Monday, December 07, 2009

Once

"You only live once". It's an oft-repeated phrase, but is it accurate? If you had the option, would you choose to live again? I'm of the belief that we do, if we so wish. This has informed my life experience for well over a decade. To illustrate, here is a portion of a journal entry I wrote ten years ago this month (the full entry can be read here):

December 27, 1999

"My peace of mind lately has been interesting. I go to work, take the dogs out, have supper, watch some TV, take a bath, and go to bed. On weekends, I can do what I want. And all this is fine with me. I don't really feel that I am missing anything. When I have no places to go, my favorite things to do are to take a warm bath and lay down in bed.

In the past, I felt that I should go somewhere and meet people and such. Now, I don't really have the desire. This has to do with my laid-back attitude and the fact that I don't HAVE to do anything. There's nowhere I need to go, no one I need to see, no goals that absolutely have to be done.

I'm exaggerating a bit, but I do have a choice in all things. I choose to go to work. I choose to do virtually everything that I accomplish. Only rarely will I do anything that I don't want to. I remember as a youngster, my parents telling me from time to time that I would sometimes have to do things I don't want to. But I can't really recall the last time I did something that I really didn't want to at some level.

There is also the fact that I don't look at life as so many years and then you die. I know that I existed before I became Thomas **** and that I will continue to exist long after. So I may not be as compelled to have kids as others who think that all they get is one life and out. I know that I probably have had offspring in the past and/or the future, so having them right now is not necessary, although sometime in the next few years I may choose to do so.



Everything is now, and in this instant, I don't want to take care of a child. In the future, I may. In the future, having children is, like everything else, possible. But, in this instant, it is not a concern. Ask me about it next year.

That's all for now. It's almost 6pm. Time to take the dogs out, get a bite, get some gas, watch some TV, take a bath..."

47 comments:

Rocketstar said...

My question about reincarnation is always this: IF it is true (I have been presented no objective testable evidence that it is), what is it's purpose (especially if one does not remember their past lives)?

Thomas said...

Very good question, Rocket. Here is what I believe life is all about (taken from my favorite spiritual author's Wikipedia page):

"Knowing" and "experiencing" oneself are different things. Before creation there was only That-Which-Is, which cannot know or experience itself fully, without something it is not.

It cannot know itself as love, since nothing exists but love. It cannot know itself as giving since nothing else exists to give to. It cannot experience itself in myriad ways because everything is one.

This present creation, then, is established by and within God, so that sentience can exist which does not directly remember its true nature as God.

Split into infinite forms, all life can live, experience, and recreate its nature as God, rather than just "know" itself as the creator in theory.

It is essentially a game, entered into by agreement, to remember who and what we are and enjoy and create, knowing that ultimately there is no finish line that some will not reach, no understanding that is not without value, no act that does not add meaning to the future or for others.

We have a common interest in keeping the game going, for there is nothing else to do except to experience our existence and then experience more of it, to uncover deeper layers of truth and understanding.

There are no external rules, because all experience is subjective, and is chosen. But within this, there are ways that people will gradually come to see their thoughts, words, actions are either working or not working. A thing is either functional or dysfunctional.

These rememberings take place over "time" and can take hundreds and thousands of lifetimes.

Rocketstar said...

and in Englush that means....? ;o)

Dave said...

...but do we come back as humans again or is this the top of the reincarnation chain so-to-speak? What if we came back as a glow worms?

Thomas said...

Rocket, that's a quick overview. Metaphysics can be a difficult thing to grasp if you haven't been exposed to it much.

Dave, you wouldn't reincarnate as anything other than a human if you returned to Earth. And keep in mind that this is all voluntary. No one HAS to do anything.

Randy said...

You should read some DeCartes (I think, therefore I am).

My recollection (from a philosophy course I took 30+ years ago) was that he explored the whole concept of his existence. Do we really exist or is all this a dream?

You admit there is a god (or at least your favorite spiritual author does), wouldn't it be important to discover who he is and what his purpose is?

Thomas said...

Randy, I am also familiar with Descartes' work from a philosophy course I took in college. I actually took 3 or 4 of them and loved every one.

