have had several O.B.Experiences , one related to the use of Nitrous Oxide during dental treatment, others apparently out of the blue as they say. In hindsight, I am sure they were to act as a warning or possibly a prompt to complete an unfinished task.
      If it is of any interest to you, I can email the stories, if you reply to this.
      Shirley.

      • John says:

        Hi Shirley

        I would love to hear your NDE experiences and OB experiences. Thank you for your EMail on the subject. Look forword to hearing from you about them.

  85. Rastas says:

    The key to the answer to your enquiry about near-death experiences is probably best summed up with one word “NEAR”.

    Add in peacefulness with a slowed down heart rate and one might have a similar experience as when in meditation. A person might be so relaxed that they experience no tension or fear and thus experience reality for the first time in their life, the feeling and the mind pictures that go with stillness and oneness. Clinically dead is not necessarily actually dead, even in the last week or so I’ve read of two people that have come “back” to life in a morgue and at a funeral.

  86. John says:

    Hi Rastas
    Nice to hear from you again.Thank you for not being critical of these[ near death experience] people by saying things like [the brain was starved of oxygen] causing the person to hallucinate, or [the brain knew it's time was up] and made all this up because it feared death or imminent oblivion.I am amazed that Mellen Thomas Benedict is alive at all [more than ninety minutes clinically dead] Most people would be brain dead, or at least a terminally ill cabbage stuck in a dying hospital.
    One thing that I have noticed about nde’s is that the experience tends to make them more loving human beings towards their wife/husband fellow man/woman. Before the experience they admitted that they were quite selfish and would stop at nothing to get what [they] wanted. Many of them seem to change there lives and jobs to a life of selfless service to the general public. None of them seem to fear death and tend to do jobs where they can give comfort to the dying. All of them say that the experience was very real, and that it had changed the way they see things, and that it would stay with them for the rest of their lives.There are also cases where nde’s have aquired instant psychic powers after their nde experience. They tend to be less judgemental of people and more friendly and helpfull towards everyone.

  87. Rastas says:

    Hi John,
    I’ve seen the same effect from people who have had revelatory experiences through deep meditation. That’s all NEAR Death Experiences are to me, a peaceful mind. When one experiences a truly peaceful mind, it’s hard to believe in the fear state of mind anymore, the experience of “what is’ instead of fear interpretations and judgements is very profound in a person’s psyche, because they have been living the lie of separatism all their lives, but the feeling of no separation, otherwise known as unity, is extremely profound, because it allows you to see the true reality of the universe, that there is no such thing as separation, it doesn’t exist.
    So getting back to atheism, it’s not hard to see how people can confuse something as simple as seeing non-dual reality when in an extremely relaxed state, as something mystical. It’s just a natural occurrence of deep relaxation.

    • John says:

      Re: Mellen Thomas Benedict : It takes a lot more than a relaxed state and a peacefull mind to cure a person of terminal cancer.Mellen had been given six months to live by a senior cancer specialist who told him that his Illness was inoperable. This experience completely cured his terminal cancer and changed his life and thinking for ever [ he had no spiritual basis ] in a very profound and positive way. In my book this takes an extremely powerfull experience to change a person from non spiritual to spiritual. I was hit by a car 15 years ago and had my leg and ankle bones shattered.I was unconscious for ten minutes. It took seven months before I could walk again.But this was nothing compared to the spiritual experience that I had. Previous to my accident I was a non spiritual person. The spiritual experience did something that the physical experience could not do.It changed my life and changed the way I see things for ever. Mellen Thomas Benedict went much further and deeper into his experience than I did . You can’t experience life from a book. True wisdom comes from the school of painfull hard knocks [life] and by experiencing [all] levels of consciousness.We are much more than a body and a brain.

  88. Kurt Jensen says:

    Anyone who makes this statement simply hasnt gone far enough, deep enough or experienced a truly mystical event … “So getting back to atheism, it’s not hard to see how people can confuse something as simple as seeing non-dual reality when in an extremely relaxed state, as something mystical. It’s just a natural occurrence of deep
    relaxation.”

    “deep relaxation” and some of the things that can occur in deeply practiced meditation is like the difference between geometry and calculus.

    As I said earlier, go read Ken Wilber’s “The Three Eyes of Knowledge” and then get back here with your critique. Unfortunately its not online or I would post a link, but it can be found in his book “Eye to Eye”.

    Obviously it sounds incredibly arrogant, but “dabblers” dont even know what they dont even know. It would be like me telling a nuclear physicist that he’s got the math wrong in his calculations for the Big Bang.

    Mysticism isnt something you simply write off because you’ve tried meditation a couple of times, or because you analyze it using a scientific paradigm. You dive in with everything you have, and then you might have to incredibly patient for many many years. It’s a form of training just like any other highly skilled endeavor.

    • Tony says:

      And what of Zennists and others who have spent long parts of their life in meditation, and do not conclude that there is a god in charge of the universe, or anything like conventional theism? Are they dabblers too?

  89. John says:

    Hi Rastas

    Ditto. Some have called it union with the [Clear White Light ]Others have said that it’s what your[ Original face ]looks like before you/we were born.[Buddist Koan] The Buddha called it [Suchness]

    • John says:

      Hi Kurt
      I had a mystical experience fifteen years ago which was deeply profound and which left me very humbled. What you say is true.
      This experience changed my life forever and was [more] real than any physical experience, and it left me in deep awe and gratitude. This experience was not an intellectual experience. The intellect is linear and uses the powers of deduction to solve problems.It was not in the imagination either as it was coming from another place/space. This was a direct experience [instantanious].It was not logical [in fact it didn't make any sense at all to me at the time it happened, as it was within me and also out side of me at the same time.It was a voice yet not a voice .It was silent yet not silent and it happened in a nano second yet seemed forever but left a deep profound longing within my being to hear it again which will be there till the day I die and I believe beyond death.
      It seemed to come from this dimension yet not this dimension . The experience I am talking about is the[ small still voice within ] or if you are a a buddhist or hindu [The unstruck sound or unspoken word] To someone who has not experienced this it will sound Gobbledegook , but to the person who has experienced this unique vibrational frequency they will know what I mean. I am not unique and anybody can experience this very profound silence [ if they still the babbling mind].I have realised that in my sixty four years on this planet how little I really do know.I have only scratched the surface of learning.It has changed the way I see things and shot my awareness level up.I cannot think any less than universal and beyond.Before that my world didn’t go beyond the small town i live in. We never stop learning and we will never know it all[ even if we have lived a million life times on this earth and other dimensions and planets. We are multidimensional beings.It's just that some of us have realized this.These experiences can happen to [and have happened to] many people, atheists and Christians alike. It is not a religious or non religious thing.In the east, Buddhists Hindus and Taoists are spiritually light years ahead of the west, and have been for thousands of years.
      To quote a well known saying [ There are greater things in heaven and earth than we will ever know Horatio]

  90. Rastas says:

    Kurt, your rant doesn’t only “sound incredibly arrogant”…

    For a start, let’s take the mysticism out of meditation, because deep relaxation is what it is, but deep relaxation is something that most of us rarely achieve, so it seems profound when we do achieve this so called state of nirvana. It’s the same reason people get addicted to drugs, because the drug relaxes us so much that we have these so called out of body, mystical and bright light experiences. I had a bright light experience for the first time when I attended a Divine Light Mission satsang 37 years ago, but unlike many others who experienced this natural phenomena, I decided not to blindly follow some slight of hand guru, who decided to convince people that this was a mystical experience.
    As much as I admire Ken Wilbur and I’ll go so far as to say that his book “No Boundary” changed my life 25 years ago and set me on a curse of discovery that has been blowing my mind every day ever since. After twenty five years of constant searching, I think I might just have something to add to the debate, maybe Ken could even learn something from me now, I doubt he’d be so arrogant as to say that he couldn’t.

    Homeostasis is what one achieves in the meditative state, it’s nothing super-natural, it’s just the balance of the autonomic nervous system, that’s all, homeostasis is nothing more than being in balance. I urge you to re-read that last statement again and again without your ego about meditation. It is the most profound statement I have ever uttered, because it makes sense of what seems to be mystical.

    The reason this state seems fantastical to people is that they are usually full of mind-chatter, or monkey-mind, and there’s a simple reason for this. Deep inside your skull Kurt and everyone else’s skull, is a small part of the brain called the Amygdala, and the Amygdala stores feeling beliefs about life, even before we can remember consciously in words and pictures. The amygdala is even active during the latter period of gestation.

    If a baby is left alone too long and it feels lost or abandoned, which would instinctively feel very dangerous to a baby, the amygdala will store the feeling belief about this situation Alone (X) = Life Threatening Situation (Y), so in the future, any situation similar to being alone or even the threat of being alone, the Amygdala will activate and send a message to the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to tell it to get prepared for danger, thus putting the person into fight or flight mode, the feedback to the rational cortex from this ANS imbalance will also effect the way the person thinks as well.

    Even though their rational cortex knows that at the moment there is no real danger, if they get the feeling of danger, the cortex will try to make sense of the feeling and if there is no real sense to be made of the feeling in the present moment, the cortex will make up a story to fit the feeling.

    These stories eventually become habits, and after awhile we find ourselves on constant alert in case the feeling comes back again, we start to avoid situations that trigger the fears, we compensate for the feelings, maybe becoming workaholics, sportaholics, academaholics, smokers, druggies, sexaholics etc etc etc and a thousand and one other -aholics.

    We then start looking for answers to our problems but we can’t put the puzzle together, because we can’t even remember consciously past the age of two and maybe many of these feelings were imprinted in that early developmental period, so we turn to mysticism to try and make sense of the “unexplainable” negative feelings that seem to trigger for no explicable reason. In the past, we called these unexplainable feelings “demons” and created all sorts of theories around these “demons”, which eventually led to the Spanish Inquisition etc etc etc.

    Thankfully, there is a way to end this vicious cycle and get back to homeostasis or our secure womb like feelings of security, abundance, connectedness, oneness etc, you might find this site interesting TheReleaseEffectcom

    With all respect to Ken Wilber, without the knowledge of the amygdala and the understanding that the amygdala’s beliefs systems are malleable, there can never be a real understanding of the human condition. As much as I found Ken’s “No Boundary” fascinating, I’m sure he’ll find my up-coming book enlightening as well, working title “I Am, Therefore, I Am”. We’re all gurus (teachers), as long as we don’t blindly follow another guru.

    • Kurt Jensen says:

      Rastas …

      I consider myself fortunate in the sense that I was not a seeker, not at a seminar or retreat, not following a guru, or anything of that nature. I was about as completely unindoctrinated and naïve as it can get when it comes to religious or spiritual social conditioning. I was raised by fairly secular parents who exposed me to Christianity around the age of 8, but did not make it compulsory, and after awhile they said “do you want to continue, or quit?” My choice was to quit.

      Flash forward to the age of 35 when I suddenly get this urge to investigate the philosophical musings that have been going on in my head for many years. The very first time I tried meditation I was overwhelmed with energy and many other types of phenomena that are not really explicable via materialistic science.

      So, your presumption that I am another clone of some spiritual guru school is 180 degrees off base. After about one year of extremely intense experiences (of which I could write a book), and none of which I understood. I simply had to quit. It was too overwhelming for me. I had no reference point, nothing or no one to guide me. I needed to do a lot of research to get some sort of grounding in what was going on. And that’s what I did for many years; reading anything and everything.

