|RE: Who Needs God (at Fur Affinity’s Atheist Group)
||[Mar. 24th, 2013|08:50 am]
Another case of a reply where I rambled so much it became too long to post on the site. So I’m putting it here and giving them a link.
Why do I write long rambles? Well, possibly because I don’t know where the ideas in my head come from. For all I know, they might be the words of God trying to talk through me. Not that I necessarily believe in “God” as others personally define the word. Still, ideas come from somewhere. I don’t necessarily know where or how to define the source, but I don’t take it for granted.
If I don’t write these things down as they come out of my head, the source isn’t in the habit of repeating itself. So I write rambles to be sure I get it all down.
Anyway, below the cut is what came out after reading the article linked below. And I’m pleased to report that, even if the Atheists at FA don’t get anything out of it, I personally did, and I think it will greatly improve my sense of well-being if I can keep it in mind in the near future.
For my own experience, I was raised a Christian Scientist, but I never bought it as anything real, mainly because I couldn’t put the teachings into practice. And I eventually realized that the testimonies given by those in church or on the Christian Science radio program were not so much magical as easily attributable to the power of positive thinking.
Positive thinking is something I do believe in, but something about being asked to believe a fantasy as if it was real is just a bit too close to being lied to to not rub me the wrong way. So, before I had even reached adolescence, I had pretty much determined that, if I needed fantasies to focus my power of positive thinking, I could create better fantasies myself.
So I pretty much just left religion behind to become a fantasy writer, and after that I never thought too much about religion. I had a “whatever floats your boat” attitude about the whole thing.
It was not until I got into my rebellious teen years that I started to realize how religion was, historically speaking, a seriously bad thing. I think one of the first wake up calls was when some religious people were reading my work and commenting that they weren’t sure, but they suspected writing stories about talking animals was somehow sinful.
So they gave my stories to a reverend who looked them over and was generally impressed with the amount of talent I was putting out for a 9th grade drop out. His verdict – writing stories about talking animals was not sinful, just an exceedingly weird thing for a potentially intelligent pre-mature adult to be doing. And this was accompanied with the impression that weird behavior was not to be approved by the conservative mindset.
But I came in on the tail end of the hippie era. So I was well accustomed to the idea of the younger, more liberal generation being at odds with the older, conservative generation. My job was to prove the positive attributes of my uniqueness, and hopefully help build a better world by adding fresher ideas to the general mix of things.
That was actually a heavy kind of responsibility to be taking on. So I did a lot of studying to improve my talents and increase the validity of the things I would write in the future. And the more I studied the history of religion, with particular emphasis on the Christian religion, since that was the one I already knew the most about, the more it became apparent that Christian figures in literature are more often villains than heroes. Check out The Three Musketeers and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame for some classic examples.
As I became more aware of Christianity’s historical track record, I began to see the reason why Christians were often portrayed as villains, and how there was something distinctly not positive about the whole business of religion.
But for many, many years this was never a family issue. Just as I had lost interest in going to church and thinking of myself as having a religion, my family had done the same. It just didn’t fit in with the practical concerns of modern life. After all, if God expects you to do everything yourself, you just start doing everything yourself and eventually just start taking God for granted.
Being a moralist or an altruist is just one of those things that you do for yourself. It’s not something God could help you with, even if he did exist. You just go about your life doing what seems right. And if that’s not good enough in the end, well what the hay. It wouldn’t have made you do any better if you’d spent your whole life fretting over it.
So, basically Sunday school was just another place to hear fairy stories that would hopefully set you on a path for doing good in life. And to this day I still love fairy and fantasy stories for their ability to illustrate truths. Not scientific or mythological truths, but rather truths about the balance between right and wrong, sensible practices to keep in mind, and the human condition in general.
To me, Jesus is just another of those fairy story or folk tale characters. My favorite Jesus is the one seen in Jesus Christ Superstar, because I relate to that one the most. The rest of The New Testament I pretty much just toss, because there’s not much good story value there. The Old Testament makes for great Hollywood epics, but there’s nothing there of any religious value for me – just fairy stories, folk tales and mythology.
