The following is a back and forth dialogue carried on between two Word Press bloggers. I am the pony, I respond to the dog’s writings. Who the dog is does not matter, though regular readers may realize which blogger I am referencing. The who does not matter, it is the ideas expressed that are important. The originals have been proofread for ease of reading, but because I am such a bad typist I will probably not catch them all. My one promise is to do my best to not take passages out of context. I will try to keep this series as close to honest as I can. It started with this from the original post:
DOG “The question [is] simple and innocuous enough: is a child born with an innate sense of God, or in a broader sense, the numinous? I suppose the question was custom-made to being hijacked mostly by atheists, and I should have been a bit more wary to even try to wade on the shore of that stream. The water was acid on my bare feet.
I’ve never liked atheism. I tried it for a few years and I found it to be a dead religion, devoid of awe, beyond short-lived awareness of pretty sunsets, flowers and waterfalls, perhaps the enjoyment of sex; devoid of joy, since true joy can only be known on that spiritual plane atheists abhor and denigrate every chance they get.
Essentially, you are born to die. You can be no more than a superior intelligent animal and all accomplishments are but the results of a pointless evolution which cannot lead anywhere since there is no continuity beyond a mindless material level. There is no purpose to life beyond propagating itself, again, for no purpose. Though atheism denies “luck”, that being a spooky goddess we do not speak of in fear of losing our atheist badge, in its philosophy everything is happen-chance.
Self-professed atheism is a recent phenomenon, at least in the Western White Christian World, stemming mostly from deliberately misinterpreted works of Charles Darwin and his speculations on species adaptation which he called natural evolution.”
So began our conversation. It was not directed to me personally, but when I read it, I had a need to respond. The following begins my response:
PONY “It is naysayer time, and I say “Nay!” to you. I am a SPIRITUAL ATHEIST. I do not believe in any god, or any super-being of any kind. Children are NOT born with any idea of a god within them. All gods or super-beings are human inventions, and can only be sustained by authoritarian brainwashing. I know. I was brainwashed as a child. But my mind was too strong to allow that brainwashing to persist as I grew older, and became able to think for myself. I undid that brainwashing, and now I am free to look for myself.
You can call atheism a religion all you want, but it is not contiguous one atheist to the next. Yes, many atheists deny the existence of a spirit, but NOT ALL ATHEISTS DENY SPIRITUALITY! There are a good number of us around, but we are not a group. We don’t need others to give us our strength. We find that strength wherever we can, and from my experience, most of us find it in ourselves. But that is our choice, and no one else’s.
I would love to see a religion, any religion, make that claim for itself. None can. Religion can only be learned from outside the self. Nothing is innate, except breathing and eating. And both of those are biological processes. They do not come from the mind.
You talk about evolution, and how it is a progressive sequence of being. We started out on earth as one-celled creatures. Did those creatures believe in a god? Not impossible, but highly unlikely. One-celled beings became two-celled beings. Did they believe in a god? Again, highly unlikely. Two-celled beings became three-celled beings became ten-celled beings became 37.2 billion-celled beings (the number of cells in an average adult human being). When did gods come into the picture? The cells that make up our bodies today are identical to the cells that existed 4 billion years ago, give-or-take a few 100 million. When did gods appear? We don’t know about other species, but for humans gods first appeared when early humanoids learned about fear. First they feared nature, and tried to placate it. Then someone invented gods, and taught others to fear those gods to the inventor’s favour. The rest is history.
But, spirit is a whole nother matter. One-celled beings had a connection to each other, and that connection was life, or spirit. Every being from those first one-celled beings have had that same connection–life, and that life is spirit. Today, our 37.2 billion cells have life, and they have spirit. Through them we have life, and we have spirit. Every living being everywhere on our plane of existence has life, and every living being anywhere has spirit. Spirit is what connects every one of us to every other one of us. Not just humans to humans, or sentient beings to sentient beings. All brings to all beings! Life is connected to life!
DOG “Hey rawgod, good response. So, as with religionists, there are many different kinds of atheists. However, one reacts or responds to the most vocal and “stick-together” types who form self-supporting groups on social media, for example, using the same pattern of demagoguery as their estranged brothers in the faith.