      Finally I stumbled upon some references to “Kundalini awakenings” and that explained what I had gone through quite closely. I haven’t seriously meditated for many years, for some of the reasons you mention. I prefer to remain as present in the here and now as possible. Meditation can indeed become a drug, or an escape … but for many it’s what keeps them sane. All of these reactions are possible.

      What this leads us to is this … I can not without equivocation say that what I experienced was not some sort of built in biological mechanism that is inherent in most if not all humans, but neither can you say that what I have experienced is not mystical and represents a connection to something that is not organic or based in our 3D world of “meat.” (or an emergent property of a properly complex neural network, which is what you seem to be saying). I have witnessed the highest level philosophical debates on this issue, and there simply is no irrefutable answer. It’s a draw. Science makes presumptions that undermine its own logic. And spiritualists/theists can never fully deny the possibility that there is indeed a built in biological mechanism that explains mystical/religious experiences.

      Anyone who is honest acknowledges this basic problem with epistemology and phenominalism; there is no way around it, but to simply die and see what comes next.

      But I can tell you or anyone else without hesitation that I know what comes next based on my own experience and it’s not “nothingness.” I would actually prefer nothingness, as it implies that there is no karma and no accountability beyond what mundane law requires of us each and every day. That would be the easy way out. I unfortunately know differently, because I have experienced it, not just read it in a book. I have no faith. I have personal knowledge of a connection to consciousness that exists WELL beyond what we know as our personal boundaries. It is not provable in scientific terms, but if you’re right, that its all based in biology … then when I die everything will just fade to black; I am quite comfortable with that.

      I will once again sound arrogant when I say that when you reach a certain level of spiritual knowledge you become somewhat burdened or overwhelmed by the responsibility of what that knowledge caries with it … for the good of all mankind. That is what bodhisattva’s are all about. I am not that, but I understand the quandary of being at that precipice.

      I’m glad you are your own guru. And I have no guru either, no religion, and I’m not a joiner of any sort. But Ken Wilber’s holoarchy is so spot on, IMHO, that it’s about as fundamental to existence as it gets. I did not arrive at that conclusion from reading his books, I found that truth out for myself before I read “A Brief Hsitory of Everything”, and upon reading many of his works, I realized that we are fortunate to have a voice who is able to make it as clear and understandable as possible, even though it can at times be quite complex. So I consider him a revolutionary evolutionary. ;o)

      My only mantra is … “evolution on all levels of existence.”

      • James Love says:

        Hello Kurt,
        I thought I would attempt to look at this discussion from another and different point of view, or syntax.
        So if I may quote, to start with the following.

        Syntax

        A man staring at his equations
        said that the universe had a beginning.
        There had been an explosion, he said.
        A bang of bangs, and the universe was born.
        And it is expanding, he said.
        He had even calculated the length of its life:
        ten billion revolutions of the earth around the sun.
        The entire globe cheered;
        They found his calculations to be science.
        None thought that by proposing that the universe began,
        the man had merely mirrored the syntax of his mother tongue;
        a syntax which demands beginnings, like birth,
        and developments, like maturation,
        and ends, like death, as statements of facts.
        The universe began,
        and it is getting old, the man assured us,
        and it will die, like all things die,
        like he himself died after confirming mathematically
        the syntax of his mother tongue.

        **************************

        The Other Syntax

        Did the universe really begin?
        Is the theory of the big bang true?
        These are not questions, though they sound like they are.
        Is the syntax that requires beginnings, developments
        and ends as statements of fact the only syntax that exists?
        That’s the real question.
        There are other syntaxes.
        There is one, for example, which demands that varieties
        of intensity be taken as facts.
        In that syntax nothing begins and nothing ends;
        thus birth is not a clean, clear-cut event,
        but a specific type of intensity,
        and so is maturation, and so is death.
        A man of that syntax, looking over his equations, finds that
        he has calculated enough varieties of intensity
        to say with authority
        that the universe never began
        and will never end,
        but that it has gone, and is going now, and will go
        through endless fluctuations of intensity.
        That man could very well conclude that the universe itself
        is the chariot of intensity
        and that one can board it
        to journey through changes without end.
        He will conclude all that, and much more,
        perhaps without ever realizing
        that he is merely confirming
        the syntax of his mother tongue.

        ***************************

        From “The Active Side of Infinity” by Carlos Castaneda
        Copyright 1998 by Laugan Productions

        The practitioners of Tensegrity do much more than to work with certain positions of the body and movements that were apparently discovered in
        heightened states of dreaming by the ancient Toltec
        warriors. These practices along with that of being free of self importance, melodrama and habit, erasing one’s personal history, stopping the internal dialogue and seeing, etc. were all part of ‘moving the assemblage point of awareness”. That is their way was to see the human being as a luminous egg, or fibers of luminous awareness which are attached to an assemblage point. When this point which is stuck and requires tremendous energy to be ‘moved’ is able to shift, then
        entire worlds of awareness are accessible. It appears that you like many of us have shifted that assemblage point. It can however get stuck again and one must be meticulous in one’s approach to everything in order to gain mastery over one’s perceptual conditioning.
        I agree with you that it would have to comprise more than just a biological homeostasis etc as has been suggested here, although would include that.
        The thing is without intense deconstructing of one’s entire psychological conditioning and framework of self deception etc. one can not
        gather the required energy to break this point of attachment of awareness which they called the assemblage point. That is something far greater than having one’s brain waves or whatever homogenized through meditation.
        The shifting of the assemblage point has nothing to do with theism or atheism but a lot to do with
        attention and the awareness of the whole or totality which for the want of a better word one can call the unknown. That can’t be produced by any practice or drug, meditation or physical form of yoga etc.
        If it is produced, than it is still a product of time, ego, etc. and not that nameless thing itself.

      • Tony says:

        I’m a little confused here. What presumptions are made in science that undermine its own logic? And what experiences did you have that were not explainable by “materialistic” (natural?) science? Where’s the conflict between what you experienced and what science can set out to test and explain?

    • Tony says:

      What about the pineal gland? I’m sure there’s some research on that.

  91. Walter Keil says:

    Hello to you out there,
    I think some modern atheists are burning by a fuel named reason.
    They’re always looking from the island of human reason.
    Their mind is shining with the clear light of Intelligence.
    No mysticism anymore.

    That is in my eyes a golden trap. Because the arguments are mostly from the biological sight. I believe, this is very incomplete. I think a clear mind has always to ask what is behind some knowledge – and particularly what we do not know. Otherwise you’ll only become a supporter of an ideology.
    Maybe an atheistic ideology.
    I think the mysticism lies clear ahead and human knowledge is a lonely island in the sea of mysticism.
    According to quantum physics and Einstein’s relativity everything is made out of energy. Matter is a special form of energy existing only under special conditions. Like snow flakes exists under special circumstances. The realitiy revealed by physicists is showing us that we are always part of constant energy (eternal energy) surround us.

    There’s no place in the universe where is no energy. All the dimensions of time and space are connected. There is always a change of aspect but no real partition between the phenomenons of reality. For instance water is a product of two gases. Hydrogen and oxygen. It appears in different forms, but it is basically also made by elementary particles. (Forms like ice, water, steam) Due to modern physics all particles are made out from energy. (Read for instance Steven Hawking)
    It can only exist in a certain interval of temperature. We are as a human beings mostly water. Our brain is full of water, however it works in an electrical way. No shortcircuits -So our thoughts are swimming in electrical energy.

    Why does energy become matter and finally life ?
    Energy is obviously programmable. When I think on my brain and it’s abilities and on the role of genes as working plans I have some great arguments for that. So the universe can be a programmed form of reality.
    There is so much we do not really understand and there is so much we never will know. But I’m a supporter of a clear mind. But this is still leading me to mysticism. I think everybody can follow me in this argumentation.
    But we have to discuss all perspectives and clarify our situation.

    With kind regards from Germany
    Walter Keil

    • Tony says:

      Hey, clear mind, I support you all the way. I suppose I’d need to know what you mean by mysticism, though, because that word is given different, sometimes contradictory, meanings.

      Bertrand Russell said that he felt that, if philosophy has shown anything, it’s that the basic moral imperative is, or should, clear thinking. And he was an atheist. His mysticism was not religious. He found beauty and clarity in logic and mathematics, was even a Platonist. And towards the end of his life gained an appreciation of Asian civilization and its philosophy.

      • Walter Keil says:

        Hello Tony,
        excuse my English, I’d like to give some answers.
        I’m not enlightened by practising any spirituality, I am only rather curious.
        Where is the mysticism in a clear minded look at the world ?

        First some information about me.
        I’m now 65 an I was educated in catholic religion during my childhood, but not very much.
        I got my heaviest slap in the face as a child by a priest who disliked me.
        And I always had my inner small talk with Jesus for a long time in my youth.
        I told Jesus that I can not believe against my convictions and somehow the pope is wrong.
        So I always was a believer with a certain distance to the catholic church. For about ten years ( from about my 35. year on) I was a real non religious man, almost an atheist.
        It changed rapidly, when I became a father. What a great experience this was.
        A child from my own flesh and blood. Although I know much about sex and reproduction,
        it was a somehow beyond imagination. And I discovered the field of evolution.
        My opinion on religion:
        I know now that any religion contains true wisdom and some wrong dogmas.
        I heard a lecture on the common of religions and was surprised.
        There is so much they share. The meaning of religion seems to be help and orientation for intelligent life forms in a certain degree of evolution.
        Nothing stays the same.
        By holding on to tradition conflicts due to new ways of life are the consecution. That’s why every religion has a history of becoming and change. But change was probably very slow in ancient times.
        But while the ways of life changed faster and faster during the last
        centuries, tradition became under pressure like never before.
        This phenomenon can be seen on all fields of culture and work.
        And this is why every group is under the two powers of evolution: conservation or change.

        What can science do, to clear up our mind ?
        Science is based on separation. You can’t ask: “what is all this ?” and prepare an experiment for this question. You have to reduce and separate things when preparing an experiment.
        If you be careful by doing this you’ll get an answer. But because we don not know everything every experimental solution has to be interpret and sometimes reinterpret. As long as science
        clarifies our world there was no point found where we came to a final conclusion.
        A great mysticism is always behind there when we found a new explanation.
        Science can help to give us more certainty in our judgments about our existence.
        But science can always be abused by leaving out opposite arguments.

        The mystic reality:
        So you can say with a clear mind: I know what time is ! But when you try to explain it’s getting hard. You can say with a clear mind I know what gravitation is, but when it comes to
        the declaration that physicists give, you have to accept that we somehow do not know.
        Everybody thinks that we know what electrical current is, but looking behind the given explanation you will find out that we do not know it completely.
        We know what skin is. Looking at my skin I can say this is somehow flesh with certain
        qualities. But normally I do not say I see millions of electrons of the atoms of my skin.