I find other books far more inspiring when it comes to approaching my feeling towards matters of a cosmic nature – books like Jonathan Livingston Seagull or The Little Prince, which actually have very little to do with concepts like God and Heaven. They are more about states of mind. And I eventually came to the conclusion that contentedness in life is all about achieving a state of mind in which you can personally be comfortable.
If the concept of God makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s no trick at all to be rid of it. After all, it’s just a mythology like any other. If you get no good out of it, just forget it – fill the void it leaves with some other passion. There are so many things one can live for in this life that provide infinitely more fulfillment – music, art, fandoms, friends, personal creativity – whatever floats your boat. It’s your life. You should do with it what you really want to do.
And if by any chance there actually is a God or some kind of cosmic being watching over things, you still don’t need to worry about that, because anything that might be out there beyond our understanding would have no practical need of praise, and would expect nothing more of you than to go about your life and do your thing. Being directly aware of it could only get in the way of that. And you can’t affect it regardless, so what point is there in even thinking about it? Just live as sensible and practical a life as you are capable of, and the good things that come to you because of that will be your just reward.
Then, if you get to the end of your life on Earth and you find out there actually is more, well that’s just gravy. Take it as it comes and deal with it when you get there, because no one on Earth knows anything about it. So nothing they tell you to anticipate about it is going to help you in the least.
Like yourself, I’m still evaluating Atheism. So far I haven’t liked very much what I’ve seen. What I’ve seen mainly are a lot of angry people focused on their contempt for religion. I don’t think that is a good way to live one’s life.
Generally if you disagree with something you dismiss it and focus on something that brings a sense of value to your life. If I were to spend a huge chunk of my life swearing at how wrong I think religion is, I would consider the time ill spent.
As a practical person I feel that time is like money. And you literally choose what you will spend it on. Also, you don’t have the option of making more time. When you’re out of time you’re just out. The best you can do is budget your time. And I find I get much more value for my time concentrating on the things I like, or helping others to find value for their own time.
So it seems to me that the Atheists I observe on the net are not getting good value for their time. They create a situation where something they dislike becomes an obsession and just drains away gobs of time that would be better spent focusing on something they really like.
If the harm that religion does and the desire to see it done away with is a concern, I tend to feel the same way. But I observe that religion is shooting itself in the foot right and left these days. It doesn’t really need our help to do itself in. Human consciousness is slowly but surely evolving away from it.
But what will it mean to be an Atheist when there is no more religion in the world to be opposed? Atheism doesn’t seem to offer anything else. But I suspect eventually it will. I expect it will become a standardized set of beliefs that will be enforced and become more oppressive than religion ever was. Because Atheism isn’t about common practical thought.
Regardless of the intent of its originators, the majority of the people who practice Atheism in public these days are focused entirely on negativity – contempt, belittlement, mockery, etc. – the stuff every good troll forum is made of. And such things never just pass quietly when their practical function is at an end. They always devolve into some “2112” type nightmare.
I really wouldn’t care to send the children of the future into a world dominated by an Atheist regime gone mad on its power to stifle all manner of creativity and personal philosophy through aggressive derision. I don’t see that as being any better than what we’ve got now. And I’ve not seen any willingness demonstrated on the part of Atheists to acknowledge such dangers, let alone to take measures to prevent it.
The people who speak for the Atheist movement seem in complete denial of all other matters except their fixation on the idea that religion must die. There must be more to Atheism than this for it to be valid. Atheists need to focus on what they do believe more than what they don’t. And it’s not enough for an Atheist to insist that they don’t believe in anything, because a human who believes in nothing is a very dangerous animal.
Fortunately we do have other things to turn to besides religion. There is still philosophy, notions like altruism, or simply appealing to the heart for reason.
I was rather disturbed to read the article linked in a shout on the front page where an Atheist is mocking Mormons for their concept of a heart, stating that a heart is a simple organ that pumps blood and does not focus feelings. I worried that such ignorance would be common to Atheists.
There is such a thing as carrying practical thinking too far. What this person was mocking was not religion, but poetic thinking. This is a person so absorbed in the need to mock that he has completely forgotten the meaning of metaphor, or how to take words at something other than face value. It’s the kind of thing that makes Atheists look like ignorant bullies and trolls.
