Monday, March 22, 2010
Theists often claim that those that do not believe in a personal God have no basis for morality. I would have to completely disagree with this. Theists themselves, with evolving society and an evolving God, have no basis for morality. For example: The God of the Old Testament was an evil God. Much worse, in my opinion, than Satan. While Satan was bent on freeing the minds of Humans, the God of the Old Testament was enslaving them. While Satan stayed to peaceful, scholarly discussion the evil God of the Old Testament killed men, women and Children. While that, alone, is enough to explain why the three religions that accept the Old Testament of God (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) have no basis for morality, I will continue. Suddenly, A few hundred years after the last prophet of the Old Testament, A child is born to a virgin in the City of Bethlehem. This Child, Jesus, would grow to proclaim himself to be God. His name was, as you know, Jesus. Jesus suddenly turned the Old Testament laws upside down. From the Old Testament God demanding Adulterers to be stoned to forgiving them. This kind of evolving God has no basis for morality because he is constantly changing to meet Society’s demands as Society evolves.
So where is the morality of non-theists based? Time and place. The difference between the morality of Theists and that of non-theists is that non-theists admit that morality is relative, while theists try to hide that fact so they can claim absolute morality as dictated to them by their God. We admit that morality changes from one era to the next, from one nation to another.
I brought up the fact that morality is relative to a Christian one time and his response was “So, you would hit an old lady with a car because there is no absolute morality?” The answer to that is, of course, not. I would not run an old lady over. I posed a question to that same Christian. I asked him “Would you stone a disobedient child like your bible commands you to do?” He said no, as I had expected. So I continued to ask him “Why is that?” He said because we are not living in ancient times where that kind of punishment was allowed. I said, “So you morality has evolved with society. That, friend, is the very definition of morality that is relative to time and place.” Once he understood the similarities between our views on morality I never heard him utter another idiotic fallacy like that again.
ON THE AFTERLIFE
Most discussion on the afterlife is, on both sides of the argument, laid out as if it what was being said was fact. One side claims that an afterlife exists because a god told us about it in an ancient book, while the other side says there is not an afterlife because no one can provide descent proof for its existence. I remain agnostic on the question of an afterlife, but it is not above me to speculate what an afterlife might be like if one exists.
The most popular concept of the afterlife is split into two: Heaven and Hell. Heaven is the place where people go if they accept a certain God and a certain set of dogmas, while Hell is for everyone else. Heaven is seen as a peaceful city in the sky where we would bask in the Glory of a murderous God, while Hell is described as a horrible place of absolute torture that will never cease. Both concepts are derived from ancient myths that extend long before Judaism and Christianity. As a Freethinker, I try to rid myself of such ancient myths in order to ponder freely about what an afterlife, with a Pandeist God, might look like. Here is what I have come up with.
or an afterlife to exist for humans, consciousness must continue to exist with or without our brains or our bodies. I do not believe in an everlasting physical afterlife. No, once our bodies are dead they will remain so forever more. What might happen, if an afterlife exists, is that our consciousness is saved in the memory of “The One” or God who, remember, is connecting everything in the universe together as he/she/it is, for now, the universe. If God became the universe, it would make sense for him to, once again, separate him/her/itself from the universe. When this happens, he would most likely take whatever form he had before the universe began (something I cannot even begin to speculate on). And the reason he had become the universe (to seek knowledge) would be fulfilled. Remember, the reason a God would become one with the universe is to absorb the knowledge that a God apart from the universe could never obtain. Some of that knowledge would be our thoughts, emotions, etc. If God had, somehow, absorbed our consciousness as he/she/it would the rest of the knowledge, an afterlife might be a unified consciousness, where all memories, emotions and knowledge was shared from human to human. We would all be one with each other and one with God. We would all be a unified whole.
God is the creator of the universe. Everything we see has been created, albeit through the processes of cosmological, chemical and biological evolution, by God. We can see that in the complexity of the universe.
But where is God now? Most Religions teach of a God that sits in “heaven” casting judgment on his creation in either the form of eternal damnation or plagues, sickness and death on earth. My philosophy teaches no such God. I believe that God, at the exact moment of creation, became one with that which he created. God, therefore, is all that we see and all that we see is God. From the rocks on the ground to the next person you will see. You, yourself, are God.
This explanation of God makes more sense than the God of theism (A god who loves us, but refuses to lift a finger to help us), the God of Classical Deism (A creator God who ignores his creation completely), and the Pantheist God (a Divine being who has always been one with the universe and is therefore unnecessary since creation doesn’t need him/her/it). God is, as of right now, an unconscious part of the universe.