        Why is there positive and negative polarity in free energy like light or heat ?
        We do not know ?
        Due to quantum physics the whole universe is an energy ongoing and based on the phenomenon that unlike to electric current that plus and minus of the quanta are rejecting.
        It’s state of the art in science that matter is an organized form of energy.
        The conservation of energy tells us that there is something eternal. But we do not know,
        is there something behind energy. Is energy the real basic form an appears only in four dimensions ? We do not know.
        The theory of probability tells us, that lottery winnings are following laws we can calculate.
        The coincidence has rules ! The height of people underlies a the law named Gaussian distribution. Why ?
        Modern atheists often say evolution is no mystery. It’s a process with no laws or
        aims. It’s only nature, forget about any deeper cause.
        On the other hand you can depend on physical laws, even with quantum physics. Which is based on coincidence, but it works !
        For instance in the law of radioactive decay. If you have 10 radioactive atoms, you can not say which is the next in losing his radioactivity. But after all you will see that 7 of them go conform with the law and about 3 do not. (is about 33%) When 10 000 atoms are observed, only 333 do not go conform with the law. Only 3% fail the statistic rule. (This is an example from Erwin Schrödinger)
        When you declare there are many rules but this has no meaning, you became a true denier maybe a modern atheist.
        On the other hand is the problem with the religious heritage. In this field I see some arguments for fighting against religion, but no argument against God.
        After all I believe reality is a process of energy and there is a programming authority.
        Due to quantum physics the sum of the universe is zero !
        Is there a reality behind the reality ? It is possible, but we have no idea how to find out.

        With kind regards from Germany
        Walter Keil

  92. John says:

    Surely the whole point of a spiritually profound experience is to experience it yourself. What is the point of quoting a phrase from a metaphysical book which someone else has experienced, unless of course you have had a similar experience. Or quoting phrases from a medical text book. This is nothing more than an intellectual exercise.
    A profound spiritual experience is a very powerful [emotion] which is beyond the ordinary mind [ The buddhists call it Big Mind ] and which can[ and will] change your life forever in a very powerful and positive way.But if you want to quote phrases from other peoples spiritual experiences here are two from the greatest physicist of the twentyth century: Albert Einstein:[ The most beautiful thing we can experience
    is the mysterious. It is the source of all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger , who can no longer pause to wonder, and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: His eyes are closed.]
    [There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.]

    • James Love says:

      Mysticism, another ism. Mystical experience – another experience. Is enlightenment an experience?
      Or does it come when we empty the mind of accumulated experiences? If I recognize an experience as mystical, haven’t I in the very recognition of it, moved a step away from it?
      These are questions that me be worthwhile to ask.

  93. Rastas says:

    Blinded by the light. Need I say more!

  94. Rastas says:

    Spot on James, thank you for bringing sense to these subjective hallucinations, that non-atheists call mystical supernatural phenomena.

  95. Rastas says:

    Let me clarify something. When I say hallucination, I don’t mean that in a derogative way, and maybe hallucination is the wrong word to use. What I’m trying to say is that it’s the person’s own experience of stillness which allows the illusion of duality to dissolve into oneness and because that experience is rare, especially for westerners and probably most easterners as well, it seems to be something supernatural, but really, it’s just reality, or “what is” as J.Krishnamurti would call it. Nothing mystical.

  96. James Love says:

    Usually religions claim that God or some kind of deity is the answer to human suffering. What is interesting about Buddhism is that it’s not really a religion and doesn’t deal at all with the concept real or not of ‘God’, When asked questions about metaphysical topics the Buddha remained either silent or stated the question was ‘not tending to edification.”
    He was only concerned with suffering and the end of suffering. If one was an atheist or theist would be considered o.k. or unimportant. What was much more serious was the nature of suffering and ending of suffering.
    To me, although I am in no way a Buddhist, makes sense to me.
    It’s much more vital to ask if self deception exists or not than if there is a God or no. Why? Because the former question has the possibility of transforming our lives – actually, whereas the latter is merely a speculation.

    • Tom Howe says:

      To me “Does God exist?” translates to “Is there meaning?” Which imparts the value to the question. If there’s no creator then there’s no reason for anything to happen, it just does. When the end comes there will be no difference between that and if nothing at all had happened. Nothing left to indicate anything had happened, no universe, no matter, since it never mattered anyway.

      God is a reason. Maybe meaning created matter?

      • James Love says:

        Tom,
        Where I have found most of what you have been sharing to have significance, on your last point,
        I would have to question your position and
        would find myself comfortable with Rastas’ response to it.

        I don’t see exactly how you come to your assertion that:
        “If there’s no creator then there’s no reason for anything to happen, it just does.”
        We have to approach this whole area of discussion very carefully, o.k.?
        May I start by asking if it is necessary for there to be a “meaning” at all? There’s a few aspects to this. The first is that people may give a meaning, by employing thought, to life, or perhaps to anything, in order to make one feel secure, justified, less afraid etc. I’m not asserting that nothing has any meaning, I’m just asking if human beings may invent meaning, in order to avoid the uncomfortable position of perhaps living a life that has no explanation, no over-riding reason or “elan” at all, which terrifies the most of us.
        My personal feeling is that there is absolutely no meaning to existence and at the same time every detail is imbued with tremendous meaning.
        It’s like Carlos Castaneda’s description of Juan Matus’ teaching of a sorcerer’s controlled folly.
        Controlled folly means life is meaningless and a cosmic joke of utter folly on one hand and on the other one must approach it with the warrior’s sense of total impeccability. If one is attached to the comfort and the whole significance of the “meaning” than one is not able to act with impeccability. On the other hand to treat everything as completely meaningless would be a cause one to be completely stupefied, a leaf at the mercy of the wind, and also without the impeccability of one who leads a masterful life in which the quality of the infinite, unknown is alive and vibrant.
        Even what one has just described in this post can be simply a meaning, contrived by thought and though including the concept of the unknown, could very easily be a simple intellectual invention, an escape into very stimulating descriptions and concepts and not really in relationship to anything significant. I’m using the word “significant” rather than meaningful here because I want to communicate something more akin to Krishnamurti’s use of the word in one of his book titles “Education and the Significance of Life”,
        as opposed to, let’s say for example, Victor Frankel’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, which is a lovely book, by all means but it’s title doesn’t impart to us the fragrance – the newness, freshness of the former.
        I’m pointing this out because it may be that we can’t really see the greater inexpressible significance which may be possible as long as we are caught in even the slightest form of escape or invented meaning. If that is so and one hasn’t cleared up this issue of escape and meaning, then it may be that one can never really aware of the beauty of the other.
        As for your statement that “there’s no creator then there’s no reason for anything to happen, it just does. When the end comes there will be no difference between that and if nothing at all had happened, ” you wrote.
        Must things have a reason for anything to happen? Or if I may suggest, can there be wonderful things happening for no reason at all which are spontaneous and beautiful, without any kind of motive? Simple examples that come to mind would not be hard appreciate, such as a Sunset or a Daffodil, the tears welling up in the eyes of of a mother first seeing her new born child, its beauty, it’s wealth of possibilities, the tremendous sense of smallness confronted by the immense beauty of the mountains, oceans, starlit skies etc. which leaves the person awestruck and humbled if one is sensitive enough to look, etc.

        Finally, I usually find myself, (almost always) feeling a bit uncomfortable when people insist that there must be a beginning and ending to the universe.
        Do these people not ever question if there might be something before this so called beginning and perhaps something after the so called ending? Why do they insist on the Universe being finite and starting at some point in time and ending at some point, even expanding, as if there’s some kind of moving wall, stretching outward – and with no possibility of there being any thing, dimension or even mentionable idea of existence outside that edge or wall.
        Could it be that thought is just to bent out of shape or more aptly in shape to deal with things being endless and infinite (thought having it’s beginning and ending, while also being limited to fragments and by it’s nature irreconcilable with the whole or any totality which is timeless and can’t be known?

        I know that last sentence was rather wordy and structured in a complex way, so I apologize and will attempt to keep things simple by stopping my post at this point.
        Sincerely,
        James Love

        • Tom Howe says:

          Thanks James, for your thoughtful and wise reply. You’re delving into nuances I had hoped to avoid. I’m more a swatter at ideas than a caresser of them.

          I agree that we don’t know the nature of time and that there very may well be no beginning or end, as we experience them with our senses. That was just an example, if it does – have one I mean, or two. Like many people I like things to have a point, a reason. Mainly because I don’t have one on my own. From what I can deduce, there’s no reason for me to be here at all. Which is kind of a bummer, since I’m not advanced enough to not care about meaning. I can’t help it, I want things to mean something, even sunsets.

          It’s a childish reaction, as many wise men will tell you. As Ursala LeGuin asked, “What’s the function of a galaxy?” Oh well, I seem driven by feelings, not thoughts. Sure would love it if that galaxy was there for a reason.

          Loved your example of the paradox of the spiritual warrior, that of both infinite meaning and basic chaos. As far as escape goes, I’m all for it. Don’t worry about wordy sentences. I can deal.

          Paradox happens,

          Tom

          • James Love says:

            Tom,
            You are welcome. It’s good to be a swatter
            of ideas, and I don’t think it takes a great seer
            to discern you’ve done plenty of critical self examination. Your very statement about nuances you hoped to avoid itself shows you are aware of the way
            our mind holds on stubbornly to evasions.
            I’ve always liked the analogy of watching a movie and forgetting one is in the theater watching the movie because one is so engrossed in what is going one one has forgotten one’s self completely.
            So if – Life is our movie – and we are so engrossed in Life that we forget we’re watching the movie but rather we are living it, then I think the internal dialogue and self commentary fade rather quickly. That is why it’s important and a part of this issue we are discussing, surprisingly enough to breach the topic of what is boredom, why we become bored, if boredom is something negative and to escape from or if there is a kind of usefulness that going through our boredom rather than escaping from it can provide, both as a springboard for much deeper understanding and also a reminder or symptom of our actual mental state.
            I remember being impressed with Chogyam Trungpa’s use of the idea of “cool boredom” when I first heard it and it has made a lot of sense. Still if one gets back to really living the movie of one’s life, everything quickly becomes academic. no? Then there aren’t any paradoxes because one simply doesn’t have the time for them!

  97. John says:

    To quote another spiritual experience [or realization which I can relate to] from a spiritually highly evolved Tibetan Master : [ Two people have been living in you all your life. One is the the "EGO" garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating: The other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to. You have uncovered in yourself your own wise guide] Sogyal Rinpoche : Author of [ The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying]

    • Rastas says:

      I’ll say it again and again, the amygdala is the cause of suffering, because the amygdala’s stored fear beliefs about life are what create the ego and defensiveness. Until one changes the amygdala’s subconscious fear belief system, there will always be suffering. Meditation will never change this, even the Dalai Lama says that he’s still haunted by his inner “demons”, unless he keeps up his meditation process, but that is not freedom, that is slavery to meditation. While one has to, should do or needs to, there is slavery to fear. If you want the answer to the riddle please feel free to email me at namyar777@hotmail.com The answer to this age old conundrum is actually quite simple.

  98. John says:

    If we are within the ONE [macrocosm] Then the ONE is within us [microcosm] Then we [ are] the ONE. End of story.