As far as my specific belief in God, I believe that She is there to assist us at any time, to help us through any difficulty we find ourselves experiencing.

One thing I like about my present belief system is that it addresses why some prayers appear to be answered while others are ignored.

A person may pray that an illness go away when in fact they, before they were born, chose to experience the infirmity. The mind doesn't understand this as it has a much more limited perspective than the soul.

Dave said...

Thomas, how can you be so sure? I have spent my whole life wondering if there is a god let alone which sex (if any) he/she is. Although I admit for a while there Kevin Smith had me convinced she was Alanis Morissette!!

I would like to believe but too many things muddy up the water.

Thomas said...

Dave, I also enjoyed the fact that Alanis Morissette was God in Dogma, a movie that came out just a few months before I wrote the journal entry excerpted in this post.

There are two main reasons why I believe what I do:

1. It makes sense logically.

2. Thousands have reported leaving their bodies and having extraordinary experiences.

I first read the accounts in college (starting with Raymond Moody's groundbreaking work "Life After Life") and they floored me. Up until that time, I was an agnostic.

If you'd like to do an investigation of your own, a good place to start would be:

http://www.nderf.org/

Randy said...

Dave and Thomas - you guys should start a hamburger chain. No wait, that one's taken. :)

On a serious note, I would ask, why do you get to decide what god is like? Doesn't that make you higher than god? And wouldn't that mean that god isn't god after all?

Seems to me that if god really is god, he (or she or it) would get to make the decisions. He (or she or it) would then tell us the Truth and give us His (or her or it's) opinion.

I only took the one philosophy course. As a 17 year old, it messed me up a little, but then I was more interested in girls, cars and drinking. College had it's normal share of mind expanding discussions (without chemicals for me). But it was only when I began seriously considering who god was that I began to understand. I went back to Descartes' "I think therefore I am" as the basis.

Rocketstar said...

Uh oh Thomas , we are starting to pile on... ;o)

"1. It makes sense logically."
-- Could you explain the logic a little more, why is it logicial?

"2. Thousands have reported leaving their bodies and having extraordinary experiences."
--- It is impossible to analyze exactly what happens in the brain when it is shutting down. All of the experiences are very similar which I think woudl point to the fact that they are all experiencing the same brain shutting down experience. This 'experience' in no way proves that a God exists or that there is an afterlife. After all, nobody has been dead and come back to life (other than for a few minutes). The brain shutting down and then re-starting after a couple of minutes woudl be an out of body experience, knd of liek dreaming. I think we've had this conversation before....

Dawn said...

Hmm... I haven't thought much about reincarnation because if it were true I'm not sure what bearing that has on my life now... especially because I don't remember past lives and in a new life I won't remember this life. I don't know... I get kind of tired of trying to figure all that stuff out.

Timothy Smith said...

"The more mystery is encouraged, the more deceit can impose upon the human mind."

Lemuel K. Washburn

Timothy Smith said...

http://atheists.org/quotes

Could read it all day.

Narkissos said...

aww......i'd rather be a glow worm :)
and yeah thomsy "in englist plz"....lol
randy: how do you think we do that? how do we know SHE actually exists? i have a theory, if SHE duz exist SHE's the cruelest entity ever......playing with our lives as SHE wishes, NO i'm not an atheist......just annoyed with the big guy.....:)
Dave: good point....which sex or race?
Thomsy: logically? really? give me one logic (in simple english plz) that god exists, or their's an after life or woteva...
yeah they spoke of extraordinary stuff.....like lights. tunnels and all those, no one sed he/she met god....eh?
randy: well isn't it very clever of god to give us tad of intelligence and unleash the wicked angel.....and then say thou shalt worship me.....i think it's a catch...so she can torture us in the after life (if there's any)again.....a sadist eh? she should've specified more on her appearance,motive etc......or appear once in a while to prove her existence, shudn't be a problem for her, she is the all mighty, most powerful...remember?

Thomas said...

Randy, thanks for the Dave Thomas remark. I guess we all have the choice on how we wish to view God or to simply believe that there's no such thing without some kind of proof.

Most who've had NDE's report an unconditionally loving presence and that's what I choose to believe in. I actually believe that in the end, we judge ourselves, not God.

