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I hope you find this relevant considering the time and attention devoted to religion in our politics and public discourse.  People claim to have revelations all the time about god and from god.  This is one of the definitions of revelation, something that is revealed by God to humans or the revealing of a divine truth, i.e. from god.   This is a revelation about no god, from no god.  

APPRECIATE
To recognize the quality, significance, or magnitude of
To be fully aware of or sensitive to; realize
To be thankful or show gratitude for.

Appreciation
sensitive awareness; especially: recognition of aesthetic values ...
http://www.merriam-webster.com/...

Just want to make sure we are on the same page.  This is always the order of the definition for appreciate in good dictionaries.

In the words of Buffalo Springfield, “For what it’s worth”.

below the squiggle we go

The student’s job is to ask the questions.
notdarkyet
Shortly before my husband, Skip, died I had the flu and was deathly sick for two weeks.    I spent the first twelve hours in the bathroom vomiting, sweating, freezing, curled in a ball on the cold floor before the toilet, when I wasn’t bent over it.  I did not eat for days, food smelled horrid.  I slept in the living room.  I would not sleep with him for fear of making him sick (I knew he wasn’t well).  I forced myself to drink herbal tea, my only nourishment for ten days.  It was a Sunday, two weeks, later when I could finally sit in the sun and breath without those horrible smells, and realized I was getting better.  Tears ran down my cheeks.  Skip asked me why I was crying, and I said, “Because it all made me realize what you mean to me.”  (This after almost 26 years together.)

There is something about deathly sickness, being at your lowest physically and mentally, that brings insight.  Is it because all of our defenses are gone?   I don’t know why, but I know it is true.  It has happened to me before.  Skip was summed up in this revelation in my sickness, this brush with death.  I realized it was not just my love for him and what that, and he, meant to me, or his worth for the person he was, but for what he stood for: appreciation, strength, courage, growth, compassion, love, kindness, nature.  A way to live life.  I have never known another person that could be so good and so happy.  I don’t think I ever heard him say a critical word about anyone, not even those who deserved it.  I already loved and was devoted to him.   And then to lose him right after.  He died a month later.  My truth snatched from me just when I realized its true value and how much I appreciated him.  Is this the way of all truth?  Once we grasp it, it is gone?  Can the highest note linger forever, pure, in your ear?  Can it be recalled faithfully the way it was played?  I wished after that, that I had died then.

Therefore the sage works without recognition.
He achieves what has to be done without dwelling on it.
He does not try to show his knowledge.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

I read (twice, to see if I missed something)The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, and it kept going on and on about the ancient mysteries, all the greatest thinkers and scientists, the profound writers and philosophers, all the ancient holy books and adepts and masters, and its message seems to be:  the words have been left to show us the way.
It (the Lost Symbol) had a first printing of 6.5 million (5 million in North America, 1.5 million in the UK), the largest in Doubleday history. On its first day the book sold one million in hardcover and e-book versions in the U.S., the UK and Canada, making it the fastest selling adult novel in history.[5] It was number one on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover fiction[6] for the first six weeks of its release, and remained there[7] until January 24 of the following year.
The popularity of this book shows the hunger in the public for some kind of easy information and path to knowledge that many have spent their lives searching for, and sometimes, finding.  They want it handed to them in a novel that takes only a few hours to read.  I am going to attempt to give it to you in a few minutes.

Many people have gotten lost in the words and spent their lifetimes trying to understand or decipher them, to find some meaning or revelation that has not, or has already, been found in the millenniums since they were written, whether the early Greek philosophers, the Bible, The Talmud, The Koran, the Upanishads, The Tao (Skip’s favorite, maybe, because it was so primitive) etc, etc.  Some people spend their lives reading, writing and searching one book, or all, endlessly, for wisdom, clues, how to be spiritual, how to find God, what we are here for , the meaning of life, like it hasn’t been done time and time again by thinkers, seekers (and much better minds) before them.  Dissecting, defining and pondering over the meaning of the words.  Searching, thinking, talking, reading.  Never learning anything that someone else didn’t already know centuries before. (Some end up just making up stuff, like the secret language of god some Jewish scholars think they have found by computer searches in the Bible.)

(I asked Skip this question, “Why do you think we are here?” He said, “To appreciate.”)

Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of the Tao.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

Skip was my search, my master, my book, much as Buddha was for those that followed him. Those who knew Buddha loved him, too.   I do not say this lightly.  You would have to know all he had studied, traveled and gone through, and who he was, to understand.  He had learned something.  He saw something I did not see.   Maybe I could learn it, see it, too, by being with him. (Buddhism is not a religion.  Buddha said, “I am not god.”  It is a way to live in the here and now with as little suffering as possible, and as much happiness as possible.  It is a discipline.  It is about mastering the self, thoughts, words and actions.  Its goals are attainable by anyone.  When you learn to master the self, you create less chaos, unhappiness, suffering and pain, in and around you.  Buddhist methods, yoga, breathing, diet, meditation, were the only ones I ever heard Skip advocate to me, and others, ones that he had studied and followed for many years.  But, he said he was not a Buddhist.  He saw it as a way to help people and alleviate their suffering, from the pain, that is inevitable with life. Which is Buddha's lesson.  Minimize suffering.  Increase happiness.   He knew that I suffered and felt a lot of pain from life and seeing others suffer, physical, mental and spiritual.  This method, at least, is practical to life.)

The conclusion of The Lost Symbol, (sort of, Brown backs away at the last second):

The ancient mysteries are supposed to be instructions for how to harness the latent power of the human mind...a recipe for personal apotheosis.  They are about the god within you not the god above you.   Each of these texts says, “know ye not, that ye are Gods?”.  The Buddha said, “You are God yourself.”  Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is within you.”  Hippolytus said, “Abandon the search for God, instead take yourself as the starting place.”   The only difference between you and God are that you have forgotten you are divine”, says Peter Solomon in the book(one of Brown's little cop outs).  Brown runs away at the very end, the last two pages, of the book, his book, from the logical conclusion:  There is no god.  

I thought about how Skip had read all these books, studied all these people, books, and religions, through many years, and a personal journey that lasted ten years, including two years wandering from wilderness to wilderness.  I have always thought he was the most enlightened person I have ever known.  He knew something, some secret, I had yet to find.  He was someone I could learn something real from.  He believed in things you can’t see or know.  He saw wonder and possibility.  The mystery.  The worlds yet to be created.

And if quantum physics shows us anything, it shows us how little we really know.  It has called into question our whole history of knowledge, our order of the universe that we had so neatly wrapped up in a package, up to, and including, Einstein.  Even mathematics is a human construct. There are no perfect squares, lines or circles in nature.  Our minds are developed only to deal with our surroundings that we can see, experience and know, and even then not very well.  Our limitations are physical, although we have developed tools better than our senses to help us gain knowledge.  We are meant to live on this, our planet, though we reach for the stars.  We always want what is out of our grasp, distant lands, what we can’t have, ignoring the gifts before us.

Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

So while reading this book, I kept thinking, why did Skip not try to teach me what he knew?  Why, when I brought up the books and masters he studied and tried to discuss them, or others did, he would quote them and make relevant points but never said “you should read this...”  or never said “follow this or that book or this or that person”.  If I did ask pointedly, I was always trying, why did you not follow this book or that person or teaching? He would say, “Because it did not grab me.”  

 I asked him one time why he did not share more of what he had learned and believed, and he said it was because everyone is on their own path to knowledge and will find the answers, the knowledge, on the point of the path when they are ready for them.  The old, “you can bring a horse to water” saying.  But it is true.  You cannot tell people something until they are ready to hear it, otherwise they just don’t listen.  It goes in one ear and out the other.  Why waste your breath and throw words to the wind, it will only blow them away.  We never recognize truth or knowledge until we have already learned it.  But, he knew so much and shared so little.   So why didn’t he help me, tell me more, I wondered?  I had yet to realize that wisdom can speak without words, so quietly it cannot be heard with the ears. Only the heart and mind together can recognize wisdom.  You must listen with both.

Then, I realized.  This is my profound revelation.  He never spoke of god.  This from a man who had immersed much of his life in the words and teachings of these books.  He lived.  His life was his lesson.  He tried to show me that none of that, books, words, leaders, prophets, holy men, matters.  None of it.  Words.  Words are words.  They can guide you, but they cannot live your life for you.  Actions speak louder than words.  

Teaching without words, and work without doing
Are understood by very few.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

It was nature, life, he showed me every day, in every little action.  He showed me the sky and the clouds, and the sunrise and sunset, each, every day, different, created anew.  “Look at the sunset, the colors, how beautiful,” he said every day.  He listened closely to the song of the birds, a rushing river, the music of life.   “Listen to the birds sing,” he said and sang back to them.  He observed the death and renewal of nature.  "Celebrate spring, celebrate new life," he said.  He showed me the moon and the stars, and the planets and the milky way, “Look at the stars, look at the moon.  How bright they shine from so far away,” he said.  To look above and beyond that within our immediate sight.  Not for god, but to future worlds yet to be created, the mystery.  Humans can be so short sighted, and think we can know everything.  