    • Shirley says:

      Hi Tony,
      Day by day, as I follow this discussion, I am blown away by the thoughts of others like yourself. It is so good to know that there are many people out there thinking and questioning things we have been taught to believe since infancy, but with which our inner, spiritual beings are deeply uncomfortable.
      As a child I could never reconcile the God of the Old Testament as a merciful creative being when he regularly destroyed his people by fire, flood, famine and pestilence for what was often minor indiscretions. Having been raised by fundamentalists, I was given a very hard time for disbelieving some of the stories I read in the Bible.
      However, that said, it was really my grandfather who taught me to read from the same bible when he discovered that I was reading words from his daily newspaper. “They’re just stories, Shirl,” he would say.” The leaders of those people controlled them by fear and convinced them to obey and believe their tales. They were just like politicians making promises they couldn’t keep ”
      Had it not been for my grandfather enrolling me at the town’s Carnegie Library, as soon as I was old enough, thereby ensuring that I had as wide a choice of material as possible at the time, I would have had quite a bleak life as I was not allowed to go to friends’ birthday parties let alone have such a celebration myself and rarely had friends to visit or stay over unless their parents were of the same religion as the dominating aunt who ruled over her parents’ household.
      I am so grateful to my grandfather for encouraging me to read and to keep an open mind.
      I guess the point I am trying to make is that all children are born with talents. If parents identify and encourage them, not just their families and countries but the whole world will benefit.
      Some religions, whether they are imposed by families or national decree can be stultifying. Many creative people rise above this and succeed anyway. On the other hand we must not ignore the wonderful music and architecture that arise from mankind’s persuit of “GOD.”
      Aroha, arohanui, Shirley

      • Walter Keil says:

        I always wonder,
        that there is so much discussion on belief without an argument based on physics. In former times I always thought that atheists are sceptical.

        But I see they only are sceptics against religious tradition. They are mostly convinced that it is enough to learn how unreliable are the basics of religion. And I always hear the argument, that there is a great play for might behind religion. It’s only a half truth, because every human group is organizing themselves in building structures of work and might. There is possibly no society without abuse and controlling of might.
        And now we see that societies are transforming faster and faster. Maybe the end of the capitalistic structure is near.
        I think, extreme egos will always have a problem in every group and that is no special religious phenomenon.
        Don’t change the role of a believer simply to a non believer.
        I think that would be tragic. Be a sceptical to non believers too.

        I believe freethinkers are some kind of blind.
        From where did they get their mind?
        We became an individual by learning to communicate and then to adopt abilities and culture of our group. For instance: to clarify the situation of life in general is leading always to the conclusion that our individual habits and thoughts which are based on individual a n d common experiences and knowledge. And if you are a person who likes to integrate themselves in groups your thinking is probably with the majority. And if you are more a loner you will maybe develop more strange thinking. But some people want to be part of an extreme thinking group. This is sometimes simply based on a better personal acceptance.
        As a non smoking young man I was drinking beer and wine in my youth, what makes me some problems with the hippie group in my hometown, preferring joints.

        Now we have a hundred years of extreme physical findings, but because of their absolute strangeness we leave it to some experts in their laboratories.
        I say, find out if you are a being that is always under construction in every second of your life (cell proliferation). Find out what is all about self-organization. Find out what is about eternity of energy. Find out that we do not know why is there anything?
        Find out what is about the mental sphere.
        Find out you can not trust anybody who gives you the feeling of final truth.
        I think a lot of people will come to conclusions similar to mine, there is
        a mental sphere in the universe. This sphere is producing matter, genes and living beings. Do genes have a mental meaning? What is information?
        Find out what order and information is in relation to physical entropy.

        You should always know that when you are looking at something, you can only see the electromagnetic waves of a certain wave length rejected be electrons, which are the mantle of atoms. If there’s no light there is nothing to see. Your brain is working with electromagnetic waves!
        And even, in my opinion, the question of love is touched by physics.
        I think love is the force of mental togetherness and absolute necessary to overwhelm
        obstacles on our way in to future. In my opinion love is the mental counterpart to gravity.

        To learn from physics is obviously a slow process of spreading knowledge in a slowly growing community of knowing. It’s simple to understand, that individual intelligence is always depending on group intelligence.
        Finally, I think, I am far from being an arrogant man. But I am enthusiastic in bringing in physical knowledge into philosophical and religious discussion.

        With kind regards from Germany

        Walter Keil

      • James Love says:

        Shirley,
        That was a most wonderful post. There’s no child who would not be most fortunate to have you as a parent, no parent that should not be thrilled to have a child
        grow up to be like you!
        Aroha, arohani (what does that mean?) and all wonderful things to you, James

        • Shirley says:

          James,
          Not that I deserve them, but your kind words meant a lot to me. Thank you so much.
          This is a wonderful site to visit and exchange thoughts with like minded people and get jolted now and then by other views we have not considered.There is so much in some of the postings that I have to re read them several times.
          The Maori (indigenous people of New Zealand) use aroha to express love but not in the romantic sense.It implies compassion and empathy.In my use of the word aroha aroha nui it meant,” I strongly empathise with you.”
          It is hard to explain but when a large crowd of people gather as they do here for Opera in the Park, and Symphony in the Park,every one has their picnic baskets and many have a bottle or so of wine and maybe a box of cherries or apricots.The amazing thing is that they don’t just keep their goodies to themselves, they share with others around them.The crowd often numbers 250,000 people and when the music starts there’s absolute hush.This beautiful music floats out all over the grounds and at the end of the concert the orchestra plays the 1812 Overture complete with cannon provided by the Navy. The children of all ages love it!
          After the end people pick up their rugs, baskets and amazingly most of their rubbish too and since vehicle traffic has been re routed for the evening the full width of the road and footpaths is crowded with folk in such a happy mood that you can actually feel it. That is Aroha..Although there is a very unobtrusive police presence, in twenty years not a single person has been arrested for drunkenness or bad behaviour.The lovely thing about it is that the feeling stays with you for days afterwards.
          Our family had a beautiful experience of this too at my husband’s funeral.We had all admitted to feeling utterly wiped out with all the grief and visitors coming and going and wondered how on earth we were going to get through the ordeal.
          Our custom is to greet folk after the service and the family were seated with me in the front of the chapel when suddenly,I felt as if I had been
          propelled out of my seat so I walked back to the entrance followed by my mystified children and we stood at the entrance as folk started to arrive. In groups they put their arms around us and our tears mingled with theirs.After a few people had hugged us I commented that I felt energy coming into me and both children felt it too.By the time almost 300 folk had passed through we were feeling strong and able to cope .
          Now I can tell you that that energy had come in a loving way from all the folk there who had known and loved Walter and that Aroha in its truest and most beautiful form sustained us throughout the ordeal.
          Although baptised a Methodist, Walter did not believe in the redemption by blood, of Christian religion, so as he was a Justice of the Peace we had a J.P. take his service and the readings chosen by Walter were read by our daughter Robyn and me and a beautiful Eulogy was given by our son David. As I took the final reading I realised that it was exactly 55 years to the day and minute since we exchanged our wedding vows.
          The beautiful songs that Wal. had chosen were able to be sung and the sound filled the chapel.Walter was also a very accomplished organist and clarinet player and his signature tune was Stranger on the Shore so we had decided that he should be carried out to that tune. So many folk commented on how they used to love hearing him play it.
          At the lunch which we provided as folk had come from far and some had left their homes in the South Island at 5a.m.to fly up to Auckland, many people commented that although they were very sad at the loss of Wal. they felt that he would have been so very happy with his farewell.I do believe that his spirit felt the Aroha as we did and that it was enhanced by the music.
          Often when I think of loved relatives and friends who are no longer on the planet, it seems as if I can still feel their love and I would like to think that they can feel mine for them.

        • James Love says:

          Shirley,
          Your description was wonderful. I haven’t read anything so lovely
          in a while! Your late husband must have been an extrordinary man to have 300 people pay their respects in such a wonderful manner.
          So, for all the strangers on all the shores – to you we say
          Aroha! and thank you.
          Sincerely,
          James

  99. JGL53 says:

    What John said.

  100. Rastas says:

    Here’s the problem we have as human beings. About twenty years ago, Dr Joseph LaDoux at NYU Neural Research Centre, found the fear centre of the brain, the Amygdala.

    Before that, people didn’t understand where their irrational fears were coming from and unscrupulous leaders at the time convinced them that they did know where the fears were coming from, even though they didn’t really have a clue, they told these vulnerable people that the fears and pain were because they were possessed by demons and all the other BS that went along with their disgusting stories.

    They told them that the only way they could rid themselves of these demons was to obey the words they had written in books called bibles, torahs and korans and what evers. Nothing has changed, now we have politicians telling us that the world is in danger of terrorists and global warming and whatever other apocalypse they can think up.

    These are the same people who have created wars though their greed and vanity by manipulating the masses who are as dumb as the sheep they emulate. I wish everyone would just chill out and leave us all alone. Go and fight your religious wars in your own houses, I’ll even pay for you all to blow yourselves to smithereens.

    How can humans stoop so low as to fill young children with fear. As the Jesuits so rightly say, “Give me the child until 7, and I’ll give you the adult”, these people know exactly what they are doing, or do they, maybe they are only passing on the same BS they were led to believe as well.

    Gods, devils, heaven, hell, angels, eternity, holy trinities, give us all a break, this is 2010 not 1010. All the Jesuses of history would be disgusted by the way their words have been distorted by evil power hungry people.

    • Walter Keil says:

      Dear Rastas,
      you are right and wrong in one.
      When you think it’s possible to fight against God with arguments that also can be used against atheistic movements so you can not convince nobody. Between the lines you tell us, an atheistic point of view
      is without a doubt simply the right one. And your writing is complete free of humility. Do you know, that communists shaped their youth with brainwashing in a very complete way?
      I suppose you are a bright. You are not a true evolutionist and a sceptic man. No scepticism against men in general. Only against believers.
      There is the weak point of you arguments.
      In my believe the brights are a rather sad part of intelligence.
      They have no clear mind.
      The way they are swimming on a lake of arguments, while being in a sea of mysticism is remarkable. We do not know how the brain basically works. And we do not know why we are able to learn.
      The results of science in this field are just a beginning. What is emotion ?
      Why do we follow a sexual orientation ?
      Our body is formed by the evolution including the brain.
      And a system of usable software, which has a great resemblance to a operating system for computers is also a gift of evolution.
      Why does a damaged brain restore abilities with other parts of the brain ?
      It’s true that a child will be formed by the ideas of it’s surrounding. But it also will be formed in any surrounding. Where is the perfect social environment ?
      Does evolution has no special meaning ?
      Let me tell you I also do not believe to a great deal of religious tradition, but it is an heritage that had a value once. We have to gain evolutionary understanding in history, and especially in religious tradition. I suppose we know about 10% of the whole truth about the universe. This is no base for thinking to be bright and declare the believers are idiots.
      In my opinion the whole universe is controlled field of energy. And every mental or spiritual activity lies especially deep in this sphere.
      Science has not clarified how our brain encodes and decodes information on the electrical and chemical platform.
      We can ask; Is there an code for the whole universe for data processing on the sphere of energy ? There is no answer.
      Hoimar von Ditfurth said: We are only the neandertal men of tomorrow.

      With kind regards from Germany
      Walter Keil

      PS. Religious Movements of today have to learn that a clear mind can not follow only enthusiastic emotions and tradition without a rational counterpart. Otherwise we have to stop mental evolution.

