Google Search

Custom Search

Monday, March 22, 2010

PanDeism Part Two: On Morality and The Afterlife

ON MORALITY

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.

PanDeism Part One: On God and Revelation

ON GOD

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.


ON REVELATION 

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

Creationist "Discovery Institute" Breaks the law to Censor Evolutionist

The Discovery Institute, a creationist propaganda machine, has broken the law inorder to censor Christian Evolutionist DonExodus2. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

From Christian to Deist

When I graduated high school, I was a Christian who wanted to be a theologian.   After researching and visiting many Christian colleges, I finally settled on one. And the fall after Graduation, I started attending a Lincoln Christian College (now Lincoln Christian University) and Seminary.  And it was through the year I attended Lincoln that helped me to question and challenge the beliefs of modern Christianity so that I could be released and accept a more rational view of life, the universe and everything.
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

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Albert Einstein Quotes