He filled me with laughter and pleasure.  Pleasure and laughter are our true gifts in life.  We dismiss them so easily.  Religion wages outright war on pleasure.  He showed me, and everyone in his life and every part of nature,  love, respect and appreciation, without criticism, without judgement.  We are all imperfect and all need forgiveness, because we are human.  These words are true, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.”  But the forgiveness is in each of us to offer, not from god.  

Skip loved children.  He played like a child.  He was a child at heart.  “Play”, he said, as he ran and tussled with the kids.  He loved the rain and thunder and lightening.  He was not afraid.  He loved the wild and wildness, the stormy seas, the highest mountain tops.  He met them with laughter and gladness.  “Greet the rain, the wild and the thunder with smiles”, he said.  All gifts from nature, the earth, our home.

The sage is shy and humble--to the world he seems confusing.
Men look to him and listen.
He behaves like a little child.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

To have enough is enough.  Sit in the warmth of the sun.  Embrace a tree, it is an anchor to the earth and has deep roots.  Watch the river flow, because it is timeless, yet ever changing.  Listen to the birds sing, because their songs are pure and true.  Laugh whenever you can, laugh at everything, the sound of laughter is the freest sound.  Love while you can, nothing lasts forever.   It could be here today and gone tomorrow.  Stay a child in your heart as long as you can.  All these things he told me by his actions.  
Therefore he who knows to have enough is enough will always have enough.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

Skip had compassion for even the smallest things.  He set a lizard free when it was stuck in his shop, and it came back and sat on his knee to thank him.  He picked up a bird prostrate in the burning sun and gave it some water.  “Be kind to everyone and everything”, he said, “because the world needs kindness.” And through all of this, he gave me his wisdom.  By showing me.  In actions, not words.  And my heart and mind heard and learned.
In dwelling be close to the land,
In meditation, go deep in the heart,
In dealing with others be gentle and kind.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

All his life Skip had a deep, abiding, reverence for nature.  If I was having some kind of personal, spiritual or mental crisis, he would throw me in the car and take me to the mountains or to sit by the river.  You would be amazed how easy nature can sooth the mind and soul and make all your worries, problems and fetters melt away.  It puts things into perspective.  I asked him one time why he came out of the wilderness.  “It was too easy,” he said.  It it easier to understand your place in the universe and be at one with everything in nature, than in the world of humans, which is full of distractions, empty places to worship, artificial churches and hollow gods.  We have created our world to cut us off from nature and our real connection to it.  Our ancestors did not have this problem.  It surrounded them.  When Skip was in nature you could see his whole being light up.  This was his secret.  He understood our connection with nature.  We are not lords over it, but one and the same with it.  The person who can maintain their sense of perspective and happiness in the human world, nowadays, is truly a sage indeed.

All else is boredom, vanity.  A distraction, a hobby, to fill time, stimulate the mind.  That is all.  We waste a lot of time on things that have no meaning or worth.  Pettiness.  Pursuit of money, material things or recognition.   And on a god that doesn’t exist. “Another days’ useless energy spent”, as the Moody Blues put it.  The only logical conclusion to a person with reason and all the knowledge that now exists: “There is no god. Quit wasting your time on god.”  

Fame or self: Which matters more?
Self or wealth:  Which is more precious?
Gain or loss:  Which is more painful?

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

This is the conclusion Brown thrusts at all through his book, and then, at the very last second, refuses to deliver the final blow.  He ends with the word: hope.  Hope what?  That there is a god?  Why hope for something that cannot and will not help you?  Maybe we are just to cowardly to destroy this god, this sucker of so much life and energy, this imaginary foe.  Who is brave enough to slay god once and for all? No one it seems, in the public sphere anyway, our so-called leaders.  It is not god’s wrath that is feared, but the wrath of the masses who cling to god.  Let them cling.   Humans need something to worship.  It is psychological.  We need something more worthy, higher than ourselves to give our adoration to.

But, if you have your own intellect and instinct to let god go, do it.   You are only losing an imaginary friend, a leftover playmate from childhood that you have outgrown. Put god away like a worn out toy and embrace the reality and beauty that surrounds you.  Give your reverence to nature, the earth.  That which gave you life.  If we don't start giving more reverence to the earth, we stand to lose our most precious gift that we have in this life, our home.  Love is everywhere if you have it inside you.  It is not god’s love that shines over the face of the world, it is yours, the only real love.  It is your power and light that can make life shine.  Shine brightly.  

We would all be better off to learn from the minute we are born: there is no God.  We are the only gods. We are the creators and destroyers.  Then maybe we would put our all, our passions, our energy, our health, into the life we do have on this earth, to taking care of it, and plant something to grow for the future; instead of thinking we have some immortal life before us that we should be living, preparing and striving for, and to hell with earthly life, denying this body, planet and our reality, like it is of no importance compared to this immortal life that doesn’t exist.  Let god go for good.  This is the only positive path forward.

Appreciate.  Create.  Use your gifts, your mind, to create.  Create with all the genius in you, whether art, a garden, dance, music or poetry.  We are the creators, and we are also the destroyers.  We destroy by failing to recognize the power and ability in each of us, and to harness and control it.  Be gods.  Be creators, visionaries.  Don’t be destroyers.   Create a better world by creating the world around you, that little part of it you have reign over, and making it better.  Skip once told me we cannot save the world, we can only save a little piece of it, the piece that surrounds us and is in our personal sphere to affect.  It is up to each of us to create, make, it better.

See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in little things.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

You might wonder if my thoughts are worthy of your time or attention, because you don’t know me.  Who am I?  I am a mirror. If you see something in me that you recognize, it is yourself.   Every quality you see in another person is a reflection of yourself, and all my life I have been a mirror.   Every truth you recognize is something you have already learned.  It has been said many times before, the only person you can really know is yourself.  But I learned to know one other.  This is the difference.  I studied him, his every action and word.  I saw his reflection and captured it in my mirror.  The finest person in thought, action and speech I ever knew, a person who had studied and searched deeply for many years, gave me his all, all his wisdom, all he learned, with the rest of his life.  I try in my own limited way, to reflect it back to you.
Knowing others is wisdom.
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force.
Mastering the self needs strength.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

I cared what Skip thought.  His opinion was worth something, because he rarely gave it.  That is why it was worth something.  He had something of worth to give.   And, it wasn’t words, he said very little.  He did not spend his time pontificating and postulating on the meaning of life and god.  His actions spoke louder than words.

People give their worthless opinions all the time, opinions based on nothing, no facts, no history, no sense of logic or reason.  They don’t ever read; they don’t know when to shut up.  He saw in me the willingness, the openness, the discernment to know what love and knowledge were worth and what to accept or reject.  He knew I was sifting him critically, skeptically, as I did everything.  He never told me, he showed me.  It took a lifetime to learn this lesson.  

Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk, do not know.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

If a person is not critical and discerning, one spends, throws away,  their love, energy and lives, the only life they have, on people and things not worthy of devotion, attention, and time. Throwing your pearls before swine.  (giving them your limited attention is not giving them yourself)  But the masses don’t want you to be critical.  They can not stand up to scrutiny.  They are too shallow.  With most, there is nothing there, and it should not take a discerning person long to realize this.

There are seven billion people on the earth right now, many of them worthless, not even a shred of worth there.  Empty, selfish, thoughtless consuming vessels.  Destroyers of life and our only home, the earth.   It would be so easy to waste your energy, your life, if you have no discernment.   As population increases, life becomes cheap, and the true worth of any one person gets drowned in the din.  It is easy to get lost in the maze, masses and madness.  If you think everyone is equal, you are lost already.

Therefore the truly great man dwells on what is real
and not what is on the surface
On the fruit and not the flower
Therefore accept the one and reject the other

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching


I at least had the discernment to recognize him.  I devoted my life, my heart, my mind and soul to him.  He was my book.  My learning.  You can learn much from how a life is lived.  Always, I have been a student of life, of people.  I have seen their reflections in my mirror.

Life is full of people that are empty deserts, sucking dry everyone and thing around them.  Should you give these scorched beings with no hearts, souls and minds of their own, your blood, your life?  The ones that drink, but are never quenched, only evaporating all that comes near?  Deserts waiting for you to stumble into them so they can scorch your life too.  

So much, much time, energy, lives and treasure spent and wasted in this world for centuries on bended knees to something that doesn’t exist, but really has gone to the driest deserts of them all, the priests and their churches.  The suckers of life.  Sacrifice myself to them?  The deserts?  Never.  Never.  I could not do it of my own free will in a million lifetimes.  My will fought against it, over and over.  If you want to wander the deserts forever and lose your life, that is your choice.  My will and intellect are too strong, they keep me from straying in deserts.

There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy.
By underestimating the enemy, I almost lose what I value.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

“If anyone should believe in god, it should be me.  He’s talked to me often enough,” I once joked to my psychiatrist.  She didn’t find it funny.  Because she believed.  Why do people get angry when you try to poke holes in the fabric of the worst fraud, hoax, deceit, ever perpetrated on the world, god?  This from a type of person who professes to know the mind.  We are no longer goat herders three thousand years ago who should still be mistaking near death experiences, epileptic auras and mushroom visions for proof of god.  We don’t know much about the brain, but we should know this.