  101. Syd Shaw says:

    The concept that the Amygadala confronts is the same as the concept that L Ron Hubbard called THE REACTIVE MIND 50 years ago in his book DIANETICS. It doesn’t work unless you have an unconscious REACTIVE MIND I didn’t. Neither do a lot of other people.
    Was LaDoux a dis-enchanted SCIENTOLOGIST or an ambitious researcher trying to railroad a well-worn path to riches?

    UP THE EVOLUTION

  102. Rastas says:

    Syd,
    You must be the only person not only in the world today, but in the whole of history who doesn’t have a subconscious/unconscious reactive mind, well done old chap.

  103. Syd Shaw says:

    It was back in 1978 when I thought I’d better check out Scientology. Went in and paid for my auditing. The junior auditor couldn’t find anything to audit so reschudeled me and I went back for a second go at the next level of auditing at a greatly increased level and price. Nothing. Affter a few weeks of this increasingly expensive process I just said, “Its obvious you guys can’t find anything.’ The very senior chief auditor I was then dealing with then told me I must be so evil I was off the scale. That was enough for me.

  104. John says:

    Where did[ original consciousness ] come from?

    • Rastas says:

      John, What a great question, but does it really matter where the original consciousness came from. For me the answer comes when my mind is perfectly still, no judgement, no interpretation. It’s not an answer in words, it’s an answer through knowing, a much higher state of consciousness then intellectualizing. In that stillness is the knowing of what consciousness is, because in that non-dual, still state, one IS consciousness. The only problem is that the amygdala tricks us away from the non-dual state of mind and back into fear and thus duality again. TheReleaseEffect.com deals with this problem.

  105. Syd Shaw says:

    3. Dyslexia looks to me like part of a process of human consciousness evolving by re-integrating with the cosmic consciousness from which it has originally sprung. Dyslexia’s most salient feature is high intelligence and a tendency to a holistic form of consciousness labeled by testers as kinesthetic. It strikes me that the intermediate communication, reading and writing skills by which ‘knowledge’ is ‘taught’ and which have dominated my life have placed me perfectly to bridge evolution between the fractured consciousness of modern thought and education, and the holistic consciousness arising in very highly evolved people. In my own case this evolution of human consciousness appeared in my early schooling as the ability to access the omnipotent PURE CONSCIOUSNESS from which all consciousness arises, and in my disposition to process analysis. Richard Branson’s dyslexia has made him very rich BECAUSE he didn’t get immersed in the pedantic nuts and bolts of the INCORRECT MACHINATIONS of LEARNING that we call EDUCATION. What we call EDUCATION is, in fact, nothing but the CONDITIONING which we call REALITY and often recognize as PREJUDICE – it is CERTAINLY NOT TRUTH – see POPPER and CONSCIOUSNESS . Personally, I have the ability to go to the cosmic source for my answers and have noticed that when I have become conscious of a physical defect it has quickly been corrected without further intervention on the physical level.
    The whole dyslexia and autistic diagnoses are, in intentioneering terms, caused by too fast a pace of evolution for the brain to respond to the development that is evolving in it. As the mind becomes holistic the ELECTRO-MAGNETIC neurons of the brain receiving the desired knowledge directly from the COSMIC SOURCE, begin to cluster to accommodate the new holistic way of processing that is EVOLVING the ICON we thinj of as a human being. In the case of DYSLEXIA, reading and writing become redundant, and the brain begins to re-configure for the new COSMIC awareness. The same thing happens in the case of AUTISM, but the re-configuration for the even-more holistic awareness of autistic kids cuts them off from ALL traditional communication mechanisms. While AUTISTIC kids and people who have experienced strokes which have DISENGAGED their brains are unable to communicate REASONABLY, they also become compulsive artists. Obviously, many people are now entering into unitive consciousness as an evolution of the species CROMAGNON. My own relatively ponderous development over the last 67 years has put me beyond the great mass of people intellectually. This has been most fortuitous in that my highly developed REASONING and communication skills, together with extraordinary developmental EXPERIENCES, have placed me ideally to be a CATALYST between the old species and the new. AVATARS from history – people like Jesus and Krisna arrived on planet earth FULLY INTEGRATED with our COSMIC source of CONSCIOUSNESS. Could it be that that their perfected consciousness made the process of relating to DISINTEGRATED human beings too perfect for the pedantic human beings to grasp? My own development puts me in the middle of the spectrum over which this development is occurring. I think its actually the process of DEVELOPING from a human being to a COSMIC BEING which is the EVOLUTIONARY CATALYST which completes the process.

    • Syd Shaw says:

      Rastas

      Can’t you see the process I am talking about arising in your concept of the amygadalia? The effects you regard as being the product of the amygadalia are the same effects that L Ron Hubbard regarded as the product of the REACTIVE MIND. To me this is the pocess by which a concept in consciousness is adopted by what we call matter. Where SCIENTOLOGY had a concept Ron L called the REACTIVE MIND, SCIENCE has looked for, and found, a gland to ascribe this to and I don’t have the effects. Does that mean I don’t have an amygadalia? As the ancient Hindus proclaimed 5,000 years ago, the ultimate REALIZATION is that matter is illusion. Get it? Thats what we recognize in INTENTIONEERIING as EVOLVING

      • Rastas says:

        Denial, projection, defensiveness, compensation, ego, these are all products of fear. Have a really good look at yourself Syd and honestly tell me that you don’t have any of these things going on.
        The problem is that when one is in denial, they will also deny that they are in denial.
        Even the Dalai Lama admits that he has this stuff going on and that he has to work hard to stay on top of it. So it looks like we’ve found the ultimate guru, the ultimate human being in history, ladies and gentleman, it’s Syd Shaw, the only man that has ever existed without any subconscious fear triggers.
        Scientologists wouldn’t last a day in the real world without their support network, they haven’t “cleared” the amygdala’s fear beliefs at all, they’ve just learned to cope with it, by attending constant gatherings, auditing and unpaid “slave labor” to pay off their debts for courses that keep promising them nirvana but never deliver. Real inner balance is evident when one has peace of mind without rituals, gurus, meditations, repetitious prayers, clearing sessions, dogma and all the denial that goes with it.

      • Shirley says:

        Hi Syd,
        Please keep us posted about your ” amygadalia. ” ( It sounds like an exotic flower to me and does not appear in my dictionary.)
        The rest of us make do with an amygdala and fortunately for us evolution has not yet consigned it to the status of the vermiform appendix.
        In your sweeping statements regarding dyslexia, a little more reading would not go amiss. As for your opinions on modern education, we are obviously not in the same country if even on the same planet.

        Kind regards, Shirley

        Would it be a rude question to ask if you proof read your work?
        ?

    • John says:

      From the Cosmic source we came and to the Cosmic source we return

      • Walter Keil says:

        Maybe that’s not all. If energy and matter is based finally on plus and minus, the whole universe can vanish in a moment. Because the sum of plus and minus is zero. For me the universe is a constructed reality.

  106. Syd Shaw says:

    Yeah John that’s dead right. Probably the most exciting thing I discovered was that the Cosmic Mind which has conceived this awe-inspiring reality engaged a guy called Moses in a dialogue 3200 years ago in which the Cosmic Source asked Moses to go visit Egypt and ask the king to “Set my people free.” Moses didn’t argue about the formidably dangerous mission he’d been asked to perform. He asked the burning bush which was talking to him, “Who shall I say sent me?” The burning bush said, ” YHWH.” Its amazing that no-one since picked up on the fact that YHWH was the language that Moses spoke – Ancient Aramaic- in which yhww was the causitive form of the verb hwh. In Ancient Aramaic hwh is the verb “to become’ and its causative form is “becoming.” Of course the concept of EVOLVING only came to us courtesy of Charles Darwin in 1859 or Moses would have recognized that the burning bush would have said its name was EVOLVING. Its all totally delicious, isn’t it?

    • Walter Keil says:

      Dear Syd Shaw,
      I believe in God, but I don’t really rely on the religious heritage.
      I believe that a growing intelligence of growing communities and their individuals is leading into the good and bad question. Thats why moral standards arise. I cannot see that God is not responsible for all the people and all their believes. God is the creator of the universe. So we have to widen our look on believes and mental activities and see that there is a global movement to a global society and a global religion.
      Have you heard from Teilhard de Chardin ?

      I have some problems when I read: “God spoke…” or “Moses spoke …”
      because there was no witness around. And it all was written down many, many years later. And the writers were part of a deep believing community. Did they think that more than 2000 years later we build our judgment on the words they used ? Did Moses have a secretary ?
      Oral overdelivery is the only fundament. At that time storytellers were the only form of art in togue. I have my founded doubts that the religious heritage is reliable. I think the first form of art in tongue did help to form religious overdelivery.
      Beside this, what a poor level of knowledge and intelligence did all the communities have at that time ! But it’s true the master-builders of temples and pyramids must have been extraordinary people.
      This leads us to the question if the angels and Gods in many cultures may have the real background of cosmic travellers.
      I do not tell: that’s the way it was, but on the other hand there is a possibility for that. Not only because of Buzz Aldrin and Dr.E. Mitchell.