Atheists seem to think themselves intelligent. So most people take for granted that they are intelligent. No one expects to need to explain the meaning of a metaphor in common usage to an intelligent person. But apparently it is necessary to explain to some Atheists that when someone refers to a heart that feels things, they’re not talking about the organ in their chest. They’re referring to an aspect of their scientifically constructed emotional network which allows human beings to feel a pull towards positive or negative feelings. It is not a concept of fantasy. It is a very real thing that can and has been scientifically studied. And whether one uses a metaphor or its scientific name to refer to it doesn’t change the signals it sends out one way or the other.
So basically what you end up with is an Atheist mocking people for listening to their hearts. That’s where I lose total interest. That’s where I see Atheism as a runaway train doomed to nosedive off the cliff of heartless totalitarianism someday.
So, even though I’m essentially against religion, I don’t believe in a God, and many other things that would lead people to say “There goes an Atheist,” the majority of the Atheists I’ve encountered on the net scare the heck out of me.
They seem level headed at first. I find plenty of things to agree with them about. But as I walk out to the distances of their minds, the path becomes narrower and narrower until it finally ends up at a closed door which, if anyone tries to open, the Atheist starts to act more like a closed minded religious conservative than a closed minded religious conservative.
I just don’t see any practical benefit to closing the mind. No scientist who ever made any important discovery did so with his mind in closed mode. One needs imagination to invent. One needs the heart and mind functioning properly together to be in that mode for maximum health and productivity.
From what I’ve observed, I’ve no reason to think Atheism encourages that mode. In spite of the things Atheists repeat like a mantra, Atheism does not encourage open mindedness, it is absolutely, if not a religion, a preconceived, preached and indoctrinated system of thought and belief that must be maintained by the same methods of denial religions use.
Thus, for those still giving Atheism a chance to see if it’s for them, I’d just like to make them aware that folks like myself have been freely not believing in God for ages without any help at all from Atheism. Therefore, you do have alternatives.
Personally I recommend just being an individual. Don’t join a group for what you believe. Because the only reason for joining a group is to let the group control what you believe. I think that’s a losing proposition in every instance.
One should always maintain absolute freedom of thought so that new ideas can be taken in and freely digested to see what makes sense and what works for you. That way you can take the good bits from everything and throw out the rest.
You can keep the golden rule from Christianity if you find that a good thing, while at the same time you can keep the not believing in mythologies thing from Atheism. Contrary to what some people may think those two things do not mix poorly.
It’s all about ideas. You hear ideas all the time from every direction. And just about every good idea you come across has a ton of BS attached to it, along with a ton of people insisting you must accept all their BS if you want their one good idea. But none of them really own the good ideas. And there’s not a thing they can do to stop you from stripping away every bit of the BS and keeping just the thing you have a real use for.
And if that’s not being an Atheist, then you’ve just heard of something better you have the choice to be. It doesn’t have a catchy ism name that can be used to rally around. It doesn’t have sites devoted to it. It doesn’t have political power. It has none of those common trappings humans tend to look for when wondering what they should belong to, or what they should put down when filling out a form that asks their affiliation. You just check the “Other” box and write in that you worship the great “I.”
“I” is my God, “I” is the creator of the worlds I perceive, “I” is my ultimate authority on reality and righteousness; “I” is my judge, my benefactor, my punisher when I do wrong. “I” is omnipresent and knows all the wrong I do. I can hide nothing from the great “I.” “I” creates Heaven or Hell here on Earth according to my needs. There is no appealing to others to change whether I dwell in Heaven or Hell at any given moment. For no other human or cosmic being which may or may not exist can counter the will of the great “I” who is all powerful over every aspect of my life.
The great “I” determines my mode. When I am productive, it is the will of the great “I.” When I am lazy or without focus on the things I wish to accomplish, it is the will of the great “I.” There is no one else to be blamed for anything I do or do not do but the great “I.”