PONY “If you only take note of the loud-mouths, you cannot understand the essence of a thing. That would be like only listening to Trump on what it takes to be an American. Would that be a good thing to base your knowledge on? I would bet that if you give an honest answer, it would be an outright, absolute “NO!” So why would you do that with atheists? Believing Trump would be the easy way out, but truth is seldom easy to come by.”
DOG “Why would I listen to demagogue atheists and not the rank and file? Because, as in all other “isms” only the loud-mouths are heard. The rest go on about their lives mostly unaware of what they believe, or not, and most of their thoughts have already been formed by those very same demagogues. If you’re looking to dialogue, you can’t respond to something that doesn’t express an opinion.”
PONY “I am asking you to respond to me, as the only representative of my brand of spiritual atheism. I have no knowledge of what others are saying about their brand of atheism, nor can ANYBODY BUT ME say anything about my brand of atheism. If you want to respond to those others, please do not make me appear to be part of them.”
DOG “You claim to be a spiritual atheist, which would be a total contradiction if I didn’t make the effort to understand that you do not reject some sort of “spirit” world or connection for yourself, but you definitely reject the idea of a particular male God as a super-being who created all things out of nothing and who demands abject servitude, worship and desires to be prayed to even if he never deigns reply/respond to any such prayers. So you are also a kinda-sorta agnostic-atheist, picking and choosing what fits, what doesn’t? A lot of atheists would take strong exception to that, I think, based on my own experiences with Neo-Darwinians.
PONY ‘Do I pick and choose what fits and what doesn’t? Definitely not. I look inside myself to see what is there. No super-being is inside me, nor is there any reason to believe there is a super-being outside of me. The truth of this matter, for me, is there is no reason to even consider there is a super-being anywhere. As long as I look only inside myself to see what is there, I see nothing to even suggest looking to see if there is a super-being anywhere. Such are the stuff of comic magazines and religious organizations. Even as I said to you in my above comment, there is no god in a new-born baby until some authority figure puts it there.
[Newly added–To start, there is no conflict between atheism and spirituality. Atheism is merely a lack of belief in a god or gods or pantheons of gods. Spirituality, as I use it, and as Wikipedia defines it, is centered on the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” And the deepest value by which I live is the spiritual connection between all living beings. And if by spirit world you are talking about angels, ghosts, and demons, yes, I do not believe that spirit world exists. But if you are talking about a plane of existence outside known reality, though NOT in any religious way, then that I do accept, and, of necessity, believe in a spiritual world. As for any super-being, deity, or theity, as I just said, there is no reason to even think there is such a one.]
DOG “Like me, you were brought up to believe in a “super being” who knows all, sees all and is much more likely to punish than to reward. Like me, you rejected that concept but unlike me, it would seem you did not pursue the reasoning why any sane person (85% of the world’s population believes in this character, worships it, sacrifices to it and stakes its future upon its dubious mercy-are they all automatically certifiable, and we 15% the only possibly sane on this world?) would continue the charade.
PONY “Ah, but I did take a good, long, hard look at those 85% who believe in some type of deity or otherwise super-being. You probably won’t see that in my writing because I didn’t find anything there to give me a foothold to remain believing in deities. It (the concept) does not exist IN MY PHILOSOPHY, so why bother with it. But what I did do is realize that those who follow deist or theist religions, or even those who deny the religion but keep the theity or deities, are merely on a different part of the spiritual journey that is life. To understand religion, or belief in gods, you must believe in them yourself. You must be a part of that community. I was born a part of that community. But a time came when that community ceased to function for me, so I threw it away. But, did I throw all babies out with the bathwater? Not right away. I looked into other Abrahamic religions like Judaism, Mohammedanism, and the many other branches of Christianity, into non-Abrahamic religions such as voodoo, witchery, druidism, devil-worship, and so on.”
DOG “I [began] unravelling the reasons for man to insist on having a god. It came down to [the] realization that “god”, while not a super being, does exist. Therein lies the rub. Denial is fine and dandy, and that is what atheism is.