When you brought up Descartes again, I couldn't help but think of the saying, "Never put the horse before Descartes (the cart).

I was in my early 20's when I took the philosophy courses so wasn't as distracted by hormones as I would've been a few years before.

Rocket, when I say it makes sense logically, I mean that I can't really find anything wrong with the theory. Instead of just being born for no reason, we chose this.

All the "bad" things that occur to us have purpose and will be revealed to us when we pass on unless we can decide what those meanings are beforehand.

Life is ultimately fair in this way since we agreed to go through these experiences.

You may need to look a bit closer at the NDE evidence as there are several cases very persuasive of the fact that something (the mind?) was hyper-alert as the brain was, as you say, shutting down.

Things where patients can see the doctors operating on them and knowing exactly what the discussion was while they were supposedly unconscious.

That doesn't prove God, but it is very persuasive in my mind to death not being the end.

Dawn, it's true that potential past lives wouldn't have much bearing on the life you're living now, but they do offer a possibility of explaining why people have phobias for no apparent reasons (Those afraid of flying could've died in an aircrash in a previous life).

Fay, what if I told you that all the circumstances of your life were created by you and the people close to you so that you might know yourself in a greater way?

If any of you aren't very familiar with NDE's, check out this detailed account about a man that was dead for more than an hour and a half and who actually brought back scientific discoveries:

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/reincarnation04.html

Timothy Smith said...

You were born because your parents had sex, a least thats the atheist point of view.

Not a very complex answer but at least its accurate.

Dave said...

See that's where I lost out, I have never done philosophy!

Now my head hurts :-\

Randy said...

"Never put the horse before Descartes (the cart)."

I like that. I'll see my former engineer turned psychologist brother this weekend, I'll share it with him.

Dave Thomas is one of my heroes, hence my joke.

You said that you think we all have our own view of god and that in the end we all judge ourselves. Doesn't seem like this kind of god is much of a god.

As a teenager, I visited a nearby state park, named Table Rock. The 4 hour climb to the top was mildly strenuous (I did it again at age 40, but not since). Once at the top you looked out over the city reservoir, facing Caesar's Head (a mountain with a face like Caesar) and "Stump Mountain". The story was that the Indians believed their god was so awesomely large, he would sit on the stump and eat off of the table rock.

It's hard for me to imagine a god any less awesome than that.

Narkissos, you asked how we know she exists. That's where Descartes started and where this subject started. Philosophy 101. He also addressed the cruelty issue, but that's stretching my memory cells. I know I settled all of that in my mind years ago and don't need to go back there..

Rocketstar said...

Thomas, that is a great idea. I will check this out and post about it, thaks for the idea and teaching me something new (maybe ;o) ).

Thomas said...

Tim, thanks for the atheist quotes link. I'll have to check them out. I agree that there's really no way to prove that there is a God.

No question I was born because my parents had relations at the beginning of 1970, but it's only human to look for meaning beyond that (even if it's not there).

Dave, if you're so inclined, might I recommend Philosophy for Dummies?

Randy, speaking of Dave Thomas, I ate at Wendy's today for the 3rd afternoon in a row. For $2.99, you can get a crispy chicken sandwich and either a fry, salad, or baked potato. You can't beat the price.

I would agree that God is awesome, but feel that we have more creative power than most realize. I also believe that there is no place in which God cannot be found which is why I've no real need to go to church.

A 4 hour climb at the age of 40 is not inconsiderable. Kudos to you on pulling it off.

Rocket, good for you. I look forward to your report. Hopefully, your brain won't shut down. :P

Narkissos said...

no, thomsy fay didn't create nothing.....don't even know if there's a lesser or greater fay!!!
say I did create those.......so what's you point buddy? what good will it do to me? what's so special about greater fay?......same ol body, same ol life, same ol sufferings! innit?
and yeah you're born cuz your parents had sex.....it's the fact! nothing more to it pal!

Thomas said...

Fay, those are good questions. It's quite possible there is nothing beyond this life. Just don't be fooled into believing that all you see is all there is.

A blind person may not believe there is such a thing as sight because he doesn't have the capability to see, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Timothy Smith said...