I get asked often: Why would God do that? My answer is simple: For knowledge. A God cannot be perfect in knowledge, unless he has been a part of everything imaginable. A Religion who claims a transcendent God is all knowing is a religion of lies. How can a God know the thoughts and emotions of a poor beggar on the street, unless he was that poor beggar? How can God know what it’s like to be part of a small tribe driven from their homelands by a bigger aggressor without being a part of that tribe? God has become one with the universe so he can know all that is possible to know.
Unlike revealed religions (like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Etc) I do not believe that God has revealed himself through man specifically. I do not believe God has dictated writings through mankind to teach us of him. Our only message from God about his existence is the universe itself. This type of revelation is known as “general revelation”- The idea that a God has reveled Him/her/itself to us through the creation.
A God who is personal enough to dictate a direct message to humanity would understand the failings of Humanity, one being power. Those of us who are the only ones to know the secret to unlocking the written word of God (I.e. The pope, Mega church ministers, etc) are the ones who will hold the most influence and power over mankind. Those with that power, as history has shown us, will be willing and able to change this so called “Word of God” to fit their own selfish agenda. A God who is supposedly all knowing would understand this. This is why special revelation fails as a true way to know the mind of God.
The mind of God is, of course, an important thing to try and understand. As Albert Einstein once wrote, “I want to know the mind of God, the rest is just details”. I do not believe that God has left us without a way to look into his mind. To study a work of art is to study the mind of an artist. Little details hidden in artwork that most people take for granted can tell us much about an artist. The same concept goes with the mind of God. As we study God’s art (the universe) we find bits and pieces of information that reveal small amounts of God’s mind. This is why I encourage people of all ages, classes, and religions to study the universe. The more we can understand it, the more of God we know.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
At Lincoln Christian College, as I knew, the few theologically liberal beliefs that I held (acceptance of Evolution, belief in only a temporary Hell) would make me a minority in the school. Having talked to my Senior Minister and Youth Minister, who both attended Lincoln Christian College, I realized that it was an extremely conservative school that would frown on some of my beliefs. My youth minister, himself a religious conservative, had started pulling further away from me since I had confessed my acceptance of the Theory of Evolution, so I knew it would probably be much of the same at Lincoln.
Most of my other views took a back seat as the people there tried to understand how one could be a Christian and accept evolution. It seemed like everyone at that school equated evolution with Atheism. I sat through many classes and listened to professors berate my views on what I considered a very beautifu, poetic and majestic way God created the universe, Earth and man. I got to the highest point of frustration that I had ever felt. One day after I returned to my dorm from a lecture where my professor had, once again, discussed the evil and satanic ways of Evolution, I took out a dry erase marker, which I kept so I could make notes on my mirror, and I wrote in large red letters across the mirror opposite of my desk, “Evolution does not equal Atheism”. When my roommate and friend arrived back at the dorm, he saw what I had written. He looked at me and said, “Yes it does.” When I tried to get him to further explain his position, he simple said, “The bible tells us so.”
On top of that, there were many more irrationalities at that school I could not comprehend. During a lecture in my Principles of Bible Study class (Known throughout the body of students as “PBS”) my professor, who had seemed like a pretty outstanding guy up until this point, started praising God for Hell and for all of those evil sinners who would burn forever in the fiery depths. This caused me to see my professor as a man who might have been a little disturbed. And I had seriously given it thought to go to the Dean, Keith Ray, and ask if this is a man sane enough to teach college students, but that thought left me as soon as I looked around. The whole class was smiling and nodding. When one thinks of a leader giving a speech to the members of his cult, they might think of the members as nodding with a blank, ignorant look on their faced that truly showed a lack of understanding in anything relevant to humanity or life on this planet. That was the smile and the nod I saw in the faces of these young college students. It was at that point that my heart broke. It broke for what I had started referring to the “Irrational side of Christianity”. I did not realize it, but it was at this very point that I would start heading away from the center beliefs of Christianity and towards a more rational and naturalistic philosophy.
Amanda, my Christian girlfriend at the time, never liked to think. Thinking always just got in the way of the blind faith that made her feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And when I would ask her a question like why do you believe Jesus was God incarnate, she would get angry that I would even have to ask such a silly question and tell me she accepts everything the bible says.