And, so many people chose to believe without even any evidence or signs, but, maybe, because of indoctrination as children (just one example)?  What does that say about them?  Your willingness to believe, in spite of all evidence to the contrary and lack of any evidence to proof, is only your willingness to let others deceive you or to deceive yourself.  But it seems those who should know better still seem to succumb to the hallucination, disease of the mind,  or as Dawkins put it “delusion”, that god exists. The ones who know, who have the proof, ( you think the priests and pope don't know they are frauds?) still continue to defraud the public, in their own interests.  So I have decided that psychiatrists (at least ones who still chose to believe in god) rank right up there with priests as the biggest liars and charlatans in the world.

It is religion, the certainty that they know who and what god is, and can tell you how to live because they know what god wants, and their images and constructs (man made) of god that you should worship and bow down to, that is the lie.  

Stephen Hawking says it doesn’t even take that spark from god to create the universe.  
 

The universe can and will create itself from nothing, according to Hawking, thus it is unnecessary for God to be in the equation.
Look at the universe through the Hubbell telescope.  There are tens of thousands of galaxies with millions times millions of suns and exponentially with planets.  And, this is only what we can see with powerful telescopes in space.  All inaccessible to us.  And if we can't take care of the earth, do we deserve another home?

Our mistake is not realizing that we live here on earth, are one with nature, the significance and magnitude of that realization, and that should be our focus for our reverence, not no god, to people that have minds as good as Hawkings.    

Morality is also a human construct. Look at Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of self realization, orPlato’s ladder of love. We all can know, discern, deep inside of ourselves what is truly wrong and right, regardless of man made laws. We should all be aware by now at how such laws can be perverted.  Yes, we should all strive personally to be the best person we can.  We can do this by being aware of how our thoughts, words and actions affect ourselves, others, and the world around us.  We do not need religion, god or laws to tell us this.

Better to spend your energy, your will, your life force, making this world, the earth, our home, this life, a little better place for all, including all life, the animals, fishes, plants, forests, rivers and oceans, than wasting it on those who are not worth it and some pointless, worthless god.

Surrender yourself humbly, then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own true self: then you can truly care for all things.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

Children?  Children are never yours.  They belong to the future.  Give them what they need to meet the future.   The best thing you can do for children is to let them find themselves; to encourage them in the only things that can help and guide them, education and self reliance, the principles that they can use and learn to live their own lives by.  You cannot keep them forever from the future.

If I could write one book in my life it would be about Skip.  Because what he stood for, his life,  is worth imprinting.  But it doesn’t take a book to tell what I learned, it is this:  A way of life.  A way to be happy and to live life.  This is my total wisdom that I have learned from the wisest person I knew.  I spent a lifetime learning it.  He spent his lifetime teaching it.  I hold and keep his reflection in my mirror.

Man follows the earth
Earth follows heaven
Heaven follows the Tao
Tao follows what is natural.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

Live the life you have.  The only life.  Do not seek god or immortality or life in the hereafter, it is a chimera, a fake, a waste of life, and a deadly one too, a life denier and destroyer in the here and now.  Seek nature, love the earth.  It is crying for your reverence right now.

I asked Skip one time what he thought happened when we died,  “It’s like a drop of water going back into the ocean,” he said. It was the best answer I have ever heard.  No heaven, judgement or angels or futures lives.  Your little spark back into the humongous universe.  Let your spark shine while you still have it.

He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

Appreciate.  Create.  Seek life.  Seek nature.  Love and revere the earth, your home.  Pleasure is not sin, it is the joy of life.  Enjoy.  Listen to the music.  Dance.  Laugh.  Shine.    Skip threw me his golden ball.  I toss it to you.  
In your dying shall your spirit and your virtue still shine like an evening after-glow around the earth: otherwise your dying has been unsatisfactory.  

Thus will I die myself, that ye friends may love the earth more for my sake; and earth will I again become, to have rest in her that bore me.

Verily, a goal had Zatathustra; he threw his ball.  Now be ye friends the heirs of my goal, to you I throw the golden ball.

Best of all do I see you, my friends, throw the golden ball!  And so tarry I still a little while on the earth--pardon me for it!

Thus spake Zarathstra.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900)

note*  I want to apologize for selectively quoting the Tao.  I tried to use lines that would not change their meaning when taken out of the whole.  Each page should be read in it’s entirety.  The wonderful thing about the Tao is it is easy to read, and seems simple.  But, you can spend days and weeks contemplating on each one.  Skip did.  There are meanings in meanings in deeper meaning.

8:35 PM PT: I feel very honored that this particular diary made it to the rec list.  My husband would be horrified that I used him this way.  It was a tribute from my heart to him, but also to show that there are people around us in our lives walking the walk, that we can look to as examples to be better people.

Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 5:37 AM PT: The reason I mention epileptic auras is because I have had several episodes of temporal lobe epilepsy in my life.  These can be very, deep, profound and lasting.  If you ever experienced it, is would be easy to understand why they can be mistaken as religious experience.  This is why it was so hard for me personally to give up god.

Originally posted to notdarkyet on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:13 AM PST.

Also republished by Spiritual Organization of Unapologetic Liberals at Daily Kos, Community Spotlight, and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (240+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenderRodriguez, ubertar, S F Hippie, GreenPA, roseeriter, followyourbliss, dirkster42, bsmechanic, psilocynic, ZedMont, nutter, Annalize5, Santa Susanna Kid, Evolutionary, tytalus, SpecialKinFlag, sewaneepat, Lorikeet, Mr Robert, filkertom, Benintn, bubbanomics, SteelerGrrl, a2nite, rscopes, javan, cassandracarolina, Otteray Scribe, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Broke And Unemployed, rogerdaddy, collardgreens, commonmass, lotusmaglite, adrianrf, My Spin, Timaeus, taonow, IreGyre, FlyingToaster, CJB, wilderness voice, progresso, SanFernandoValleyMom, claude, democracy inaction, cwsmoke, Thinking Fella, kpeddicord, psnyder, pundit, muddy boots, Avila, gwilson, middleagedhousewife, Amber6541, on the cusp, bobtmn, shermanesq, AaronInSanDiego, foresterbob, ChurchofBruce, dkw, ygdrasl, kyril, 2thanks, frisco, offgrid, Sylv, moose67, Catesby, asterkitty, Hatrax, DBunn, ORswede, doingbusinessas, Chaddiwicker, midnight lurker, ScienceMom, evelette, Son of a Cat, Raggedy Ann, gsenski, Bonsai66, Trotskyrepublican, Irons33, OLinda, dmhlt 66, deha, ItsaMathJoke, targetdemographic, Oye Sancho, banjolele, brouski, The Sinistral, CA ridebalanced, PBnJ, Christin, yet another liberal, soarbird, pbearsailor, ontheleftcoast, sawgrass727, high uintas, LynChi, mapamp, Herodotus Prime, dle2GA, Cen Den, Earth and Sky, johanus, joanil, Druggy Bear, pixxer, KMc, rasbobbo, AnnCetera, Wildthumb, emperor nobody, HighSticking, dotsright, bnasley, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, notrouble, greengemini, waltmon, side pocket, janl1776, SherwoodB, blueoasis, NapaJulie, begone, albrt, YellerDog, Justus, Seattle Mark, kestrel9000, dewtx, fishwars, Panama Pete, spacejam, Statusquomustgo, MrJayTee, ChemBob, mujr, trueblueliberal, Byron from Denver, NearlyNormal, Pandoras Box, carpunder, rb608, Texknight, Setsuna Mudo, oysterface, GMFORD, Troubadour, ladyjames, Medium Head Boy, holeworm, LouP, BlueDragon, NM Ray, tarheelblue, FarWestGirl, glitterscale, sagansong, BMarshall, reddbierd, zerelda, Sophie Amrain, The Hindsight Times, NJpeach, bluebloodedlib, gatorcog, Skennet Boch, pioneer111, salientwhisper, Mr Bojangles, marleycat, Phl, Sidof79, CoolOnion, JosephK74, ladelfina, weck, gerard w, Paul Ferguson, wayoutinthestix, balrog, hideinplainsight, lcrp, World Citizen, Pale Jenova, DRo, Zinman, KateCrashes, Heimyankel, Alumbrados, Glen The Plumber, Steven D, citisven, DixieDishrag, AZ Sphinx Moth, BrooklynJohnny, grelinda, yojimbo, pickandshovel, Sean Robertson, Fe, melo, Bisbonian, Wife of Bath, ladybug53, anafreeka, 4Freedom, in2mixin, RWood, Spirit Dancer, Hammerhand, mslat27, Bridge Master, Bluesee, melpomene1, squarewheel, nicteis, Prinny Squad, Aaa T Tudeattack, drawingporno, ChadmanFL, CT yanqui, ruscle, Moderation, elkhunter, TiaRachel, NonnyO, CBrachyrhynchos, jhop7, SomeStones, boofdah, Alice Venturi
  •  Must...snark...diary...title... (15+ / 0-)

    There is no God--

    Only Zuul

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:20:06 AM PST

  •  Ah. (14+ / 0-)

    A beautiful, heartfelt tribute to a beautiful human being.
    A beautiful testimony about a wonderful love affair.
    And yet, notdarkyet, I cannot tip nor rec.
    It hurts.
    I know God is.

  •  Lovely diary, even though I disagree with you. (28+ / 0-)

    A few years ago, I took down a beehive that was attached to my garage. As I held it in my hand and admired its perfection, I said to myself, "This didn't happen by lucky accident."