Just because there are things about the universe around you that you do not understand does not prove intelligent design.

There is no paranormal only what we understand and what we do not.

Not understanding something is not proof of the divine.

Thomas said...

Tim, I'm with you on the fact that there's no way to definitively prove the existence of God.

My question is, Do our five senses reveal to us everything that is actually occuring? Surely you don't think this is the case.

The human body is a fine machine, but to think that it has evolved enough that nothing escapes it would be ridiculous.

Quantum physics is showing that there is more out there than what we, in our limited perspective, can observe, so in some ways, it's actually backing what I believe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9aNl0J8-lo

Timothy Smith said...

Same thing all religious people say. "you might have proven everything we have said false and we will concede those facts but still, everything else you cant explain with science to this point is God"

But the Quantum scientists are by large and away Atheists. 93% of all scientists in the Academy of Science are atheists. Some say they consider the idea of God so stupid they dont bother calling themselves atheist. In science its a given.

The people that make the actual discoveries do not agree with your conclusions and I am guessing they know more about quantum mechanics then you do.

Please to not try and paint atheists as the ones that dont have an open mind and draw final conclusions. Thats you and anyone else that is religious at all. You draw conclusions first and look for evidence to back your claim. Its "anti-science"

There is known and unknown, if God exists something has to come along to at least support it in some small way. I will not surrender reason at the request of any other human being.

Just because you want somthing to be so does not mean it is so.

You can only say there is "unknown" in the universe. I can agree. When you take the leap by filling in gaps with fairy tales YOU happen to like I get lost.

Belief is easy, its mental lazziness. Question your belief and you are left with "I just want to believe" which really means spreading your word is more an ego thing like all religions. I am immortal, God watches me, I have a purpose and only I know the secret....follow me" Proof? How can one prove something that does not exists....wait....I mean...you have to have faith!

BS

Besides the fact there is unknown where is the proof again?

Timothy Smith said...

Another one I like:

"I've gone into thousands of
fortune teller's parlors, and
have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me
I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her."

-NYC detective

Thomas said...

And I agree with the idea of scientists being atheists as like I said, there's no way to prove there is a God.

One of the most fascinating things to me about quantum physics is the possibility of there being eleven dimensions. A BBC doc that explains this in detail can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d8zGx9gw3Q

I wouldn't say that you're not open-minded, only that, like Rocket, you may not have looked as closely into quantum physics and the characteristics and universality of near-death experiences as I.

I only reached the conclusions I did after examining the first-hand accounts people were having. In recent years, quantum mechanics has made me believe even more that there is much that our senses aren't privy to.

I don't necessarily want reincarnation to be the case. I'd much rather live once and be in heaven forever like many are hoping, but the accounts I've read speak to multiple lives.

I've no desire to change your or anyone's else's beliefs. I only know the piece of mind I have. If I die and there is no hereafter, I won't care. I lived my life without fear knowing that all is well, that everything is unfolding exactly as it should and that is a very reassuring thing.

Timothy Smith said...

Your last paragraph is known as pascals wager (might as well believe as you lose nothing if you are wrong).

I am very well read Tom so debate does not bother me at all.

I am glad you are reading science but you are still making huge leaps and assumptions on top of science to fill in the blanks. These assumptions, you all but admit are based on what you WANT the world to be.

Only us atheists do not share that trait which is how atheists discover the truth. We remove "what we want the conclusion to be" from our science.

If you do not....its not science its belief. Belief is far easier, requires no work but its still self delusion and intellectual deception.

I agree there is more out there then why currently know but I fid the truth more facinating then falling back on God to explain it all. Thats what we always do and ALWAYS get proved wrong.

You cant be smart and religious without being dishonest with yourself at some level.

Timothy Smith said...

"that everything is unfolding exactly as it should and that is a very reassuring thing."

As an Atheist I think everything is unfolding the way it has to according to the laws of nature.

Just as reassuring.

Thomas said...

The thing that convinces me most are the NDE experiences. Millons of people have reported them and even if they are just the brain dying, isn't it a comfort to know that we are led out of this life on such a loving note?