PONY [Newly added–Atheism is not “Denial,” to deny something would be to give it value, or credence. Theism is based on a fallacy. Atheism does not consider the fallacy.]
DOG “[Atheism] doesn’t seek to unravel the cause of belief in a god, it just wants to bury the concept within a purely materialistic life. Declaring something non-existent because I can’t prove scientifically that it exists is childish. What constitutes evidence? On this world, it’s whatever those in power decide is evidence. The rest of us just better shut up if we disagree, or pay the price for being mavericks. Denying the existence of something because it is determined that the “something” doesn’t live up to certain claims made for it is an error. That thing still exists, it just doesn’t perform according to our beliefs about it. Someone could claim that a “Smart car” can pull a trailer of hay bales normally assigned to a semi. Saying that the Smart car doesn’t exist when it fails to deliver is faulty reasoning. So… God exists, outside the propaganda. What is god then? Apart from the dubious claims made by 85% of the population, from observation and study of non-approved research, we can deduce that “god” was/is an alien character, or a group of alien characters, who once lived on this world. We can deduce that Homo Sapiens are not a product of evolution, but indeed the result of a deliberate act of “vandalism” perpetrated upon a humanoid species that once lived here; the cloning of a slave race to serve the aliens. We can deduce this by looking at the many constructs that continue to baffle and intrigue and over which so much ridiculous speculation and pronouncements have been made. Of course if we want to remain either proper fundamentalist religious people, or fundamentalist Neo-Darwinians, we can mock and denigrate all observations, and all recorded research that has gone into unravelling our pre-historical but relatively recent past. We can also mock and denigrate anyone who has taken the trouble to “travel” into the past and into the future and taken a serious look at the social workings of the universe and not just those of one insignificant little world on the edge of nowhere.
As I have stated before, I have done such travelling. Through one NDE, I encountered entities/beings/aliens who had interesting things to teach about universal happenings. For example, the existence of Time Lords. On earth (‘Oh Please! Pure fantasy!) such ideas are immediately confined to looney bin thinking. But I was taught a truly neat way through the denials based on lack of information and mostly deliberate mis–, and dis–, information and misdirection, and that is, “Believe all things, believe IN nothing.” That which rules sentient worlds chooses to hide, and for good reasons. Another good source of information is the very book that portends to speak for God: the Judeo-Christian writings themselves. The more truth you can put in a lie, the more effective will be the lie. The Bible is a massive piece of lying propaganda but the reason it remains the number one best seller is how much truth is used to cement the lie. So, I went into it looking to find how the cement was used. Here’s a very telling quote from a letter to the Ephesians:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
So, who are “rulers, authorities, powers”? What are spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms? I know what the intent of the statement is, but what if I choose to follow the bouncing ball in a different direction than the writer expected? What happens if I discover, not what he hoped I would deduce, but the actual truth behind his words? Trouble! God is a Time Lord. Time Lords are spiritual forces of evil outside of Earthian awareness. Ergo why organized religions always, without fail, promote evil while disguising themselves as fronts for a benevolent “super being” as you call it. To properly engage the history of Time Lord control of this universe would mean developing an entirely new cosmology, a little beyond my abilities at the moment and beside, I doubt that I’d get anywhere with it for obvious reasons.
All that may seem off topic but not to me. I like foundations to any claim. I like evidence, not necessarily of a physical nature. I need to KNOW. You state/claim there is no “god in a new-born baby until some authority figure puts it there” and you could not be more, and crucially in error. It is not a living super-being entity that is present (not in the new born actually, but in the foetus hence, and note: the totally irrational religious fundamentalist doctrine of protecting the unborn!) That is what the Teachers explained is in fact the soul implant; the controlling apparatus that determines what a pseudo-human will accept as truth, and what it will automatically reject. Apart from that however, there is also the spirit aspect that accompanies life. That is the thing even the Time Lords could not remove from their sentient slaves. No spirit, no life.
That much I know so far.”
PONY [Newly added–All fine for you, and those who have the same and/or similar experiences. But most people on this world, I would venture less than 1% of 1% of the world’s population, have any such experience to go on.]