    I'm not looking for an argument, and I'll even tip and rec this diary even though I disagree with its argument, but the notion you put forth that we believers are, in essence, delusional liars, is off-putting to me.

    So many atheits, such as Richard Dawkins, are as annoyingly dogmatic as the Rick Santorums of the world.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment of your diary -- enjoy life, respect nature, love one another -- but I respectfully will disagree with your conclusion.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:36:44 AM PST

    •  That's why I did not try to approach the (23+ / 0-)

      subject the way Dawkins and Hitchens did.  I have found believers get put off by the strident approach.  I was trying to persuade emotionally and intellectually.

      •  I find persuasion to be pointless. I don't (43+ / 0-)

        believe in a Man in the Sky myself, but others can believe what they want to.  I despise those of the religious community that would come to my front door and push their religion on me - I tell them that attraction, not promotion is what brings people to you, just like magnets.  If you must promote your idea by shoving it in my face, it must not be an incredibly attractive idea in the first place.

        Most people that were not raised religious, do not suddenly convert to religion because someone came to their front door with it.  If the purpose of the visit is to connect with others that share your belief (as they tell me they are doing) - please, be brave, and check out this new invention called The World Wide Web.  Social Media, etc.  Promote your idea there.  See if the world agrees.  If it does, then the hit counts on your website or post should be enormous eh?

        In the same manner, I do not push my lack of belief on anyone, because the radical idea that there isn't a Man in the Sky is so unwelcome to many. Others are attracted to the belief that we should be paying attention to where we are, and what we are doing in the here and now.  I'm with them.

        Beautiful Diary.  Tipped, and recced.

        If you are interested, check out the statistics on those of us that do not believe.  Check out demographics, political affiliations, IQ, age, geography, etc.  Interesting stuff.

        #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

        by Evolutionary on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 12:12:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Believers get put off (44+ / 0-)

        by anything that challenges their beliefs, irrespective of how one goes about it.  For example:

        And yet, notdarkyet, I cannot tip nor rec.
        It hurts.
        I know God is.
        It is not how the subject is approached, it is whether or not the subject is approached effectively.  I think the reason that so many believers don't like Dawkins is that he approaches the subject effectively enough to make believers feel uncomfortable with their beliefs, which is the first step toward questioning and ultimately changing them.  Some don't, rather than question their beliefs, they attack Dawkins to sate their cognitive dissonance, for example:
        So many atheits, such as Richard Dawkins, are as annoyingly dogmatic as the Rick Santorums of the world.
        When believers are unable to say Dawkins is wrong, they say he's "dogmatic" or "rude" or whatever other epithet they can think of to make the conversation about Dawkins, anything to avoid actually having to think about what Dawkins is saying because if they think about it logically, rationally and intellectually honestly, it will lead them from their faith.

        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

        by democracy inaction on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:16:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well said democracy Linaction, (18+ / 0-)

          I remember when the only clear voice speaking out against religious absurdity seemed to be Madeline O'Hare.
          I consider myself extremely lucky to have my views  represented by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne, Dan Dennett, Paula Kirby, Christopher Hitchens, AC Grayling, and the veritable tidal wave of other high powered intellects out there pushing back against  the  fertile imaginations of our more fanciful brothers and sisters.

        •  Yes, I agree. I am not actually trying to (22+ / 0-)

          persuade people to give up their belief as much as I am trying to persuade people to give reverence to our home, which we are in danger of losing.  And our life as we know it.

          •  What scares me (4+ / 0-)

            is that, to many "faithful" it is more important to believe they are "right" than even to remain alive. Those who are so eager to tear down the world in flames rather than have one iota of their "faith" even questioned, much less argued.

            This who are willing to kill a billion people rather than allow one of them to disagree with their "faith."

            This is not Godly by any stretch of the imagination.

            Too much religion is nothing more than the very worst ideas, desires and psychoses of the human mind spattered large and violently across the face of the world.

            Whether there is a god or not, all religion is almost entirely evil.

          •  not that it bothers me either way (0+ / 0-)

            but your diary without the 'stop god-bothering' parts would have been just as (maybe even more) effective.

            it seems like a bit of an unnecessary appendage.

            attack bad religion, god is not necessarily what most people think when they use the word.

            choose to disbelieve by all means, but where's the reason to attack/belittle peoples' beliefs just because you don't agree with them?

            god got a bad rap because of man's insanity, namely making god omniscient and all-powerful in their minds, the better to scare folks with.

            you can still have a god who fails occasionally, or is still learning... who says you can't?

            answer: those who are trying to trap you into a false belief system, a manichean duality.

            and for those rational materialists who decry and deny god, go for it, god doesn't need your approval. you are eternally welcome to knock yourselves out till science comes around eventually to accepting that not everything fits into tidy little boxes of 'absolute proof' (and thus jettisons its own religious, all too commonplace level of arrogance).

            many atheists are much closer to god than they think, because they can be just as loving and moral than any religious person. love excludes no-one. you can be kind without wanting it to count as brownie points to get to the happylands after passing from this plane, or protect you from the boogie man.

            it's nice that we are free to believe and enjoy that, or ignore and enjoy the company of others cut from the same cloth. maybe one day we'll all know for sure that either god never existed and all revelation was just random neurons firing through endocrine overload. maybe we'll accept there is a greater force for good and get on with our lives the same anyway.

            ...without semantic polemics. i sure hope so as nothing in history has cost more innocent lives than the disease of bad religion.

            this diary is good religion, even though it zaps the idea itself.

            quite droll how that works.

            why? just kos..... *just cause*

            by melo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:06:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Even if he was wrong, (18+ / 0-)

          (which he's not) to equate Dawkins as being just as rude or dogmatic as Santorum is to grossly underestimate how nasty Santorum actually is.

        •  1. Richard Dawkins is dogmatic. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Support Civil Liberty, melo

          2. The numerous times I've seen him on television, he doesn't come across well. Put aside the fact that I don't agree with him; that's irrelevant. It's the same way I feel about, say, Keith Olbermann. I agree, almost always, with Olbermann, but he, too, doesn't come across well on television.

          In short, Dawkins is not a good spokesman for atheism. What atheists need to find is their Rachel Maddow. Maddow and Olbermann are ideologically identical, but Maddow gets her points across with a smile, not a growl. It's much more effective. An independent voter might be swayed by a point Maddow makes. This isn't the case with Olbermann.

          If I fell from the sky, and standing at one lectern was Richard Dawkins promoting atheism and standing at the other was Pat Robertson plugging religion, I'd run back to my spaceship as fast as I Martianly could.

          Nothing Richard Dawkins says will "lead me from my faith."

          I'll respect his opinion, just as I do the atheists in my personal life, and we will agree to disagree.

          How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

          by BenderRodriguez on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 04:37:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maddow uses evidence, but (13+ / 0-)

            Dawkins has to show you that there is NO evidence for God. It is a different circumstance. Perhaps you should try books by Victor Stenger, who shows scientific evidence for no Gods.

            Dawkins is a quiet, gentle man, with a good sense of humor and more than a modicum of British decorum, even when he is speaking forcefully. I've met him several times. He has changed our understanding of evolutionary processes and is a fantastic spokesperson for atheism.

            Your God simply does not exist and I find it disturbing that, with so much that needs to be done here in the realm of reality, there are still so many who can't let go of the belief they were indoctrinated with during childhood. This shows the power of the meme, of authoritarianism in pursuit of the meme (clergy, etc.), and why religions want to increase the populations of their followers and "teach" the captive young.

            Money and power, same as it ever was.

            •  "Your God simply does not exist." (6+ / 0-)

              I know you're not Spokeperson for Atheists, and I know there are atheists who don't act this way, but why is it that a seemingly large number of atheists have so much trouble respecting the opinions of believers?

              As I said above, I respect Dawkins' opinions, as I do the atheists in my personal life.

              I am a believer in God. This does not make me delusional or simple-minded.

              If you choose not to believe in God, I don't question your morals or your intelligence. I disagree with you, but that's okay. It's what makes life interesting.

              There's no need to insult the beliefs of others.

              (With the exception of haters/bigots. Then, all bets are off).

              How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

              by BenderRodriguez on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 04:59:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  You do not understand atheism (11+ / 0-)

            if you actually believe that Dawkins - or any atheist - is dogmatic.  Let's examine what "dogmatic" actually means; from Websters, dogma is (emphasis added):

            a : something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet
            b : a code of such tenets
            c : a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds
            Again, atheism is the antithesis of dogmatism because atheism deals only with facts.  Atheism makes no claim without adequate grounds and in fact, makes no claim at all.  If a claim cannot be made with adequate grounds, it is rejected by atheism, which is precisely what atheism does with respect to any religious or supernatural claim.  No claim of religion is rooted in fact, it is all without adequate grounds.

            You yourself are an atheist with respect to all gods/religions but one.  You are an atheist with respect to Greek and Roman gods such as Zeus/Jupiter, Poseidon/Neptune and Ares/Mars (and the dude whose name I forget that pulls the sun across the sky in his chariot), you are an atheist with respect to Hindu gods such as Vishnu, Krishna and Shiva.  But you are not an atheist with respect to one god/religion.

            As an atheist, I reject the concept of faith, i.e., belief in something for which there is no proof.  Accepting a claim that is unproven and/or cannot be proven is the very definition of dogmatism and that is what all religions do.