Scientists have actually wondered what the evolutionary purpose would be for such a thing as you would think the brain would wanna do all it could to stay alive as opposed to being soothed into letting go and heading towards the light.

Again, this isn't necessarily how I want the world to be, but it is what NDErs are telling us it is. And I'm not falling back on God as the cause in all this. It could be that the NDE is an evolutionary trait of being human. And don't think I'm against science. I am a complete believer in the evolutionary journey of man.

I would vehemently disagree that you can't be both smart and religious. Assume, for example, you had the following experience:

http://www.nderf.org/julie_n's_nde.htm

Would your worldview change?

Timothy Smith said...

Can you provide a link to this "science"?

My great aunt, my grandma and once when I was sick I also suffered from hypoxia. CO2 buildup in the blood. It can have a very drugged, calming, relaxing effect. In fact the day before I was put in the hospital my family thought I was getting better. My spirits were up, I had less pain, I felt drugged. I saw explosions of light whenever I closed my eyes. I felt as if I could float if I willed it hard enough.

The truth was my lungs could not expell CO2 fast enough. The doctor said everything I reported was normal in this case, in fact....common. I was dying.

You hand the unknown to religion. As science strips away and disproves your beliefs you simply look for more unknowns as proof of intelligent design. Thats how religion works.

But science always wins, religion always retreats.

Thomas said...

Here's an article I found about the coming together of science and NDE's:

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research08.html

Thanks for sharing the experience you had. I've no doubt that you could've left your body if you wished.

I still don't see, though, why you're discounting the experiences these people are having. You didn't answer my query on what you would do if this:

http://www.nderf.org/julie_n's_nde.htm

happened to you.

In addition, I don't see how you can call these "unknowns". They're what people are reporting. And some aspects of quantum psychics are showing how this could be. Did you not watch the BBC vid about alternate universes?

Timothy Smith said...

Whats the difference between that story and others making up stories to support their claims?

They are unknowns, just because someone says something does not mean its true. Thats why we have science,individual reason and skepticism. Right?

The experiences may be true to that person but the conclusion is speculation and belief, not science. Some people just need an answer, even if its total make believe.

I have seen nothing supporting paranormal actvities that can stand up to science.

There is a lot about the universe we do not know but thanks to atheists much of it will get figured out in time.

Considering what happens in the brain during death these experiences do not surprise me. I also did LSD when I was young and that was about as paranormal and strange as it gets. I cant explain how it felt but it was very real, very profound and almost religious in nature.

But alas.....it was just a chemical.

Another thing I find interesting is not only are the worlds top scientists atheists but so are the worlds top illusionists and magicians.

I do not doubt the possibility of other universes. I just doubt that humans are special and play some higher role then every other species and we have a God in our own image handing out candy (immortality) in exchange for not believing but simply saying you do and telling others how to live their lives.

I doubt things are so lame, so simple, so hokey. Only humans with our huge egos and laziness could come up with the concept of GOD. Only humans are so selfish we figure we must be immortal and have a higher purpose.

"some aspects" of course Tom, You have formed a conclusion and now look for bits of real science to back it up. I choose to look at all the evidence and form a conclusion based on facts despite the fact it may not be what I want to hear. Be aware of your own minds ability to form strong belief systems and close your mind without you knowing.

Belief and faith are easy, they require less thought.

Bush claimed he talked to God, does that mean he did? Well in my book two choices:

He lied (most likely)
He is delusional

I bet you would agree but if I change Bush to Tom and change talked to God to whatever your experiences are they become true? I doubt it.

I am not asking a fiend for proof of God, just proof that your beliefs have any more merit then anything else.

Atheists all agree with each other, we were here first and will easily be around after all religions are gone. Even if the universe does contain MILLIONS of beings as smart as us you can only count on atheism being universal. Even on earth the more educated you are, the higher your IQ the more likely you become atheist before death.

Look up suicide, divorce, rape etc etc. Why is it atheists live better lives and do less harm? Really Tom, you can verify those facts if you want but can you answer why that is? Is it possible the truth is always best and the atheists have found it?

Hope I did not offend, thats why I like chatting with you. We can take the gloves off knowing any disrespect is not intentional.

Thomas said...