Being the servant of the great “I” is a daunting responsibility. The great “I” has ambitions beyond ambitions, is creative beyond reason, compassionate and generous to a fault. In fact, the great “I” demands more of me than is humanly possible. Thus my Hell is living in the shadow of the great “I’s” disappointment in me. For I am the instrument of the great “I’s” massive ambition, which is far beyond my abilities to fulfill.
If you have the ability to read between the lines as I do, it’s easy to see that this is all any religion was designed to get through to you. The only God that exists stares back at you from the mirror. The only feelings or will he has are felt in your heart. And the only Heavens or Hells that exist are the ones we create through our joys and guilts to reward or punish ourselves.
I jest you not. If one learns to read metaphor, one will see that written all over The Bible. Heaven isn’t a place in the sky. It’s a state of mind and heart. Still, when you’re happy you’re up, and when you’re blue you’re down. So you can see where the metaphor comes from that Heaven is up and Hell is down. But actually they’re both inside.
And no, that’s not religion. That’s psychology.
Anyway, along those lines, when I encounter an Atheist, 9 times out of 10 I’m looking at someone who shows obvious signs of being in Hell. I’m looking at someone who is seriously unhappy, loaded with resentment from perceived torture, filled with a need to lash out and destroy the state of Heaven others have managed to achieve . . . It’s not pretty.
Actually I know a lot of GBLT and Furry people who do exactly the same thing to themselves. People all over the world are languishing in a Hell of self-loathing simply for lack of realization that the great “I” can switch them to Heaven mode with a snap of his or her fingers.
It is literally no more complicated than the throwing of a switch. But because of religions and other types of platforms, like Atheism, most don’t realize that there is a switch, or a great “I” to throw it for them if they just ask him or her to.
As Doctor who would say, you just reverse the polarity of the neutron flow. Negative becomes positive. And the more people that do it, the better shape the world is in.
Right now the world is a total mess. Why is that? What is creating this tremendous pull to the negative side? Religion? Absolutely. Politics? No brainer there. Atheism? Right in there pulling down with the rest.
All these thousands of people all over the world looking to let someone else be the master of their Heaven or Hell switch, while totally ignoring the existence of the great “I.”
I suppose they just don’t have much faith in the great “I.” After all, the great “I” doesn’t get much notoriety. The great “I” doesn’t even have a church.
Ooops, the great “I” protests. “Did you not read in The Bible that the body is a temple?” he says.
Anyway, I have now rambled for 6 pages, allowing the great “I” to get all this stuff out of its system. Will Atheists take anything positive away from it, we don’t know.
The only thing I know for sure is that I’ve been in Hell mode for quite a while – even though the great “I” has been more than eager to switch me to Heaven mode. But at this point I’m tired of fighting with myself to stay in Hell. Go on. Flip the switch.
There, I am now in Heaven mode and feel much better. All the things in the world that trouble me are now meaningless. All hindrances to my productivity are gone. I can greet everyone with a smile because I feel great. And I wish no ill on anyone who may have done me wrong in the past.
It’s all in acknowledging that there is a power of some sort inside you that can change your perception of everything simply by the force of its will. Some people call this God, because they don’t know anything else to call it. Or, in my case, if I call it God, it’s simply for ease of communication with other people I’m talking to who are used to using the word “God.”
But not everyone who uses the word “God” is talking about an old man in a chair in the sky. Not everyone who uses the word “God” is un-scientific. The idea of God was never meant to be taken literally. It is a metaphor.
Yes, The Bible is total fiction. There is ample evidence to suggest that the earliest Christians were well aware that it was all fiction and campfire stories. What was real for them was the ideas that the metaphors represented. Therefore there was no need to prove anything. Did Jesus ever really exist? That was never important. That he was alive eternally in a story that tended to switch people into Heaven mode was all anyone really cared about.
And that is the answer to your question. The person who uses God as the inspiration which allows the great “I” to switch them to Heaven mode needs God. While at the same time the gay basher has a need for God to provide the state of inspiration that allows the great “I” to switch them to Hell mode.
You see, to these two individuals there are two different Gods, two different metaphors. And even if you could abolish the use of God as a metaphor for everything under the sun, humans would just create some other metaphor to replace it, and then continue to do exactly as they please, just as they always have.