            "Dogma" and "faith" go hand in hand, neither is compatible with atheism.

            What atheists need to find is their Rachel Maddow.
            So you're saying that if atheism just has the right "spokesperson," then you (and/or others) might be more inclined to become an atheist or to at least critically examine your own belief system?  That is patently ridiculous.  This is all rationalization of cognitive dissonance.

            I think the reason you (and so many other believers) so dislike Dawkins is that you cannot refute him.  So rather than trying, you go for the ad hominem attack.  He doesn't come across well, he's rude, he's dogmatic.  None of those things are true, killing the messenger is a classic method for managing cognitive dissonance when you cannot refute the message.  That is why this statement is so telling:

            Put aside the fact that I don't agree with him; that's irrelevant.
            That is the only thing that is relevant, yet you casually dismiss it without any explanation of what specifically you disagree with and why.  You want to make the conversation about Richard Dawkins when the conversation we are having is about faith.

            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

            by democracy inaction on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:55:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Okay, let's have a Dawkins-free chat. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Paul Ferguson, melo

              When I was young, I was enthralled by the television series "Cosmos." I devoured the Carl Sagan book the show was based on. Through the years, I've read most of Sagan's works.

              Now, I don't believe Sagan ever described himself as an out-and-out atheist, but he, at best, was certainly agnostic. He was a person of science; he needed proof.

              I have nothing but respect for science. I believe in evolution 100%.

              My admiration for Sagan and love of science, though, have never dimmed my faith.

              I believe in God, plain and simple. Now, do I believe in the flowing-beard-white-robe God of popular culture? No.

              As I said upthread to you or someone, "let's agree to disagree."

              I respect your opinions, as I do the atheists in my personal life.

              How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

              by BenderRodriguez on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:17:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What God do you believe in then? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sean Robertson, gsenski
                I believe in God, plain and simple. Now, do I believe in the flowing-beard-white-robe God of popular culture? No.
                Whatever god you believe in is supported by no more evidence than any other god, which is the problem.  How do you know that your god is the correct god and that someone that believes in "the flowing-beard-white-robe God of popular culture" is wrong?  On what are your beliefs based?  And on what authority do you reject the god or gods that others believe in that are different from yours?

                Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                by democracy inaction on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:42:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Above you made an intelligent (6+ / 0-)

                design argument when discussing bees nests.  Such beliefs are a HUGE part of the problem because if you believe in providential design you also believe that we can't destroy that "wise" design.  Perhaps not you but certainly many others are led to this conclusion.  Such beliefs encourage inaction on the premise that god will save us.

      •  Why do you need to persuade anyone? (7+ / 0-)

        Must we all be the same?

        "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

        by zenox on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:47:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We should all be rational. (5+ / 0-)

          And belief in a God in the sky is simply not rational, irrespective of all the filigree that is put on the beliefs.

          •  "Belief in a God in the sky" (5+ / 0-)

            To argue about such a notion itself is irrational. Walt Whitman was right when he said not to argue about religion or belief.

            Why?

            First we must clear the definitions of

            "God"

            "God in the sky"

            for each of us.

            What do I 'see' when I say the word "God"?  Is my interpretation of "God" is the same as yours? i might be thinking of a completely different idea when I say "God."

            What do I see when I use the term "God in sky." What is in my mind when I think of "sky"? A metaphor or a flying old man with long beard? Or sitting on clouds? Or...space as a mind?

            See, it is natural that we have differing perceptions especially when it comes to "belief" because we do not all see/ define our world exaclty the same way.

            And when we start a "rational" argument on the existence or non existence of different perceptions then our rationality becomes a bit funny, if you get my drift.

            Trying to persuade one another about belief is irrational, in itself.

            "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

            by zenox on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 05:56:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You can imagine whatever you want, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              democracy inaction, Palafox

              that doesn't make it real. It also doesn't = the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Christian God version that the Santorums of the world would like to force down our throats.

              •  Try reading Karen Armstrong (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                zenox

                I have read Dawkins and found himignorant of theological history. He takes his straw man as the flying spaghetti monster in the sky version which some fundamentalists believe in.  But the vast majority of Christian theologians (and virtually to a person until the 16th Century), and most certainly the Catholic Church and mainline Protestants, do not believe that God is a being.  Try Armstrong -- she's an excellent writer (as I agree Dawkins is a good writer of prose) and even if you are not convinced you will be informed. Her best book is a recent one, The Case for God. Or you may try Terry Eagleton's wonderful collection of lectures "Reason, Faith and Revolution" which is a critique of Dawkins from a radical perspective.

              •  I am the last person who would (0+ / 0-)

                ...force down anything in anyone's throat, especially involving religion. I would not have said we all have different perceptions, wouldn't I, if I was to insist on my point of view (perception)? On the contrary, it is you who is forcing down your idea of "doesn't make it real" in my throat...

                Think about this.

                Plus, I said "perception," not "imagination." The two are not the same.

                ps# What or who exactly is "Santorum's Christian God"?

                "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

                by zenox on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 02:14:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Did you even read my comment to which (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gsenski

                  you have supposedly responded? First, I described Santorum's God in the comment and said that the God that you describe does not equal the one that people like him would force down our throats. I also pointed out that you can imagine a God however you want to imagine one, but your imagination does not bring that God into reality. Any more than me imagining a pink unicorn brings that unicorn into reality. In both (all) cases, evidence of existence is required. You can take "doesn't make it real" into your throat if that's what you want, but I'm not forcing it there, logic forces it there. If you are claiming that something is there, you need evidence to show that it is there. That is pretty simple.

          •  Exhibit #1 (0+ / 0-)

            To support my belief that for many people, atheism is a religion.  You have no evidence that your non-belief is "rational" (i.e. based in logic and reason) yet you throw the word around as if it is self-evident.  

            If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

            by shanikka on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:03:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Show me the evidence for your God (6+ / 0-)

              You are ignorant of atheism if you think it is a religion. You don't believe in Zeus, Thor, or Loki, I presume. We just believe in one less God than do you.

              •  Show me Your Evidence of "No God" (0+ / 0-)

                As opposed to mere evidence of "Another possible explanation."  I'm not the one who called you delusional, after all - an article of faith when it comes to you labeling folks you are neither qualified to diagnose nor in contact with (that's, by the wall, billions of people.)  

                That's my point - IMO people who are rational do not assume that their preferred explanation for something they observe is the ONLY explanation.  I'm OK with that as far as religious beliefs go, since I genuinely believe that none of us will ever know the answer (except possibly after we're dead, when we can tell absolutely no one else.)  Why aren't you?

                If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                by shanikka on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 07:06:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It is the person who is making the claim (8+ / 0-)

                  that has to provide evidence for that claim, not the disbeliever.

                  Were I to tell you that there is a pink unicorn in my garage (stolen from Carl Sagan), would you believe me? Wouldn't you expect me to prove it to your somehow or at least show you the evidence? Would you think that I, the believer, would expect you to prove to me that it is not there? How about leprechauns? How about anything that I can imagine? Should I expect you to disprove the existence of anything/everything I can imagine?

                •  Read your subject line again (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Palafox, rb608, Evolutionary, gsenski

                  It makes no sense.  Show me your evidence that there is no such thing as a magical invisible unicorn.

                  Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit.

                  As an atheist, I reject the concept of "faith," i.e. belief in that for which there is no evidence.  I reject both the claims of the existence of magical invisible unicorns as well as any god or gods because there is no evidence to support either.

                  I genuinely believe that none of us will ever know the answer (except possibly after we're dead, when we can tell absolutely no one else.)
                  When you are dead, i.e. when your brain no longer functions, you will be unable to "know" anything.

                  Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                  by democracy inaction on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 07:16:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It Makes Perfect Sense (0+ / 0-)

                    Sorry you don't see that.  But I'm OK with you NOT seeing that.  As I just pointed out, I didn't come in here and make a proclamation about God.  YOU did.

                    So YOU prove yours, if you wish to be consistent with what you demand.  Of course, you cannot, because the absence of tangible evidence of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  No scientist would claim differently; they'd claim only that it had yet to be discovered.  Yet folks who have atheism as their religion (which is not the same as "all atheists") insist that this is so.

                    Well, if you want folks to prove God to you, you prove the absence of one to them.  That's the only fair way to approach it, don't you think?

                    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                    by shanikka on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 07:19:35 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Wait, what? (3+ / 0-)
                      As I just pointed out, I didn't come in here and make a proclamation about God.  YOU did.
                      I did no such thing.  If you think I did, then show me where.  I'll save you some time, you won't find it because I never made a proclamation that "there is no God."  I do, however, reject the claim that there is a god or gods because they are claims wholly unsupported by evidence.  Further, you are clearly claiming that there is a god.

                      Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit.

                      Well, if you want folks to prove God to you, you prove the absence of one to them.  That's the only fair way to approach it, don't you think?
                      Um, no.  It is not possible to prove a negative, which I suspect you realize or you wouldn't be demanding it.

                      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                      by democracy inaction on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 07:27:14 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  I'm sorry, but do you even read what you write? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gsenski
                  Show me Your Evidence of "No God"
                  Show you evidence that something does not exist.  