No offense taken. I agree that just because someone says something, it doesn't mean it's true.

But after reading hundreds of cases, it's hard not to be moved. Atheists are having these experiences as well, so it isn't a simple case of wish fulfillment.

Einstein said "All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it."

I also don't believe that humans are special and am of the opinion that all beings live forever.

You say I'm looking for science to back up my beliefs, but how are you not doing the same?

Do I talk to God? Not generally as I have no need to. My beliefs have no more merit than yours and this is as it should be as we're all making it up anyway.

I agree that atheists, in general, do less harm, but my philosophy isn't one based on harming people, anyway. Love is the thing I wish most to project in life.

Let me give you an example now of how the current scientific paradigm is failing us.

Take the case of NDE's in which people see things taking place far away from where their bodies are, things that are verified later:

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/evidence02.html

Old-school science is not able to explain this. However, if the M-theory (there are 11 dimensions)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-theory

is instituted, you have a possible explanation (the NDE experiencer received the info in question from one of the other dimensions).

Timothy Smith said...

I dont argue NDE themselves Tom. I think we actualy agree on something here. Alternate universes? Fine, those are becoming theory and are scientific.

Like I said before.

There is what we know and what we dont know.

People think the "what we dont know" is the work of God.

I see it as shit we just have not figured out yet. Some of it I am sure we never will.

None of this proves there is a God or even a purpose for life. Science has proven there does not have to be intelligent design for matter to be organized with complexity. All scientific evidence indicates there is no creator.

Not only are they our species brightest people but the most unbiased in there research holding it up high to be challenged.

Why would it be that the more you know the less likely you are to believe in God? That is a fact, but why?


"The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul
without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning."

einstein

Thomas said...

I've mentioned a number of times on this page that there is no way to prove the existence of God.

"The more you know, the less likely you are to believe in God. That is a fact."

I don't believe that's the case, referencing the below video by a Ph.D doctor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9aNl0J8-lo

If there's some research out there that says otherwise, please post it for me.

Timothy Smith said...

Higher education results in a lower belief in God. Do a quick search yourself:

http://www.muslimwestfacts.com/mwf/109123/Belief-God-Far-Lower-Western-US.aspx

Taken from one the gallup polls on the subject.

I realize you found one guy, but read the comments on his post. Having PHD does not make one scientific.

This guy thinks its higher IQ because higher IQ people go to college more:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/256025/Study_Suggests_Higher_Intelligence_Decreases_Belief_In_God

I dont think thats the case its just higher education in general.

Those were the first two hits, I can provide much more if needed.

Look up atheism at the Academy of Science. 93% are not religious.

My guess....a few PHDs in there.

Just read the comments of your expert they bring up good points.

He mentions SOME science and the rest are claims I could not verify online at all. Most of it is just his belief tied to findings. Even the youtube users took this guy apart.

Even with a PHD you need proof and evidence to back ALL your claim.

Timothy Smith said...

Go to google and type Dean Radin debunked.

Read the comments on youtube or do the above, plenty of reviews and forums discussing his well....beliefs.

But there is nothing there. His coin flipping when reviewed and placed in the rhealm of actual science did show heads came up 50.02% of the time.

oooooooh, must be a God.

Come on, you have to research WHERE this information is coming from and first ask WHY almost every other scientist says his methods are flawed.

The defense "but his ideas are cool" does not trump science at all.

His conclusions cannot be supported by scientists WITHOUT his agenda.

But if you draw the conclusion first you can find some data in actual science to bend to your liking. He is not the first. Even Creationist can do this to some degree.

Timothy Smith said...

http://www.skepdic.com/refuge/radin1.html

Quack. Read the whole review and he even has some great links after the review.

Radin is not a serious scientist, never was.

Like all believers he came up with a conclusion first and shaped experiments and other peoples research to mold to it. Thats not science.

To take a Carl Sagan quote out of context and say that Carl was admitting paranormal/God is dishonest in the extreme.

Carl was a atheist.

Thomas said...

Thanks for finding those links. I agree on the necessity of proof and evidence.

I look forward to the day when verifiable NDE's can properly be explained by conventional science though I don't see it happening soon.