      With kind regards from Germany
      Walter Keil

  107. Syd Shaw says:

    A new species of humans has evolved at the top of the
    food chain. People live their lives by the traditions their
    parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and university
    professors condition them with. By the last half of the 20th
    century, data processing and the explosion it gave us in
    magnification, including telescopes, electron microscopes,
    X-rays, ultra-sound, magnetic resonance, and infra-red
    scans, and the digital cameras that photograph them at
    10,000 frames a second, was revealing that everything
    our parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and university
    professors held to be true, were just the wrong conclusions
    they had drawn from the relatively impoverished
    intellectual environment they had been nurtured in.
    The same “me first” lapse of integrity that had enticed
    Eve to lead Adam out of Eden, had enticed Steven Hawking
    and then Richard Dawkins to vigorously champion bogus
    scientific HYPOTHESES by which the self-justifying
    rationales of their gigantic egos had corrupted science to
    keep us all out of Eden. Hawking’s explanation that
    everything had proceeded from a SINGULARITY he called THE
    BIG BANG is the most UNSCIENTIFIC HYPOTHESES ever floated.
    A SINGULARITY is a scientific term which describes anything
    that is incapable of being weighed, measured or replicated
    – that is, it is so unique it is beyond the parameters of
    science. A SINGULARITY, by definition, must be ignored by
    science because there is nothing to be weighed, measured or
    replicated about a SINGULARITY. Hawking and his peers
    present their outrageous speculations as if they were
    facts.
    People who are diagnosed autistic have a tendency to be
    incredibly dexterous mathematically. They are also
    inherently disposed to be rigid, mechanical, and
    emotionally dissociated. They display what autism’s
    discoverer, Leo Kanner, described as “an anxiously
    obsessive desire for the preservation of sameness.” They
    tend to interpret information in a hyper-literal way, using
    “a kind of language which does not seem intended to serve
    interpersonal communication” – that is, they tend to think
    and express themselves mathematically. Like many physicists
    Hawking is, in fact, autistic and driven to express himself
    Mathematically. It is a symptom of his illness that he
    developed a HYPOTHESES that is utterly devoid of ANY
    scientific basis and which has reduced physics to an
    unintelligible fairy tale. This Emperor clearly has no
    clothes.
    Meanwhile, DAWKINS’ best attempt to explain the first
    cell is that it had simply mutated in a primordial puddle,
    would have been a gorgeous example of the INTELLIGENT
    DESIGN he’s spent 10 years raving against – if only it had
    proceeded from even a modicum of science. Real molecular
    biologist scientists have now been LOOKING for decades
    through electron microscopes at the 110 TRILLION
    microscopic cells which have congealed to form the average
    adult human being. For decades we’ve been LOOKING at the
    MILLIONS of synchronized, independent moving parts within
    even the simplest of cells, performing the MILLIONS of
    ESSENTIAL operations per second required to sustain the
    life of every single cell. THOUGH WE ARE NOW ABLE TO SEE
    WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR CELLS, WE ARE UNABLE TO EVEN DREAM
    OF REPLICATING THEM!! OBVIOUSLY, THE BIOLOGISTS PROPOSAL
    THAT THE FIRST CELL HAD ARISEN BY RANDOM MUTATION, BY
    ACCIDENT, WAS LAUGHABLE. TALK ABOUT CLUTCHING AT STRAWS!!!
    Its really EMBARASSING us to hear DAWKINS pontificating
    that all this BRILLIANT INTELLIGENCE which underpins ALL
    life, mutated from nothing in a murky primordial puddle
    that just happened to contain all the necessary ingredients
    in the right mixture to assemble itself into this awe-
    inspiring entity called a cell. In the end it was the
    explosion of digital technology that had exposed the
    precision of molecular biology and SHOWED us how our
    neurons – our brains – are developed by whatever we pay
    attention to. Constantly loving God INTEGRATES us with God
    and evolves us into gods. The absolute truth of The First
    Commandment – “thou shalt have no other God before Me” – is
    in complete accord with the realizable possibilities of our
    molecular biology. It was the precise ENGINEERING of
    molecular biology that SHOWED us that we become what we
    think about – in the case at hand, the children of God.
    It took the collapse of the economic rationales we call
    the economy before we had no choice but to question the
    TRADITIONS of capitalism and the education that that had
    CONDITIONED us all to, TO SHOWN US WE WERE ALL JUST THE
    PRODUCT OF IGNORANCE. We were ALL WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING!
    And yet we are STILL TEACHING kids the same NONSENSE that
    our teachers taught us for 20 years before our children
    were even born. Why? Because the TEACHING PROFESSION
    insists on teaching the same stuff BECAUSE doing so
    provides the teaching profession with a comfort zone in
    good jobs with higher than average wages for short, 30-
    hour weeks and 12 weeks holidays a year. Because teachers
    spent 20 years learning that the nonsense that we now KNOW
    is NONSENSE, the economic rationales by which we still
    live, mean that our kids HAVE TO WASTE 20 years being BORED
    by ‘LEARNING’ the NONSENSE that teachers are STILL earning
    a living from.
    Just about everything in our lives today is based on the
    same kind of RATIONALES that teachers rely on. It’s based
    on the self-service of treacherous liars like HAWKING and
    DAWKINS. EVOLVING gives the people who are ready for
    it, a new fulcrum for how they can EVOLVE. HUMANIMALS ask
    themselves, “How do I get what I want out of life?”
    EVOLVERS learn that they get everything they want from life
    by always asking of themselves, “How do I give my best to
    life?” EVOLVERS have learned how to prosper in happiness by
    living to give, rather than taking. Get ahead of the
    INSANITY which is the cause of global warming, broken
    marriages, delinquent parenting, dissatisfaction,
    unhappiness, boredom, depression, old age, sickness, and
    death. No matter how young or how old you are, you can
    leapfrog straight in to the privileged work-conditions that
    teachers enjoy, as you develop your own eternal life by
    rising to the real challenge of life. The alternative
    parallel economy which is EVOLVING, has found a way to
    reward people who live by always rising to the challenge
    of contributing to EVOLVING whatever they have to give to
    LIFE. Instead of just being ‘normal’ and playing everybody
    else’s insane game of taking whatever you can, I invite you
    to live the exploration of the science which evolves life
    forever young together as you master the 44 realizations
    that makes that kind of difference a REALIZABLE REALITY.
    EVOLVING is the timely breakthrough in human
    consciousness which THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS has been
    striving to EVOLVE on planet earth throughout known
    history. This introduction summarizes the scientific
    realizations which carried motivational engineer Ulysses
    Chi’s 64 year exploration of THE CONTINUING EVOLUTION OF
    HUMAN BEINGS to the state of consciousness that the Hebrews
    were calling ANOINTING 3,000 years ago.
    In it, Chi shares his 64 year odyssey through the unfolding of the higher states of consciousness which he developed until he attained the state that the Hebrews still call ANOINTIMG, and still fail to attain to. This zenith of the process that actually is the goal of what science calls EVOLUTION, is only accessible by those who have EVOLVED to the state of consciousness which yearns for the committed lifelong enthusiastic sexual INTEGRATION with a member of the opposite sex in the social compact we call marriage. The consciousness of human beings who have not evolved this enthusiastic level of consciousness has simply not EVOLVED sufficiently on THE HIERARCHY OF THE CONTINUING EVOLUTION OF HUMAN BEINGS, to have EVOLVED the higher states of awareness which makes the unfolding of states of consciousness beyond this interesting, let alone of the utmost significance.

  108. Syd Shaw says:

    Rastas, the ego is the flaw you have to get rid of. That’s why Islam means SUBMISSION. Its because they understand this that many MUSLIMS are so intensely ENTHUSIASTIC about ALLAH. Not that I’m spruiking for ISLAM – you’ll find the same teaching in the Scriptures of all 6 great religions in the world as well as people who have INTEGRATED with our COSMIC SOURCE just relying on the TRADITIONS of their own heritage. I have to admit that I LOVE all the scriptures of all 6 great world religions. I see them as the same voice speaking in different times and cultures.
    I diverse. The issue at hand is how to get rid of the ego. I don’t know that there’s a formula for it. I know in my case, it was October 1974 and I had been devoted to the most beautiful girl I had ever seen for 6 years and had made her my wife in 1962 and she had presented me with the most delightful little girl and we were living in the most spectaculor waterfront penthouse in the world with 300 degree views over SYDNEY harbour and I was ridiculously rich AND I WAS DESPERATELY UNHAPPY.
    Not expecting any answer as I brooded in my golden armchair I asked the universe, “What am I doing wrong?” Wham. like Paul being tossed off his horse on the Damascus Road the Universe embraced me. Its answer was not to tell me what I was doing wrong, but to SHOW me what I needed to do RIGHT. Straight away a second stream of consciousness erupted in me worshipping God. Ever since I live with, “My dear Lord , My dear Lord, My dear Lord” accompanying the normal stream of consciousness that I have always had and is what I believe is the opinion of my ego. Anyway this welcome visitor has been with me all day every day from I come into consciousness until I fall asleep.. So I would say I still have an ego but it just doesn’t count any more. I LIVE TO SERVE GOD. Nothing else matters. Subsequently, in 1990 I encountered a grat guy who was a disciple of Shri Mataji and he told me that Shri Mataji taught this as THE WITNESS STATE.
    Hope this helps you in your own quest.

    • Rastas says:

      It’s not the ego that one has to get rid of, that is only a symptom of their subconscious fear, it’s the fear itself that needs to go. Without this insidious fear emanating from the amygdala, we would not have religions in the first place, as religions prey and play on people’s fears, only there word for them is demons.

  109. Caroline Hitch says:

    Your pontifications only derive from an androcentric world view….

  110. Tom Howe says:

    Guess capital letters must be HIGHLY evolved. What is it about ALL CAPS that makes one come across as a KOOKBALL or wide-eyed ENTHUSIAST?

  111. Syd Shaw says:

    Tom, we all spot KOOKBALLS right away as they have an inferiority complex which makes the NEED to be OFFENSIVE irresistible for them. In EVOLVING we call them HUMANIMALS and SECURELY identify them by the absence of the EVOLVER gene in their DNA. This is actually the essential tool of our time as we ABSOLUTELY MUST ensure that this kind of adolescent thinking is eliminated from THE CONTINUING EVOLUTION OF HUMAN BEINGS. By comparison, HIGHLY EVOLVED EVOLVERS, who bear the EVOLVER GENE recognize the use of UPPER CASE to highlight new concepts which are beyond the low level of consciousness in which the 50% of human beings who remain HUMANILMALS are actually DEVOLVING.

    • Tom Howe says:

      Well Syd, I’m a kookball, that’s for sure. And I do have an inferiority comples, which I notice you haven’t.

      Strikes me you’re just doing more of the same old “us good, them bad” routine. Just once I would like to meet an espouser of that who puts himself in the “them” category. Or else talks about how great “they” are.

      I’m sorry your need to be offensive is so irresistible. One thing that migh help is a more modest case, that way you wouldn’t seem to be shouting mad-eyed from a soapbox in the square.

      “Say yes.”
      ~ Katrina Kern

  112. Syd Shaw says:

    Walter, we have only now identified the EVOLVER GENE. You and I can look at the written word from 5,000 years of history and use the internet to discuss it. That’s a huge leap in evolution. People hadn’t even conceived evolving before the BEAGLE set sail with Darwin in 1832. Yet the written word from 5,000 years ago remains accessiblr to us now. Someone actualy first wrote down the record of Moses being ENLIGHTENED around 500 years after Moses’ death. In the mean time the story was passed down verbally. It was another 700 years before a PROPHET called John wrote, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” That didn’t make any sense to anybody until the evolution of linguistics in the 1980s. That was when Ulysses Chi REALIZED that the whole business of being human relies entirely on LANGUAGE. Right throughout this whole brief spoken history God appears to have relied on announcing Himself through PROPHETS. They were the guys who wrote what we call Scripture in every culture on the planet. Moses was one of them and he started the procession of 65 PROPHETS who authored the Hebrew Bible. It was 1900 years from Moses before God heard the prayers of a man called MOHAMMED and sent the Archangel Gabriel to reveal to him the same story he had given the offspring of Abraham and Sarah to the offspring of Abraham and Hagar in the language of the Arabs. The mission of a prophet is “but to bear witness.” Ulysses Chi is the prophet sent by God in 2010. His mission is to express the whole history of man in the language and metaphors of the science by which people now live and establish HEAVEN ON EARTH at what is THE END OF TIME.

  113. Syd Shaw says:

    Does anyone know of a neuro-surgeon who can fix me up with an amygdala to make me fearful enough to believe in STEVEN HAWKING and RICHARD DAWKINS? None of my colleagues have an amygdalia they are confident can do this for me.

    • James Love says:

      I’m not too fond of Stephen Hawking (or what he is hawking). Anyone who thinks that there is a beginning to the universe and that it started with a big bang has to have a screw loose! I fail to be convinced that there could be nothing prior to that. It may be my idiotic opinion but nothing seems more pedestrian to me than to lay down a premise of the universe based on the existence of time beginning and then base everything upon such a flimsy assumption. Unless of course, one is simply jesting.
      JL

  114. Walter Keil says:

    There is some logic in your words, but I can’t bear the situation that God should not able to speak to all living beings. Only to some prophets …
    So I have my doubts to all that religious overdelivery. I do not discriminate it, I say be careful with that.
    And for me every belief or non belief is Gods own work.
    Because he/she/it is the one who separates plus and minus from the oneness and created space and time.
    Therefore I believe that science is leading finally to a chain of arguments that can unite all religions.
    The discovering of evolution is the one thing.
    (beside this: I never heard of an evolving gene – but in this field there is a lot to learn and discuss).
    All is based on communication, that is true. Communication creates a sphere of information outside the brains. To be connected to this system of information (books/movies/music/etc.) means to become a more developed person. Our brain is also working with language, besides other impressions.
    And: Globalisaton will not leave out any field of human thinking and activity. Climate change can be very dangerous in the future and I suppose it will unite all mankind, because otherwise our time is over.