                  That isn't how science works.  If you make a claim, you must have evidence to back up your claim.  An Atheist simply rejects that which he or she sees no evidence or proof of.  This rejection is a scientific one.  The believer says, "Believe in God!", the Atheist replies, "What God?", "Where?", "I can't see him".

                  The believer is the one making the claim - that despite zero evidence, and zero proof - there is a God!  The Atheist is simply rejecting the claim based on a lack of evidence.  So your argument seems to be - offer evidence that there is no God.  Mental pretzels.

                  Here's my evidence.  God is supposedly Omnipresent right? That's the commonly held "belief".  That means He is supposed to be in all places simultaneously.  I just got up from the PC, looked in the closet, and did not find God.  You are welcome to come over and look in my closet too, for evidential data.  Since I didn't find God in my closet, I therefore find, that based on the available data from my closet, and the existing claims that God is everywhere, I conclude that there is definitely no God.

                  I have plenty more proof like that if you need it.

                  So, by all means, please present your proof and evidence that your fairy-tale God, does indeed exist.  Footprints?  Photos?  Phone messages?  DNA?  A trail of blood perhaps?  Just saw him last week at the laundromat?  Mug shot?  He was the speaker at a high-power lunch?  

                  #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

                  by Evolutionary on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 01:54:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  No (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Evolutionary, gsenski

              Atheism is not "religion," atheism is the absence of religion.

              All religion is based in faith, i.e. the belief in something for which there is no evidence.  Atheism is essentially a rejection of the concept of faith, it requires evidence.

              Atheism does not hold that there is no God, atheism merely requires evidence to support a claim that there is a god and no such evidence exists.  If irrefutable evidence surfaced tomorrow to support the existence of a god or gods, atheists would adjust their beliefs in accordance with what the evidence shows.

              The faithful believe despite the lack of evidence; if it were somehow possible to prove a negative (i.e. an imaginary thing does not exist), and to be clear it is not possible, but if it were and it were irrefutably proven that there is no god, the faithful still would not be disabused of their faith.

              Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

              by democracy inaction on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 07:10:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  In other words, just like Dawkins does (5+ / 0-)
        I was trying to persuade emotionally and intellectually.
        So, just like Dawkins and Hitchens do, but unlike what their detractors pretend they do when engaging in straw man fallacies of them.
        •  Perhaps. Maybe the fact that I am a woman (3+ / 0-)

          gives the whole thing a different tone.

          •  More the fact that you don't sneer (0+ / 0-)

            Another believer here, who found your diary moving and compelling. No problem tipping and reccing.

            I've greatly enjoyed Dawkins, when he talks about science. When he talks about religion, he becomes contemptuous and tone-deaf. Hitchens becomes downright nasty, but then that's his general approach to discourse anyway. Neither of them has any notion of what faith is about, at least for many of us; so they substitute a caricature. Alas, a caricature which too many believers seem happy to fortify and exemplify.

            Give me Daniel Dennett. He does get it, and for all the tongue in cheek supremacy of his "brights" appellation, he takes his opponents seriously, treats us with courtesy, and eschews straw men.  (He does the same with his philosophical opponents on the nature of mind.)

            Clearly you too - maybe thanks to those auras - grok what God can signify to people who take Him/Her seriously for other reasons than having had it drummed or scared or guilted into them. Consequently it doesn't rankle to hear from you this call back to what are, to adopt Jesus' terminology, "the greater things of the law."
             

            •  I'm glad I listen to actual Dawkins and Hitchens (0+ / 0-)

              then, instead of these caricatures you've made up about them.   (while hypocritically accusing them of making caricatures).

              The problem you have (and everyone who defends "faith" as a good thing) is that criticism of faith is impossible when you have defined the happy feelings about it into the definition of it.  Then anyone with a negative critique of the practice of faith is automatically strawmanning it in your eyes because of that negativity itself.  You've gone and made it such that agreeing that faith is nice is now part of the very definition of it.  That conveniently shuts off all criticism of it.

              Faith is simply the practice of using something else other than reason to decide what is true.  On that ALONE comes Dawkins' criticism of it.  It requires absolutely no false caricatures of faith to do that.

            •  I was trying to do was reawaken our spiritual (0+ / 0-)

              connection to the planet and nature.  I think that is why people go to church.  We want a spiritual connection, and I do believe we can find the same, if not better, experience in nature.

              •  The problem with this is that it uses the word (0+ / 0-)

                "spiritual", which is so fuzzy as to be useless.  Literally it would mean "having something to do with spirits", which would mean that spirituality doesn't exist unless there is a dual nature to reality consisting of both matter and spirit.  But that definition is not usually what people mean (because it would mean most scientists have no spirituality at all, and that's not what people usually mean by the term.)  People use it to just mean some vague fuzzy emotional niceness in a way that isn't helpful to really describe anything.

        •  I want to add, I personally find Dawkins and (5+ / 0-)

          Hitchens both fascinating and compelling writers.  I think they have persuaded a lot of people.

      •  This is a beautiful way out of misery (4+ / 0-)

        but it can lead many ways. Like you, I allow myself to have fun. You enjoy melting into nature. I enjoy watching and listening to nature from the safety of my own brain. These are our choices.

        I also enjoy being indoors and working on math and computer programming. That too is my choice. That doesn't make me a desert. The desert is boredom and fatalism.

        People like me who are stuck in a rut don't need persuasion. We need encouragement.

      •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oysterface

        This is a serious, respectful question.

        Why do you need to persuade anyone?

        If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

        by shanikka on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:01:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think that 'persuasion' is another form of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Syoho, melo, Evolutionary

        proseletyzing and, according to Tao, the forceful approach, trying to convince others. Sharing your view and perception, your beautiful experience and remembrances of Skip and what you learned is enough of itself, it needs no other reason to be. It doesn't need to be evidence or to be convincing of anything.  It is itself and complete regardless of what anyone else takes from it, or doesn't.  

        You yourself noted that people cannot hear what they are not ready to hear. Offering your experience and allowing those who are ready to see and hear what you have to say to do so is a gift and I thank you for the opportunity to read  and share it and be reminded of the Tao. Beautiful diary.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

        by FarWestGirl on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 07:50:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No (25+ / 0-)
      So many atheits, such as Richard Dawkins, are as annoyingly dogmatic as the Rick Santorums of the world.
      Atheism is the antithesis of dogmatism.

      I am also curious what you mean by this:

      As I held it in my hand and admired its perfection, I said to myself, "This didn't happen by lucky accident."
      Are you talking about evolution?

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:00:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  it was not an accident exactly... (27+ / 0-)

      ..it's called evolution, and it does not require the hypothesis of God to explain the development of these structures. Darwin pretty much explains that specific thing in the Voyages, fer cryin' out loud....you may as well get dewy eyed about prime numbers, or fractals.

      Fascinating, yes, but not divine nor proof of the existence of divinity.

      Scripture says "resist not evil", but evil unresisted will prevail.

      by Boreal Ecologist on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:52:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  False. (30+ / 0-)

      Listen--  atheists and Dawkins especially, are not dogmatic.  This rotten chestnut can't go unanswered.

      Why aren't atheists dogmatic?  The answer is, atheists have good reasons for believing that there is no god.  When a person is dogmatic, he holds a belief without caring about the relevant evidence.  Dogmatic doesn't mean insisting that you're right with confidence-- which atheists surely are, and sometimes do.  To be dogmatic means ignoring the evidence.  And by the standards of evidence that got us out of caves and into living rooms with laptops, God doesn't exist.

      You're right that beehives didn't happy by lucky accident.  But that you don't understand how such an intricate thing could get here doesn't mean that God made it.  It means you don't understand biology.  I don't understand the evolutionary foundations of modern bee ethology, either, and few do.  But there is a better explanation of the mystery of bee hives-- better by standards of good evidence-- than "God did it".

      You can disagree with atheists about God's existence, but if you do, you are wrong.  If you think there is a God, you are wrong.  Some believers are innocently wrong, some are stubbornly wrong, some are delusionally wrong, some are hopelessly wrong:  believers go epistemically wrong in a remarkable number of ways.  But what all of them have in common is that they are wrong.

      The world does not need billionaires.

      by targetdemographic on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:53:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You just proved that some atheists *are* dogmatic (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        revsue, shanikka, gatorcog, melo, rmx2630
        Listen--  atheists and Dawkins especially, are not dogmatic.

        [snip]

        You can disagree with atheists about God's existence, but if you do, you are wrong.  If you think there is a God, you are wrong.

        Thanks for proving the point that many atheists are dogmatic.

        To categorically state that people who believe there is a God -- or that there is no God -- are "wrong" is, by definition, dogmatic. Nobody knows. People can have opinions about the subject of God, and in many cases people on both sides of the issue have reasonable opinions, but there simply is no way to prove whether or not a deity exists.

        Eric Stetson -- Entrepreneur and Visionary. www.ericstetson.com

        by Eric Stetson on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:59:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously? Are you kidding us? C'mon- (4+ / 0-)

          You are just selectively ignoring what I wrote.  This is really shameless.

          The world does not need billionaires.

          by targetdemographic on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:00:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Making absolute truth claims about unknowable (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shanikka, melo, rmx2630

            subjects seems dogmatic to me. Although I personally am of the opinion that something which people usually call "God" does exist, and I have rational reasons for holding that viewpoint, I would not state with certitude that "people who think there is no God are wrong." How would I know? How would you know the opposite? We can state an opinion, but we can't make a categorical statement about such a subject on either side without appearing dogmatic. JMHO.