That was my first, but not last, run-in with the Christian logic known as Circular Reasoning. The irrationality from Amanda did not affect me as much as those at my college did. She was still only a senior, and of course, did not have the maturity level of an esteemed college student as myself and those around me. And I would repeat that little bit of false information to myself nightly so I could look past the lack of rational thinking within the person I called “Boo”. But no matter what I told myself, I could not look past all of that in my college. It was at college that people were supposed to accept reason! It was at college that people were supposed to give up their foolishness. As the apostle Paul once said, “When I was a child; I talked like a child I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” This was what was supposed to happen, yet it did not. Even the professors continued to shout down evolution as an Atheist’s attempt to steal Christian souls.
The last day of School could not come fast enough for me. I said my tear felt goodbyes to my friends and drove the three hour trip back to Lawrenceville, IL. A month after I returned home, I was able to get a job at Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express. The three breaks that I received while I worked eight hours at Wal-Mart gave me ample time to think about the things I had experience the past school year. The more I thought about it, the more depressed I became. I knew that this faith that I had accepted the majority of my life was coming to an end for me. The irrationalities of the Christian religion had finally become apparent to me. I dreaded the moment that I would finally have to confess to myself that I no longer accepted that Christianity had any bearing on reality. Even more, I dreaded the moment I would have to tell the girl I had been seeing for a little less than a year. I knew, with her mind closed off to all questions of her faith, that it would be the end of our relationship. I had no idea that it would also be the end of many more of my relationships.
When, one day as I was sitting in the break room at work, I came to that final realization that I no longer accepted the Christian scriptures as more than ancient Hebrew myths I knew I had to tell Amanda. The problem was, every time I tried to think of a way to tell her, I saw myself avoiding the topic. I knew I could never tell Amanda what I had realized to her face. I knew I was not man enough. So, I decided to take a few extra minutes worth of a break as I got out my cell phone and sent a very nervously typed test message to her. Her reply was a little different than I thought it would be. It simply said, “You think too hard, Dean, Just give in.” And while I knew I could never do that, I had hope that maybe we could continue this relationship. But I was only kidding myself. When I finally told her face to face the decision I had come to, she broke up with me, though it took her a few days. We continued to hang out for the next couple of months as friends, though I knew it would never last and I knew that I was only making the situation worse for myself. When the time finally came that Amanda found a new boy toy while on a mission trip in Kentucky, my heart was broken. But I went to talk to a good friend who I loved very much. This friend had been my Youth Minister growing up in Lawrenceville, Matt. While I was telling Matt that Amanda had put an end to us once and for all, he told me he knew. While in Kentucky, Amanda had told him her plans. Then, Matt started explaining to me the reason Amanda and I did not work out. It was all me. I had caused the relationship to split. It, according to Matt, was my entire fault. It was, of course, me who had left the one true religion to off gallivanting with Satan, The father of lies (whom I call the father of freedom). I have talked to Matt only once since then.
At this point, I wanted to deny the existence of God all together. The philosophical problem of Evil had embedded its sharp point directly into my heart. This was cause enough for me to consider myself an Atheist, for a short time, at least.
Once my mind cleared and my month long intoxication ended, I rethought my stance as an Atheist. I decided that even if the mythologies of Christianity were irrational, did that make the very existence of a God irrational? For, I thought, if a god does exist, he would be quite embarrassed by the things Christians claim about him. And so, I began to ponder the very existence of as an agnostic. Through the studies of Richard Dawkins, I decided that Atheism was no less dogmatic and irrational as Christianity. So, I thought to myself, where does this leave me? As an agnostic, I felt like a naked man with no home. No idea of God to call his own. That is when I came upon a book by an English Philosopher named Anthony Flew. The book was called “There is a God”. As I read it I was amazed at Flews’ long conversion from Atheism to a natural philosophy of God called Deism. I was, by the time I started read, convinced a God does exist. Flew showed me that while religions may blur the character of God, Deism does not. It is a simple philosophy based on acknowledging the creator through his creation with no special revelation (Scriptures, prophets, messiahs) to darken our perspective of God. A philosophy based on the nature that God has created.
Since that point in my life, I have continued to accept Deism as truth. While I no longer have contact with the friends who left due to my sudden realization about the religion that, apparently, held us together, I am happier then I have ever been. I am now able to see God through my own eyes, rather than through the eyes of men who lived thousands of years ago. I am happy to say I have discovered a philosophy that shows me there is truth in life, the universe and everything.