It will be interesting to see if the percentage of atheists continues to go up in the coming years.

Rocketstar said...

I've enjoyed the back and forth and to answer your question Thomas, yes, I think the % of Atheists will continue to grow as we enter the 'age of reason'. Jesus etc... will eventually fall to the way side just like Zeus, Mythra and the thousands of other Gods have.

Timothy Smith said...

Sad isn't it. The age of enlightenment is marked by a step back from religion and the most religious times in human history are known as the "Dark Ages".

Dark of course is the backward progress, the loss of knowledge of those times.

Imagine the world if we could go back and stop the Spanish Inquisition. If we could only stop religion from purging the brightest and bravest minds of that generation.

Over the centuries I wonder how far that set us back as a species. Or the loss of diversity from erasing the cultures of the western hemisphere in the name of God or the liquidation of the most educated minds in Europe during WWII. Slavery?

All sanctioned if not carried out by the church. (Hitler did the killing in WWII but the church supported him).

Imagine a world where woman were always considered equal. All those bright minds that could have helped humanity, even religious ones made to take a back seat to superstition.

In a pure atheist world I would be boarding my starship for a inter-stellar journey instead of living in a war filled toxic dump of a planet where everyone hates each other and science is taboo.

Sound far fetched? Really think about the result of killing those that showed individuality and reason at such an early stage of civilization. Its the few such people that have given us so much, imagine if we had more, imagine if those minds could reproduce or even have the opportunity to thrive like Einstein.

Just think of where we could have been. Thousands of possible Einsteins, maybe hundreds of thousands by now.

Not only is there no proof of God but no proof the belief in God has done anything but hold humanity back.

Atheism is on the rise but for how long I have no idea. High school drop out rates are over 30%. That generation will likely find God as it ages. America is in trouble.

I need to move to Sweden I guess. Sky high education levels have produced atheist numbers around 85%!

Sucks watching other nations kick ass and take names in the name of science and we still kill in the name of God.

Oh well. Good news Tom. The afterlife or lack thereof I preach of you are just as entitled to as I.

Thomas said...

Rocket, I can't say I'd mind if Jesus were at least de-emphasized. A few weeks ago, when my lady was out of town, I was looking into possibly going to a house of worship if only to socialize a bit and meet some new people.

Looking in the phone book, virtually every organization was Christ-centered. Now I'm an admirer of the guy, but Christ, there has to have been someone who has been just as inspiring in the intervening years. How about a woman for a change?

Timothy, doesn't it suck to have a Biblical name? I do as well. Who knows, maybe Rocket does as well...

I agree that religion is probably more trouble than it's worth and that it would probably be better if more of the world were atheist assuming they live by a high moral code.

I'm automatically against any organization that doesn't give equal rights to women (Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.)

Also any religion that preaches separation or that theirs is the only way is a nush-nush in my mind.

I've also thought about living in Scandinavia and not just because of the hot guys that live there.

You are also just as entitled to whatever comes after (if there is such a thing) as I.

Timothy Smith said...

"You are also just as entitled to whatever comes after (if there is such a thing) as I."

Hence why I have always said I respect your beliefs on God more than most. It seems more "healthy" by dropping the guilt factor.

I don't mind the name. I believe in the use of somewhat common names. Most of the best ones come from the bible.

Many MANY woman have come since Jesus that are far greater role models and have done much more for us. Religion is why you don't hear about it as much. Religion keeps woman down as you know and the victors write history, not the defeated.

Susan B. Anthony is a great example.

This sums up all believers in my opinion and is the biggest problem with a "god" in anyones life:

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always
coincides with their own desires.

Susan B.

Thomas said...

That's a great quote, but there are God-centered belief systems out there that are making a positive impact on the world.

I'm referring mostly to inclusive ones that speak of unity, that we're all in this together, that no one is better than another, and so on.

http://humanitysteam.org/

Timothy Smith said...

They have to adapt to survive. Its not a new trend. Some day your system will water itself down further to survive and you will become a fundie if you do not change with the times.

So it is with religion.

"The theist and the scientist are rival interpreters of nature. The one retreats as the other advances."

All being in this together is a given for the atheist. Atheists simply add "this is it, make the most of it"