            Eric Stetson -- Entrepreneur and Visionary. www.ericstetson.com

            by Eric Stetson on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:09:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Definition of dogmatism (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AnnCetera, melo

              We have a different definition. That's probably why we disagree on this point. As I see it, there is just as much evidence and rational arguments for God as against God, so I think what causes a believer or a non-believer to become "dogmatic" is precisely the attempt to make an absolute truth claim about the subject, without leaving any wiggle room for the possibility that one's own view could be wrong.

              Eric Stetson -- Entrepreneur and Visionary. www.ericstetson.com

              by Eric Stetson on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:16:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you thought that there were (10+ / 0-)

                no credible arguments or evidence for God, or vice versa, would you think that such a view was dogmatic? I allow for the possibility that I'm wrong, but have not seen any arguments or evidence that I find credible for the existence of God. The subjective experience of others is for me not evidence.

                "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:24:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I assume you don't believe in Zeus or Thor as real (11+ / 0-)

                Nor, would I assume, that you could be convinced to believe that they ever were real. You may be able to list a few reasons why you would disbelieve in them. Does that make your disbelief dogmatic?  

              •  Also, how do you show absolute truths exist? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Evolutionary

                I'm not sure that absolutes exist at all. The teeny-tiniest microscopic exception to any truth or any supposed absolute, by definition, means that it is no longer absolute. It is then finite and indeterminate.  

                The only actual proofs that exist, known to humankind, are in mathematics. Which, by the way were shown by Godel and Turing to contain problems which are logically unsolvable. The only thing that can constitute a 'proof' is a high level of certainty. For instance, electromagnetism seems to act consistently pretty consistently without variance in all examples of it ever seen from as small as we can detect to as far away in all corners of the universe that we can see. Although it has different though measurable properties under supercooled superconducting situations. Still, there are consistencies in both states. Eventually it is likely we will be able to describe why it acts exceptionally in an exceptional supercooled state.

                And perhaps beyond our visible horizon of the universe, of which we only see a teeny-tiny patch of compared to estimates of its current size, perhaps it does behave differently under what we'd call normal conditions. But until shown otherwise, it is irrational to assume that it is not consistent. It is dogmatic to insist we consider something might exist or occur without any evidence. It is not dogmatic to go what is demonstrated to be real if there is no evidence to the contrary. That is simply the way things appear to be.

            •  Christians, Muslims, and Jews don't believe (3+ / 0-)

              In a hundred gods.

              I don't believe in a hundred-and-one.

          •  No, I think in this instance Eric Stetson is right (8+ / 0-)

            As a non-believer, I certainly do not find any evidence that there is one or more gods out there doing anything.  And I certainly conclude, based on the evidence I have available, that there are no gods out there.  But if somebody or some thing dropped out of the sky, and did a bunch of stuff that defied scientific explanation, and more folks than me saw it (thus ruling out sudden onset of schizophrenia or organic brain disease), I'd be willing to consider that maybe I was wrong.

            So to the degree that you insist that even in the face of contrary evidence (yet to be provided), that believers in god or gods are "wrong," then you are in fact, dogmatic.

            Maybe it is parsing things a bit thin, but I just say, "based on all evidence that I have, and all the evidence (or lack thereof) that you have, I see no rational reason to conclude (not believe, but conclude) that there is one or many gods."

            The Elephant. The Rider. The Path. Figure those out and change will come.

            by Denver11 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:17:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, and "believe" and "conclude" are different. (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Denver11, revsue, blueoasis, ladyjames, melo

              Thanks for pointing that out. I believe there is some kind of force, entity or intelligence that is often called "God." However, I would not conclude that there is such. I prefer to leave the issue open for further discussion and possible change of mind among all people considering it, since it's an issue that transcends simple investigation to "prove" which view is correct.

              Eric Stetson -- Entrepreneur and Visionary. www.ericstetson.com

              by Eric Stetson on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:22:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  That is the Spaghetti Monster, not god. (4+ / 0-)

              God is supposed to be omniscient, omnipotent etc etc. It kinda leaves nothing out, thus it becomes nothing. It is not separated from reality as it is. Might as well accept it is just reality and stop the bullshit.

              By the way. Which god are we talking about?

            •  But there are no proofs, other than in math (4+ / 0-)

              At best all one can ever do is conclude, due to lack of evidence, is that unless the situation changes something without evidence should be considered a null hypothesis. Not existing until demonstrated otherwise. There is no absolute certainty of anything, but there is a high level of evidence that serves as 'proof' for all other things that we consider 'proven' to be true.

              It only makes sense that until proven otherwise, the unproven should be dismissed as not real. Otherwise, you are logically obligated to consider possible existence of all gods AND the effects that they have on nature. As well as demigods, fairies, leprechauns, elves, invisible pink unicorns, water spirits, demons, gremlins, and on and on and on and on and on. To not dismiss claims of things that bear no evidence, but to give them a sort of equal weight nonetheless, puts an endless burden on having to consider these things as being kinda, sorta, maybe real. All while taking away time and effort concentrating on the things that ARE real.

              For one cannot disprove a negative. That is, if a thing does not exist, not only can you not prove it exists, but neither can you disprove its existence. In fact, the disproving is far harder since any claim that someone could possibly pull out of their butt would need to be proven false, even if you'd already proven to them 10,000 previously made claims were wrong. It would always be easier for the claimant to prove the existence of something because all they'd need is one good consistent demonstration of the evidence that anyone could see. Or at worst, a handful of examples of that good, consistent demonstrable evidence.

          •  It's what they do with it. (0+ / 0-)

            If they simply asserted there is no God, and showed the lack of evidence, they'd have an unassailable case. But they wouldn't be famous.

            It's when they go beyond the logic and assert that religion can only hurt people, that it's a mental illness, etc., that's when they become dogmatic. When they try to pressure people into agreeing with them.

            For qualities like gender, race, or sexual orientation the problem is simple: The system privileges one group over the others. The moral imperative is to fight against that privilege, and the only good question is how. Therefore, the attitudes about privilege are the only mentalities at stake, and mental campaigns for equality are always a good thing.

            Atheism, however, is nothing more than the mentality one acquires when one loses faith in God(s). So an all-out mental campaign for atheism, even if it makes a dent in religious privilege, has the separate effect of changing its own list of plaintiffs. A campaign can't change anyone's gender, race, or sexual orientation, but it can make someone into an atheist. That's what our complaint is: Atheists don't seem to respect this distinction. They even seem to relish their ability to be a cloud that changes others into them, even as they criticize religion for doing the same thing.

            It doesn't make the slightest difference in any of our lives whether God exists. But it matters very much whether things like freedom, respect for others, and equal opportunity to learn science exist.

            Religions rely on ignorance of science to assert their privelege. We all attack that privelege whenever we plant science education somewhere. And yet the atheists don't want science brought into houses of religion. They want to tear the houses down and replace them with their own type of houses for science. But if they do this, religions will just make new houses somewhere else. And we're all stuck on this rock we call earth, with nowhere else to build. If science is scrounged by those who knock down religion, then sooner-or-later religion will knock down science. You'll just be playing whack-a-mole with ignorance, instead of curing it.

            •  Clarification! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              trueblueliberal, melo, Evolutionary

              Public schools should always teach science and never religion. Conservatives accuse public schools of being run by atheists. I'm a progressive, and I know better. The First Amendment doesn't allow public schools to teach anything about God -- not even to say God doesn't exist. So the atheists' replacement for a house of religion would never be a public school, because if they taught at a public school, they'd just be plain old non-believers minding their own business.

              The problem is that science shouldn't be something you need to go to a secular place to find, nor something you can go to a religious place to escape. Science should be everywhere. That's the cure for ignorance and religious privilege.

            •  Where to start? (5+ / 0-)
              If they simply asserted there is no God, and showed the lack of evidence, they'd have an unassailable case. But they wouldn't be famous.

              It's when they go beyond the logic and assert that religion can only hurt people, that it's a mental illness, etc., that's when they become dogmatic. When they try to pressure people into agreeing with them.

              That is not even close to the truth.  First, how does one "show a lack of evidence?"  It is not incumbent on any atheist to show any evidence, it is incumbent on those claiming that a god or gods exist despite a lack of evidence to prove their case.  They haven't and they can't because there is no evidence.  They are reduced to the concept of faith, i.e. belief in something for which there is no evidence.  As an atheist, I have "faith" in nothing.

              Making claims such as "religion hurts people" is not at all dogmatic, there are mountains of evidence to support that claim such as the Crusades, the Inquisition and the turmoil in the Middle East.  If you think that is dogmatic, then you don't understand what dogma is.