    With kind regards from Germany
    Walter Keil

    • James Love says:

      Walter,
      I find most of what you say to be genuine and coming from a very aware frame of mind. However your statement

      “Communication creates a sphere of information outside the brains. To be connected to this system of information (books/movies/music/etc.) means to become a more developed person. Our brain is also working with language, besides other impressions.”, compels me to ask you if information can ever solve our problems and whether a so called “developed person” can ever be free, and what is “developed, or developing”.
      I think that it’s quite tricky, the sense of “becoming” for human beings and there is a very long weight of pressure and conditioning of thousands of years telling us we have to become something greater in the future. I think we have to question that tendency very rigorously as it can be an impediment to freedom and can strengthen the continuity of the developing self as ‘time’.
      JL

      • Walter Keil says:

        Hello James,
        thank you for your kind words.
        First I have a little problem to understand what you mean. My English is not the best, but maybe you could’nt say it clearer. (?)
        In my opinion every living being is always learning. To learn and to obtain new possibilities is a process of enrichment. First for the individual, than for the group and then as a new basis for the next generation.
        Science is showing us that even bacteria are learning.
        Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617131400.htm

        Life on earth is system of change and adaptation and has it’s cause in the changing conditions on the planet. The influence of the masses of living beings changed the planet also, not only the normal processes of unstable material conditions. (see “The oxygen revolution” – Link: http://hoopermuseum.earthsci.carleton.ca//stromatolites/OXYGEN.htm)
        For me the entire evolution is a process of unfolding. I see a destination, but it’s hard to describe. Maybe the earth will become as a perfect living system. I think like T. de Chardin that mankind will be the brain and the keeper of the planet.
        To explain what I think about a more developed person:
        Men is longing for evolution, for development. Everyone is thinking on little advancements.
        And every little thing that a man can learn brings him forward, even without recognizing that.
        So an older men is more developed than a younger one with the same talents. Life is a gaining process – enrichment. It’s true, that this can lead into dead end streets. But on the other hand mistakes are a normal case in the school of life.
        Being a part of group with more knowledge and experience you can easily benefit from it. I say this without a special meaning to spirituality. But this is also a field where you learn from enriched groups.
        I think in general that science and religion and spirituality will get closer and closer.

        With kind regards from Germany
        Walter Keil

  115. Kurt Jensen says:

    Syd wrote >>> Does anyone know of a neuro-surgeon who can fix me up with an amygdala to make me fearful enough to believe in STEVEN HAWKING and RICHARD DAWKINS? None of my colleagues have an amygdalia they are confident can do this for me.<<<<<

    Damn, now THATS funny. Watching this thread reminds me of the old days on AOL.

    I know one thing for sure, humans are proof that God has a sense of humor.

  116. Syd Shaw says:

    Caroline, anthropocentrism does not arise from fear. It is the point of INTEGRATION with the GENE-WEAVER. It has EVOLVED me and my gorgeous, delightful 16-year- old young wife of 50 years to live in HEAVEN ON EARTH with our delightful children FOREVER YOUNG TOGETHER. Fallen mankind’s cycle of ageing, sickening and dying is the HELL mankind has made of the PARADISE we were given 37,000 years ago with the EVOLUTION of CROMAGNON MAN.

  117. Syd Shaw says:

    Walter, the ONLY reason there have ever been ANY prophets is because the egos of people WILFULLY stands between mankind and his CREATOR. We don’t have any prophets in EVOLVING as the fundamental law of HEAVEN ON EARTH is that people who do not ” LOVE GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS ELIMINATE THEMSELVES FROM HEAVEN ON EARTH. We ALL have direct communication with the COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS. It is only our WILLFULL NEGLECT of the COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS which causes our connection with it to atrophy in the same way that Rastas has sacrificed his INTEGRATION with the COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS for the PHONY HYPOTHESIS of first, L Ron Hubbatd’s REACTIVE MIND which his PROPHET has subsequently transcribed into a delinquent AMYGDALA. What a determined KOOKBALL!

  118. Syd Shaw says:

    Kurt, He has HEAVEN ON EARTH ringing with laughter and joy ALL THE TIME

  119. Syd Shaw says:

    Tom, “All lies in jest
    For a man he hears
    What he wants to hear,
    And disregards the rest.”

  120. Rastas says:

    I feel quite sorry for religious nutters, they are never Here, never Now, always analyzing the past and what some so called prophet said, or always in the future wondering whether they will get their reward in their illusory heaven. While us “new-atheists” just go merrily on our way, enjoying the moment when ever we can, but no fear of going to hell, no fear of upsetting god, just getting on with our lives and having a good time, reading all sorts of writers, from a very wide gamut of philosophies, probably including religious philosophies at one time or another. But at least being “new-atheists’, we can learn that just maybe, it’s actually our wiring that’s the cause of all the craziness that we go on with, that it’s not demons possessing us at all. It’s just a little quirk in our brains, a leftover form “pre-historic” times.
    Sure the amygdala was important for survival back then, but now we have a rational cortex that is so powerful it can discern danger to the nth degree of severity, whereas the amygdala has no rational way of discerning. If the amygdala stored a belief as a baby that being alone is a life threatening situation, to that person, alone will always feel like a life threatening situation in the future as well, whereas the reality might be completely different.
    I don’t need the belief of a god or heaven or angels or virgins or carpenters etc to make me happy, since changing my amygdaloid negative feeling beliefs, happiness is now usually the norm, it’s nothing more than the absence of subconscious irrational fear.
    Which by the way Syd, we all have, and anyone who says they don’t have subconscious irrational fear triggers, is delusional, and the funny thing is that it is these fears that are making them delusional.

  121. Syd Shaw says:

    Healthy amygdala,
    Excess serotonin,
    Makes a person
    Fearful and woeful.

    • Shirley says:

      Syd, your statement,” Ulysses Chi is the prophet sent by God in 2010.
      His mission is to express the whole history of man in the language and metaphors of the science by which people now live, and establish HEAVEN ON EARTH at what is THE END OF TIME.”
      Q1. Are you able to give the source and authority for your information?

      Q2. Is this one and the same person that you described as having

      an unatural interest in little girls?

      If so what sort of an “Evolver ” is he ?

      I am definitely not a Theist, nor an Atheist, nor do I subscribe to the BIG BANG theory, even though I read Stephen Hawking and respect his views.
      To the best of my knowledge none of our eminent Neurosurgeons have attempted an amygdala transplant. No doubt, someday, someone will but probably not here! Try Mexico.

  122. Syd Shaw says:

    The EC decided that a deficit of anything more than 3% of GDP would exclude any nation from membership on the basis that a deficit of more than 3% is financially irresponsible.

    Greece has a deficit of 12.7% and is broke. Portugal, Ireland, Itay, and Spain all have deficits way over 3% and are their economies are no longer viable. Britain has a deficit of 13.3%. The US currently has a deficit of 10.7% and rapidly heading off the graph.

    All across the developed world NOBODY has a deficit nelow 3%.

    Why?

    Because the people of every democratic nation have SHOWN that democracy is INCAPABLE governing SELF-SERVING, TREACHEROUS LIARS.

    The economic system of the whole Westerb system has SHOWN that people NEED a benign HIGHER BEING with STRICTLY ENFORCED LAWS OF HAPPINESS to rule them.

  123. Syd Shaw says:

    It always amazes me that it is nothing more than a lack of character which renders 42.9% of Westerners obese and 32.4% fat unfit and unhealthy, and delivers them to early aging and death. Can’t they SEE that Western women are developing bodies which look increasingly like female gorillas and the men they chose as sexual partners bear the bay window and cropped hair that identify a male gorilla? Around June 2009 I caught an episode of OPRAH which devoted a whole episode to introducing a female sexual clinician to Oprah’s weekly female audience of millions. The sexual clinician’s message was that 40 million American marriages are sexless, and 43% of American women report themselves as sexually dysfunctional. You would think that OPRAH’S hapless audience of OPRAH look-alikes would have worked out that their lack of character is what renders them sexually dysfunctional and their marriage hapless. It is apparently impossible to make them aware that their fat, delinquent children are the product of fat, delinquent parents. It is apparently impossible to waken them to the reality that it is character which EVOLVES us to an AUTHENTIC life in which athletic and authentic children are the off-spring of people who live authentically and athletically.

  124. Kurt Jensen says:

    Syd … I’m with ya until that last part:

    >>>>Because the people of every democratic nation have SHOWN that democracy is
    INCAPABLE governing SELF-SERVING, TREACHEROUS LIARS.

    The economic system of the whole Westerb system has SHOWN that people NEED a
    benign HIGHER BEING with STRICTLY ENFORCED LAWS OF HAPPINESS to rule them.<<<<<<

    What it shows us is that ideology is dead. Put a fork in it.

    ALL GOVTS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE WHO RUN THEM. (hows that for an all caps slap in the pie hole?)

    In American we have been electing people who tell us what we want to hear, that they will bring home the bacon for us, that we in a given state or district are more important than anyone else in the country. That big Daddy Govt will take care of them, and that nothing bad should ever happen to good people (it doesnt work that way, sorry) Democracies that behave this way rob the treasury are just as doomed to extinction as socialism, marxism, leninism, and any other -ism you can think of.

    Does this require theism to correct the problem? Of course not. Some of the most moral “in the moment” people I know are atheists (despite my earlier posts in support of the article that started this blog thread).

    Every single person who's played a role in the current fiscal meltdown would probably describe themselves as some sort of theist (christian mostly).

    So one set of facts does not support your ultimate theory. However, the inevitable evolution of humans will yield a better system eventually. Its just never a sooth a ride. For something new to be born, something old might have to die … and that old thing might be this absurd idea that there is such a thing as truly free markets and that capitalism is “the winner”.

  125. JGL53 says:

    You tell’um, Syd boy!

  126. Rastas says:

    This started out as a serious debate about atheism, but unfortunately, Syd has highjacked the forum, using it as an outlet for whatever comes into his head, be it related to atheism or not. I’m the last person to want to censor anyone – especially as letting creationists have their head is the best way to let them hang themselves – but could the moderator please keep the posts on track, otherwise I couldn’t be bothered writing here anymore. There’s always one.