But, [for myself, returning to my previous comment] I found no resonance in other Western or African religions with what was in my heart and mind, and especially my spirit. So I turned to Eastern religions and philosophies, and almost immediately discovered there some very attractive theories, particularly the theory of reincarnation.
As I just wrote in a comment to someone else, I had already concluded that Abrahamic religions were impossible to live without committing their brand of sin at least once in an entire lifetime, so [as a child] I postulated practice lives, where a human could live over and over in an attempt to learn how to live the perfect life. But when I broke away from the religion that I was spoonfed as a child, I forgot all about practice lives… Until I discovered reincarnation. That was exactly what I had been looking to find in Occidental religions, but never could find.
At that time the biggest Oriental religions were Buddhism, Hinduism, and Zen Buddhism. Regretfully, I somehow missed Jainism, but not finding it then probably meant my move beyond Tibetan Buddhism, the style of Buddhism I finally chose to follow, may have taken longer to arrive at. Now, please do not think I didn’t give TiBu a good chance, because I did. I studied under a rinpoche, one of those who were at a level next below to the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of all Tibetans. He was an excellent teacher, and I learned a lot about life from him. I daresay my spiritual consciousness lifted itself many levels under his care. But one day I found the chink in the armour of TiBu, and the rinpoche and I had a horrible argument in front of his other acolytes, and I could not stay in his presence. There was a thing I believed that he did not, nor did 10,000 years of his predecessors. Not even the Bhudda left any words to say it that I could find, if even he considered it noteworthy. At last I was on my own, and I was able to shine with my own inner light. I was over religions, over deities, over most earthly philosophies but my own. And I was not lonely.
DOG [A requote] “Denial is fine and dandy, and that is what atheism is. It doesn’t seek to unravel the cause of belief in a god, it just wants to unravel the cause of belief in a god, it just wants to bury the concept of god within a purely materialistic life.”
PONY “Is this question for real? It shows absolutely no understanding of the concept of atheism. It is equivalent to Trump saying the Democrats are the reason for separating immigrant children from their parents. But I will answer it anyway.
Atheism is not about a convenient choice to ignore the concept of god in order to have fun without consequences in this particular lifetime. Okay, maybe it is for some, I cannot speak for them. Most atheists I know started out as religious, but turned away because their minds or spirits were not fulfilled by either what religion had to offer, or a god had to offer. Most are atheists because they fought the long hard battle, and came out of it standing alone. They started as an army of 1, and they ended as an army of 1. They looked at the millions around them they had massacred in effigy, and they stood proud, unafraid, relieved, and a little fatigued. But they stood victorious.
However, as many religious victors would have done after winning great battles, they did not pillage, rape, and plunder. Atheists walked to the bottom of the mound of (figurative) dead theists, and then slept the sleep of the weary. There was no rejoicing, no bending of their conciousnesses, possibly not even a smile. But it was over. For some…
DOG [A requote] “We can deduce that Homo Sapiens [as a species] is not a product of evolution, but indeed a result of a deliberate act of “vandalism” perpetrated upon a humanoid species that once lived here.”
PONY “You can deduce that, a few myths and some totally amazing bits of architecture might even support that deduction, but fossil records put the lie to the statement that evolution did not cause Homo Sapiens to appear on this earth. The thing is, I could have an easier time proving that Jesus did not spend 40 years in the desert, but he did spend a lot of time learning at the feet of buddhist teachers in India, or Persia, IF HE DID INDEED EXIST. The clues, if you care to look, are many. Most don’t want to look at them. But, yes, I for one have looked (indirectly) at Stonehenge, and the Pyramids, and a lot of other such constructions, and while the feats were definitely unworldly, they were still within the realm of human capability. Further, if such constructions were designed by alien engineers, why did they use such crude building blocks? Surely, with their technology, they could have sliced mountainous rocks into mirror-smooth blocks that fit perfectly together. The building blocks of said architecture show evidence of being made with crude contemporary tools. Were the aliens so cruel as to make their slaves take years to do what they could have done in minutes? This does not fit, for me.”
Thus ends part one of my conversation with my fellow blogger. Hopefully I will get the next part done soon, and hopefully I can throw in an analysis. Till then, keep on keeping on…