There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
Deism: A Revolution in Religion - A Revolution in You
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Many Christians have a major problem with Halloween. As the above quote shows, they are under the false impression that Halloween is a Satanist Holiday with connections to ancient paganism. Yes, adults still fall for the myths and urban legends that unite Satanism with Halloween. My goal is to explain why Conservative Christians are wrong when it comes to Satanism and why Pagan origins do not matter for most other Christian holidays.
Origins of Halloween
Halloween stems from two religious holidays: the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holiday of All Saints Day. The combination of the two Holidays plus modern myths have created what we know today as Halloween, celebrated on October 31 of every year.
The Festival of Samhain
For the most part, Samhain was a celebration of the end of harvest season. It also had a second importance: It was the Celtic new year. The Gaulish Calendar seperated the year into two parts; the Dark half and the Light half. Samhain was the beginging of the dark half of the year (What we know as late fall and winter). During the medieval era, Samhain become the up most important holiday. It was celebrated for three days in Tara (where tradition says the High King of Ireland was seated ans was a very sacred place for the Celts) where many people would assemble. A large bonfire was lit on top of the Hill of Tara, which was to signal people all over Ireland to light their own bonfires. And while the festival was to celebrate the end of harvest and to bring in the Celtic new year, it also had a spiritual side. It was believed by many ancient Celts that during this festival, the doorway to the other world would be opened for the dead and other “evils” to enter our world. This is the origin of many of the scary traditions associate with our Halloween.
All Saints Day
All Saints Day was started with Pope Boniface IV. Boniface chose May 13, an already pagan holiday known as the Festival of Lemures. The Festival of Lemures was a day in which people feared and exorcised restless malevolent spirits from their home A little more than one hundred years later, Pope Gregory III changed the date of All Saints Day to its current date. The holiday usually fell within a couple of weeks of the Celtic holiday Samhain.
The Satanist Urban Legends
Much of the current urban legends that unite Satanism with Halloween stem from an ignorance of the origins of the term Satanism and of the religion itself. With this misunderstanding of Satanism, fears spread widely through the Christian church about the practices and beliefs of Satanists.
The biggest Church/Organization termed Satanist is the Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey in the 1960s. The first and biggest misconception people have about the Church of Satan is their worship of Satan, The followers do not, in fact, worship a Deity of any kind. They place major emphasis on the power and authority of individual satanists, rather than a Deity or quasi deity.
The second biggest misconception about Satanism is ritual sacrifice. Urban legends spread throughout North America that Satanists would sacrifice babies on Halloween. This is urban legend was never verified, but was shown to be false by law enforcement agencies in the areas where these urban legends sprung up. Satanists believe that all life is important and place emphasis on Children as the purest form of life. They would never do anything to intentionally harm a child.
Paganism in Christianity
Pagan origins is one of the main arguments Christians make against Halloween. Apparently these Christians do not realize that their most sacred holidays come from Pagan origins.
The name of the sacred holiday celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the second person in the Holy Trinity in Christianity, the God incarnate, is comes from ancient Anglo-Saxon Paganism. The name Easter is derived from the name of the Goddess Eastre. And as you can see, there is only a one letter difference between the name of the pagan goddess and the name of the Christian holiday. But it is not just the name that comes from pagan origins, it is the symbols within the holiday as well.
Eastre was the Goddess of fertility. Her animal was the hare. The pagan symbol of the Hare is still used today during Easter celebrations, but the name of the animal has changed to a “bunny”. Eastre’s symbol, since she was the goddess of fertility, was the egg. Once again, still a symbol used today during Easter celebrations.
Christmas is another sacred holiday celebrated by Christians with pagan origins. This Christian holiday is used to celebrate the birth of their savior and God incarnate. Yet, like Easter, it stems from ancient paganism.
During the winter solstice, ancient Pagans used to cut down evergreen trees and bring them into either their homes or their temples in order to celebrate the coming of winter. And this, of course, is still used by many Christians today. The trees are known as “Christmas Trees”
Another similarity between modern Christmas and ancient paganism was the day known as Dies Natalis Solis Invicti or The Birthday of the unconquered Sun. This was a day in which the birth dates of several sun gods were celebrated on the same day. This day was celebrated during the winter solstice or mid December.