  127. John says:

    Original Consciousness : For the one who knows [ He has awakened ]
    For the one who doesn’t [ He is still asleep ]

  128. Syd Shaw says:

    Rastas makes the point for me. If you never experience love, it doesn’t exist for you. If you don’t love God, God doesn’t exist for you. It doesn’t matter how much energy a devotee puts in to enlightening an atheist, the atheist just CAN’T get it because the atheist simply doesn’t have the EVOLVER GENE.
    That’s what has propelled the whole eternal dichotomy that is religion throughout the ages. That’s why the writer of the Gospel of John advised, “Nor must you allow any man to call you teacher, for you have but one teacher, the ANNOINTING which is within you.”
    If you try to explain to someone who is not ANNOINTED the joy which is the light of your life, you just put yourself in the same position as a man who tries to tell a monkey what its like to be human. While you’re rabbiting on, the monkey is thinking, “So where are the peanuts?” untill they get frustrated and rip your face off.
    Its interesting that 50% of people have the EVOLVER GENE and that molecular biologista are only just discovering right at this moment that human beings are a blend of CROGMAGNONS and the NEANDERTHALS that they have been mating with for 37,000 years.\ I was born to devotee parents and have been living in HEAVEN ON EARTH all my 70 years. Even though I invite people to come visit, they CAN’T see that its any different from anywhere else. The only people who get it are the delightful children who are the offspring of my gorgeous, delightful, 16-year-old young wife of 50 years. I guess that’s just how EVOLVING works.

  129. Kurt Jensen says:

    Chris wrote >>>>My argument
    against Atheism, is that without God we (collectively) become more evil.
    I’d like to say I’ve read all those books, but I haven’t the time or
    inclination…..maybe in my next life.<<<<<

    You are completely clueless about atheism. Please some books, A LOT of books, especially the ones that deal with historical facts. There is no historical credibility to your argument what so ever.

    Religion, and theists have caused both great harm and done great good at various points in history, you can pick which side you'd like to single out, but the facts are indisputable on both sides of that fence.

    Atheism on the other hand is fairly new cultural and social phenomena when compared to the history of religion. The only "bad" you have to argue on the side of atheism are the communist regimes which tried to install it as the new state religion (think USSR & China).

    Now comparing the harm done in less than a century by those two totalitarian states to the millennia of harm done in the name of many many religions makes it a no brainer. Atheism has done less harm, if for no other reason than its the new "-ism" on the block.

    But when you look at atheism here in the US at a personal level (I have known many, but am a theist myself) you find that they tend to live very aware lives. They love to question authority and so do I. Several of them lived in a philosophical way that was hardly indistinguishable from Buddhism; always in the present. Not looking forward to the day they die and can receive some sort of heavenly reward that many of the anachronistic religions promise their flock. Many also realize where real moral values comes from, not from a God who sits on high with a carrot and a stick, but the most basic operating mode possible: "due unto others …", or "that which goes around comes around." You dont need to be religious to get that. You just have to have 5 senses and a brain. Most people get that. Some religious fanatics do not; generally because they incapable of thinking for themselves.

    Look … the point of this blog was to show how fanaticism comes in all flavors, that even atheists have their own fanatics. This should be obvious to everyone. But there are reasonable, well intentioned, clear minded people of every religious and philosophical stripe and trying to paint any "-ism" all good or all bad is just plain stupid. There I said it. No sense beating around the bush with pretty language. Black and white thinking is the real evil, since it denies reality at ever bend in the road.

    • chris says:

      Kurt,

      I think you made my point for me, and you and I agree a lot more than you think. I will second your statement regarding new Atheists, the ones I know; to a person, are good people. And the argument I make doesn’t reflect any specific history, though you argued my point as well as I could with referrance to past totalitarian regimes. My argument is regarding the capacity of the collective to sustain a relatively harmonious existance while embracing a non-God philosophy. Many individuals of all faiths (or lack of faith), i.e. not the collective, are reasonable and well intended and clear minded. It’s not the “ism” that does the dammage, the dammage is already there. The question is which “ism” will mediate the collective (it’s naive to think this isn’t needed). This article is questioning a new fanatisism within Atheism, and is an argument against Atheism. I think this article is a poor example of the argument; and I am posting, what I believe, to be a more credible agrument. I would go further to say that some fanatical thinking may not be “bad”, sometimes the minority needs to take drastic actions to fascilitate change (think civil rights).

  130. JGL53 says:

    Good post, Kurt. You sound like an independent philosophical theist a la Martin Gardner. Such theists, along with deists, idealistic pantheists and such are hardly ever, if ever, fanatics or extremist dogmatists. Most atheists I know or know about are of the non-fanatical school.

    So fanatics are the enemy of those of who just want to live in peace.

    Again, good post, Kurt.

    • Kurt Jensen says:

      Thank you JGL.

      In my experience, and from what I have read, I think when it comes to spiritual/religious evolution, its ultimately a journey of one. Every single person has to find their own way eventually. You can start out within any given religious tradition, but at some point if you question things enough you will find that its lacking, because it hasn’t kept up with the pace of evolution on all other levels. Most religions fight the evolutionary process instead of embracing it. They all seem to want to point to some point in history and say “THERE, that guy got it exactly right. There is no other truth but this one.”

      Everything I know and everything I have experienced tells me this approach is wrong. The old saying … “you can lead a horse to water” is one of those things I believe to be very applicable to the spiritual path. You just cant have someone else do the work for you, or tell you “this how it all works.” In my opinion you have to make that journey yourself, discovering each truth and level along the way yourself. No getting around it.

      Orthodox religion doesn’t teach that, but if you read about the mystics of all religions, the hint is clearly there. It isn’t about reading a book and reciting scripture from memory, its about having the non-dual experience for yourself. And then, even when you think you’ve “woken up” there is still more work do and more levels … to me its like climbing a mountain with no peak.

      So when I say that atheists dont even know what they dont even know, this is based on their philosophical stance that contemplative experiences are not real, but just imaginary fairy tales based on fear or biology. Again, Ken Wilber’s “Three Eyes of Knowledge” addresses the head butting contest that we (theists) experience with materialists who refuse to acknowledge the shaky epistemological ledge they have backed themselves up onto. I have yet to meet one who has read it and come up with the proper critique or response to Wilber’s argument. (hint for atheists: there is a sound rebuttal), but they often refuse to do their homework.

  131. Kurt Jensen says:

    ps …. >>>>>So fanatics are the enemy of those of who just want to live in peace.<<<<<

    Well said. That is the heart of the matter, and it doesn't matter what kind of fanatic you're talking about, it could be someone you are mostly in tune with, but the fanatic "gene" is not one to be reasoned with it would seem.

  132. Syd Shaw says:

    There is no reason. There is no matter. As the Rishies had figured out 5,000 years ago, there is only the play of consciousness. 2010 devotees have the incredible advantage of being here now at the end of time.

  133. Haakon says:

    Now, I have only briefly scanned the comments (I swear solemnly to read them, religiously (sorry) at my earliest chance, as much has been said that I have been turning over in my mind, the last few years, and sometimes more. One thing I know–the God of Abraham is a tribal god, not the god of the universe, and his prevalence in the Western world has shaped our atheists. They are abolutists, bigots, missionaries, just as the religious figures they rebel against are. They preach, in a fiery way, against any other worldview than theirs.
    Anyone, whether religious or atheist, who says (s)he has the ONE TRUE WAY is a bigot, a zealot, and should be told so, and to shut up. Of course, we can’t make them, but ridicule, and ignoring, are valuable tools. So is teaching tolerance, and showing up the intolerant for what they are. Blessed Be (or, if your a tolerant atheist, right on, keep up the good work!)

  134. Kurt Jensen says:

    Chris,

    You might wonder why I know so much about atheism? At one point in my awakening process, it suddenly struck me … what about atheists? Where do they fit into my ontology? So I intentionally went to the ACLU’s message board when they were back on AOL and started to interact there. Those boards were incredibly active with both amazingly smart people and of course your average nut jobs who think that free speech means screaming profanity at everyone within range. Obviously as a theist, I had to have a tough skin to hangout on message boards that were mostly populated by atheists.

    But the thought occurred to me that in the evolutionary process, and as a believer in reincarnation, that maybe a life time spent as a “non-believer” (atheist) might have some really good learning experiences in there to round out the spiritual experience (oddly enough).

    So what I found was the complete spectrum of people, just as you will find in any self-labeled group. Some were “hard” atheists who couldn’t even see their own holes in the logic they attempted to wield as a sword, and some who greatly surprised me in their almost zen-like attitude towards life. And in those people, I realized that maybe there was a point to it. So when someone writes off a whole group of people as adding to collective evil, I have to say “what a minute” I have experienced something totally different from that.

    The good, the bad and the ugly … I think it all has its evolutionary place. That isn’t an excuse for what we currently consider bad or unconscious behavior, its just my attempt to make some sense of what clearly is a lot of insanity in this world.

    Two things helped me find some peace in this world when I’ve watched way too much world news (most of it bad). Both Ken Wilber’s very broad take on evolution at all levels (holarchy), and spiral dynamics which helps to point out broad trends in the evolution of consciousness. I found Teilhard’s take to be incredibly hopeful as well. The key is to think “big picture” and not focus on whatever disaster might be happening on a day to day basis.

    Getting back to the point of this entire thread based on the essay … the fanatic atheist trend I do consider to be harmful and clearly illogical, based on their own reasoning. Its shot full of logical fallacies. And that’s why I think its incredibly embarrassing for people who clearly are very smart and have advanced degrees. As I said before, they dont even know what they dont even know. Its like me attempting to make an all encompassing statement about sub-atomic particles without first earning the degree in particle physics.

  135. Syd Shaw says:

    Haakon, I am a scientist. Year 8 screeinng by the education system revealed me to be a gifted child and put me on the national educational monitoring system and delivered a very priviledged education to me. Apart from that, I have always been driven to resolve the nature of existence.

    When I started school at 5 I had immediately noticed that the answer to any question arose in my mind and that the stuff the teachers were teaching us was frequently wrong. Teachers don’t like 5-year-old boys showing them where their reasoning has gone wrong, so the first thing I learned was to agree with whatever the teachers were teaching.

    Then, I noticed that the little girls wanted to kiss and hug me. As the years rolled by the little girls wanted to show me their sexual apparatus and examine mine.

    I was 10 when I started to sporadically see the world from a point one meter above and 1 meter behind my head. When this ‘second sight’ arose while I was playing sport, I noticed that I was completely uninhibited and that I played as a master of whatever sport I happened to be playing at the time.

    This was a problem in that this made me famous and that made me the centre of attention. While that is considered to be very desirable by other people, I did not relish it.

    Then, when I was finishing my first PHD I got a letter from a Swiss Research Instintute explaining that they head-hunted people who were what they called SELF-REALIZED and that their search had revealed that I was in the same blood-lines as GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, CHARLES DARWIN, and THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON. Could I come and spend a week with them to run some tests?

    In short. I was an EVOLVER. and as such was worth around a million dollars a year to multinational corporations. I wasn’t remotely interesrted in money, but found the Institute the perfect environment to pursue my own drive to answer my personal need to find the scientific answer to the nature of existence. That was in 1967. There never has been anything else that interests me.

  136. Rastas says:

    I just read a post from Shirley about her husbands experience with feeling surrounded by love while in hospital with a terminal disease. It was beautifully written Shirley and I love the part of discerning between the Abrahamic god and the universal energy/force.

    Having watched http://www.zeitgeist.com I don’t believe in anything I read anymore. ZeitgeistMovie is so logical, only a brain-washed god fearer would not be able to see the sense. Te first part is one of the most amazing and liberating things I’ve ever watched in my life, the rest of the movie is only fantastic.

    All god believers, please grow up and get a life. The fear of god indeed, it should read the “the fear of the belief in god”.