Even the Atheist relies constantly on icons to rally around and draw inspiration from. And where would the Atheist be without God? Even as an icon of hate and derision, God is pivotal to everything the Atheist is.
I challenge any Atheist to test this theory. Go a whole month without saying or typing the word “God.” Go a whole month without thinking of God. No cheating by using anagrams for God or saying “you know who” and all that. I mean sincerely put God and religion out of your head for a whole month.
First, see if you can actually do it. And if you find that you can, take a look at what happens to your life in that time. I’m betting you’ll notice a marked improvement in your quality of life, due to the absence of your icon of negativity, and the more attractive things you get into to pass the time.
You may find that your life becomes Heavenly without God in it. Which may seem odd, because you will also surely find that you are no longer an Atheist. You’ll be just another person like myself who has learned to seek better investments for his time.
P.S. For those wondering about the picture above, it is the Patrick Moraz "I" logo, which is representative to me of my youth when I was a much more Inspired Imagineer. I'd have put the Tubular Bells logo there if it fit the concept of "I." The Idea being that one's mood or mental state can be changed simply by changing the record. The great "I" determines what goes on the record player. If the great "I" plays a lot of Pink Floyd, that brings on Hell mode. Yes albums are Ideal for bringing on Heaven mode.
Actually, when I was very young and scribbling my first notes for Spectral Shadows, I had given the project the working title "Impressions Of The Ommadawn" and doodled the "I" logo on the cover of my notebook. So it's really just the thing to splat across my mind when I'm down in the depths and looking for Inspiration to rocket me into Heaven mode.
Yes, back then I did write like this, capitalizing all the I words, because these I words were supposed to be alternate names for Ra, like Christian Scientists have a list of alternate words for God that goes something like "God is Incorporeal, Divine, Supreme, Infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." In a parody of sorts Ra was Idea, Identity, Intelligence, Imagination, Inspiration, etc., etc. You get the Idea.
I think I was actually going to have Praline teach that at some point. It remains to be seen if I will still use any of that stuff, but it was fun to revisit it after 30 odd years.
I do agree full heartedly with the first part of your speech, however I will take the advise and drop the part where you talk about the "I" part. At least in the context of speaking to the masses.
For you and I this kind of thing would work, for we are morale individuals, and I do also believe that a sound majority are. However, humanity is full of exceptions. There have been many murders in the name of "I"... or perhaps if "I" were God, then the devil would by "My".
If a narcissistic were to take that message and make but themselves their own judge and jury than they would turn the other way to the wrongs they commit. For "I" is good for "I" provided myself with the blessing I have right?
That's the reason I remain Theist and not just a symbolic theism. It makes me a more peaceful person to take it to heart that if someone wrongs me then there is no need to wrong them back, to take revenge, for they have already wronged themselves and did more damage to their future beyond this life than my own.
Though the criticism of Atheism (with a capital A) I would agree. Human institutions are flawed (including our own fandom) and many of the greatest historical figures pointed out those flaws while doing their own contributions that made them world renowned.
Unfortunately though, as time goes by people will forget that what made them great and all groups will tear the legacy apart and divide it up for their own agendas. The vicious cycle of human history.
Hellooo! Atheist here! 8^D How do you do?
I gotta laugh: I don't remember the last time I thought of God... unless you count Princess Celestia. Or SinFest (comic). I certainly don't spend my time denigrating religions. If you were to wave a magic wand and erase all religions, by this time tomorrow a thousand new religions would rise to take their place. Religion is a natural state of mind for most people. 8^) Quite beneficial too, when not used as a means to achieve social dominance and strife.
As for my tireless efforts to stifle artistic expression, take a look at broniesaremagic
and Ponyville-trot on Dreamwidth (I'm careful with the hypertext links, LJ does tend to stomp on replies with links). Yes, I know you are not too keen on this older demographic playing in what was intended to be a sandbox of little kids, but MLP:FIM has inspired so much talent!
Well, off to either: (1)dissect kittens, (2)burn bibles, (3)preen in front of the mirror, or (4)watch sure-to-be-awesome fan-made MLP cartoon Snowdrop on YouTube. If you chose (4), you win!
Rock on and keep using your noggin!