As you can see, Christian fears and complaints of Halloween are usually not grounded in reality. Many of the fears they hold are lies created by earlier Christians in order to deter their brethern from celebrating this particular holiday. The issue of the pagan origins can be found within their most sacred holidays, yet they use the pagan origins of Halloween to stay was from this so-called “evil” celebration. The lies and hypocracy of the Christian Chruch, when it comes to Halloween, is enormous.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I am going to take a quick intermission from Deism, because I want to explain something that might be useful to some of you. There are many sites out there that allow for a writer to earn a little bit of money. If you just pick one or two of these site to write on, don't expect there to be a lot of money in it. But whether or not you choose to write for money or not, it is a great way to great your writing out there in the public arena. Some sites are:
Helium (link above)
Triond (this one has really low pay, but it is my favorite because of the community on the forums)
And many many others.
So, you can find any of the sites not linked by googling their name. If you need help finding one, comment and I will give you the URL in the comment section.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Dawkins has described pantheism as “sexed up Atheism”. Dawkins says that pantheism is simply atheism, because they don’t believe in a God. He says they use the term God to refer to nature. If you were to walk up to any pantheist or philosophy professor and gave them this definition, they would laugh at you. It is simply wrong.
While pantheists do use the term God to refer to nature, there is more to it. Pantheists do believe in the divine. They do believe in God, even though they do not believe in the common Judeo-Christian concept of God. Pantheism comes from the Greek words for “all” and “God” and it literally means “God is all“. If Dawkins could even take the time to understand the name, he would realize just how wrong he is. They believe that the universe is one with an all-encompassing, immanent God.
Atheists have even gone as far as making up a new term to try to prove their Lord and Master, Dawkins, right. This new term is “Scientific Pantheism”. A scientific pantheist is exactly what Dawkins describes Pantheism as: sexed up Atheism. They do not believe in a God, rather they refer to nature and the universe as a whole using the term “God”. Scietific Panthiesm is just one way in which modern day atheists are trying to highjack a philisophic position that has absolutely nothing to do with Atheism.It is this very wrong definition of God that makes Richard Dawkins believe that certain people are atheists, though a good understanding pantheism proves otherwise. One example is Albert Einstein. Einstein is quoted in saying, “I believe in Spinoza’s God”. And for that reason Dawkins have not only claimed Einstein was a Pantheist, but also an Atheist. But if Dawkins had taken the time to look at a couple of things, he would never have made this mistake. The first is this: What did Spinoza really believe? The second is: How much did Einstein really know about Spinoza’s God? Max Jammer, a close friend and colleague of Einstein, wrote in his book (Einstein and God) that Einstein actually knew very little about Spinoza’s God. In fact, Einstein, says Jammer, stuck to Spinoza’s writings on ethics Though, if Einstein had learned more about Spinoza’s God, he would know that Spinoza did believe in the divine. In fact Spinoza wrote, “It is utterly false to suppose that it is my intention to equate god and nature” in a letter.
Another philosophic term that Dawkins gets wrong is Deism. Dawkins referred to Deism as “watered down Theism”. While it may seem like so to Dawkins, that is entirely wrong. Theists believe in a personal God based solely on one religious text or another. Deists use logic in order to infer from the universe that a God does exist, but that God does not reveal himself to humans. The reason Deists do not believe in a personal God is not because they are a watered down version of theism, but because they use their reasoning and logic to try to understand God. Deists have come to the conclusion, through logic and reasoning, that God has not revealed himself to mankind through any forms of special revelation because there is no reliable evidence to make such a claim.
He fails to grasp the basic beliefs of Deists when he uses like “I do not believe in a personal God” to prove Einstein was an Atheists. Deists do not believe in a personal God, either. To claim someone is an Atheist simply because he does not believe in a Personal God is, quite frankly, stupid.
In discussing agnosticism and how agnostics look at the question of God’s existence Richard Dawkins says “The alternative which I favor is to renounce all euphemisms and grasp the nettle of the word atheism itself.” Here Dawkins is clearly stating that Agnostics should consider themselves Atheists. Why? Agnosticism has absolutely nothing in common with Atheism. Agnostics believe that God might or might not exist, while Atheists believe God does not exist.
Dawkins has a [wrong] answer to this, as well. Dawkins says that Atheism is the gospel of “I don’t know”. That is completely wrong, yet Dawkins’ religious followers grab on to that too. Historically Atheism has aways been the “gospel of there is no God” yet, with one man saying different an entire community of Atheists jump on the band wagon.
It is clear that those Atheists that follow Richard Dawkins religiously are no better than organized religion. These atheists are dogmatic, fundamentalist and lack the use of logic, much like Dawkins himself. If Dawkins wants to continue to philosophize, he should learn more about what he is talking about. He cannot change the definitions of words simply because it suits his agenda.