              Atheism, however, is nothing more than the mentality one acquires when one loses faith in God(s).
              No no no.  That statement presumes that "faith," i.e. belief in that for which there is no evidence, is the default position.  People are not born with faith, they are taught faith.  Atheism is the default position and is a rejection of faith.
              They even seem to relish their ability to be a cloud that changes others into them, even as they criticize religion for doing the same thing.
              Again, no.  Atheism is, again, a rejection of faith, i.e. belief in that for which no evidence exists.  Atheism appeals to logic, reason, facts and evidence.  Religion appeals to none of those things and it cannot, it must be taken as "faith" because there is no evidence.
              And yet the atheists don't want science brought into houses of religion.
              That is precisely what atheists want; if science was "brought into the house of religion," that house could not stand.  Science, like atheism, requires evidence.  Religion requires faith.  Science and religion are therefore not compatible.
              ...sooner-or-later religion will knock down science.
              No, that cannot happen.  Religion is incapable of "knocking down" science because, again, science requires evidence while evidence is anathema to religion, which relies on the unwavering belief of that for which there is no evidence.

              Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

              by democracy inaction on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:26:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Excellent. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                democracy inaction, gsenski
                science requires evidence while evidence is anathema to religion

                #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

                by Evolutionary on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 02:14:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  This reads like a White House press response. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AaronInSanDiego

                  These dismissive answers, missing the point of everything I said, make me wonder how atheistic you really are. You don't sound like you're using your brain to comprehend my comment. Rather, you sound like you're listening to a voice from heaven saying "I don't exist".

                  If this is the best you can do to set forth your case for atheism, it's no wonder so few people take you seriously.

                  Evidence is not anathema to religion. Threatening, yes, but not anathema. Religion bends to science and keeps going. Can you show me a study showing that most religious leaders claim the earth is flat?

                  It is not incumbent on any atheist to show any evidence...
                  Science, like atheism, requires evidence.
                  What evidence does atheism require that it's not incumbent on them to show?

                  If, as I suspect, that question is taking your words out of context, you need another teleprompter.

                  if science was "brought into the house of religion," that house could not stand.
                  Yeah right. A house divided. Nice application of scripture, hypocrite.
                  •  To whom are you speaking? (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm not sure that last bit was meant for me, unless it is your intention to lump us all into a category to be hated.

                    #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

                    by Evolutionary on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:37:39 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No it wasn't meant for you. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Evolutionary

                      This isn't personal. And this isn't really about religion vs. atheism either. It's about free thought vs. group thought. The USA was built to accommodate as diverse a set of ideas as any citizen can imagine, provided only that religion is separate from government issues. This website rallies in support of these ideals, against a growing din of zealots.

                      You can't imagine a Church-run school teaching science correctly, but many people can.

                      I can't imagine having gay sex, but many people can.

                      In the words of Bruce Springsteen, "Ain't that America."

        •  The same is true for the tooth fairy. (5+ / 0-)

          Go ahead, prove the tooth fairy doesn't exist.

          You can't.  Does that mean people who believe in the Dental Diety could be right?  
          "God" had zero evidence apart from the emotions of believers.  How is that a "dogmatic" position?

      •  You could explain everything... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shanikka

        ...and that still wouldn't mean that there was no God.  To say that God is not necessary as an explanation for how any given phenomenon occurs isn't to say that there's no God, especially if your understanding of God is as a First Cause outside the cosmos.  Speaking personally, I never expected to find God that way--to find His signature on the universe, so to speak.  (I'm thinking of the album cover artist Roger Dean, who doesn't sign his paintings because that would ruin the impression he wanted to make!)  

        The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

        by Panurge on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:15:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  While arguably correct that beehives (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Evolutionary, ruscle

        didn't happen by lucky accident; the more correct statement would be that beehives happened by myriad lucky accidents over the millions of years of evolution since insects evolved on Earth.  I only feel the need to mention that distinction because the anti-evolutionists generally seem to discount the concept of "long time", insisting on explanations of instantaneous change.  The "lucky accident" fallacy plays into that paradigm.

        The Confederacy killed more Americans than al Queda.

        by rb608 on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:14:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Evolution (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb608

          has nothing to do with "accidents."

          Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

          by democracy inaction on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:27:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "accidents" as I intended in my post (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            democracy inaction, ruscle

            referred simply to random occurrences.  I chose that word only for consistency with the "intelligent creator vs random mutation" gist of where the thread was headed.  Those random occurrences whether as small as gene mutations or large as astronomical catastrophes set the challenges by which natural selection succeeds or fails for a particular species.  Perhaps "accidents" doesn't fully summarize the process, but it seemed more accurate than to ascribe the randomness to an intelligent designer.

            The Confederacy killed more Americans than al Queda.

            by rb608 on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:44:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  You are thoroughly dogmatic (0+ / 0-)

        in your anti-dogmatism.
        I swear, I see no difference between the promotion of athiesm like yours, and the promotion of any other evangelical fundamentalism of the mega-church down the street.  They appear the same to me.

        You can disagree with atheists about God's existence, but if you do, you are wrong.  If you think there is a God, you are wrong.  Some believers are innocently wrong, some are stubbornly wrong, some are delusionally wrong, some are hopelessly wrong:  believers go epistemically wrong in a remarkable number of ways.  But what all of them have in common is that they are wrong.
        When will I see you at my front door?

        Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

        by gatorcog on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:52:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If you are not looking for an argument (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notdarkyet, ban48, melo

      then why do you say so? That says more about your clarity of thinking and ability to express yourself than anything else you might write. Just do the work and let the chips fall as they may. Why not let the story tell itself - why try to "fix" it? If you are focusing on imperfections that is what you create within yourself.

      Real spiritual work is to appreciate those who royally piss us off for the simple reason that they piss us off thus giving us the opportunity to strengthen our own appreciation. I think Jesus explained this when he said "love thy enemy." He didn't mean be a milk toast.

    •  I don't agree w/you Bender, but your comment (9+ / 0-)

      was well done. To me the very idea that some guiding intellect would involve itself in beehives or buttercups is beyond my acceptance. I've had many a person say, "but when you look at the world and all it's beauty how can you not see God's hand" I always think, "how is it that you do?"

      We tend to anthropomorphize everything. We give intelligence to coincidence and simplicity, I catch myself doing it too, btw. But, the shear complexity of all of nature does not mean that it is intended by an individual, IMO.

      "But much to my surprise when I opened my eyes I was the victim of the great compromise." John Prine

      by high uintas on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:10:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Since Dawkins has no dogma (7+ / 0-)

      He can't be dogmatic.

      Did you have another term in mind?  "Too logical to be refuted" maybe?

    •  This "lucky accident" business is the nadir of (2+ / 0-)

      Illogic.  

      I simply cannot fathom the thinking of someone who, finding a watch, will asssert there must be a watchmaker...then ignore the inevitable question: who made the watchmaker?

      The utter, willful depth of illogic.

    •  FWIW re: the beehive (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladyjames, ruscle, Evolutionary, TiaRachel

      The fact is, there are quite rational, scientific, and mathematical explanations for the "perfection" of that imperfect beehive.  While questions of and evidence for the existence of God may or may exist, the attempt to simplify the complex into an easy definition is, I believe, one of the major negatives of religious thinking.  The belief that "God made it" is incredibly counterproductive to societal progress.  If we all were to view life as you view that beehive, we would not question why or how.  We would not advance our knowledge.  People dying from minor infections would be "God's will".  

      I can accept others' belief in an almighty, but I do get a bit up in arms when the supernatural is given precedence over rational explanations.  

      The Confederacy killed more Americans than al Queda.

      by rb608 on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:07:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  OK, two points... (5+ / 0-)

      First, hexagons are a pretty common natural geometry. They are found in everything from bee hives, to crystals (like snowflakes), to benzine rings. The mathematics are pretty basic. There is really no need to postulate a god (or a Jack Frost) to explain them.

      Second if we are to assume that beautiful things are the result of an active god force, we must also accept that horrible things are a result of the same force. If we just assume that god makes the pretty stuff and the icky stuff is just a random occurrence, then we are being silly. If bad can happen randomly then good can happen randomly as well. If God is not ultimately responsible for Vogon poetry, he is responsible for nothing.

  •  Thanks for a great diary. (34+ / 0-)

    A lot comes down to semantics-- I totally agree with what you're saying here, but there are some who, while they agree with your actual meaning, will still choose to use the word "God" to describe a feeling of unity or order or awe or mystery or some combination of these and other emotions. What they fail to understand is that by using this word in this way, and professing a belief in "God" they validate all the things that word means to most people-- not a mystical experience or awe in the face of existence, but the God of a book-- in the US and Europe, usually the Christian bible. It's past time for people with a mystical bent to unload the baggage of religion, including the word God, along with other supernatural notions, and stop unwittingly giving power to religions.
    Thank you for this diary-- we need more of this.

    "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

    by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:56:19 AM PST

    •  I will make the opposite argument (20+ / 0-)

      I think that to do as you suggest is to cede the entire notion of God to those that misuse it.  The terrible mistake that I believe guys like Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens make is that their zeal to associate all religious belief with fundamentalism ends up causing them to award the entire franchise of spirituality to fundamentalists.  

      I do not cede religious language.  The mysterious and unknowable truth of existence inspires me to call it God - and I do not yield to anyone else as more qualified to use that word.  To do so is to validate them.

      Dare to win in 2012

      by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:13:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I tried to say that it is mysterious and (9+ / 0-)

        unknowable to us.  In fact I took that exact line out.

        •  It seems like we have a lot in common (10+ / 0-)

          ...in terms of world view.

          I look at the word God as an almost algebraic symbol for whatever truth exists at the core of all things.  I don't seek to define it further.  In that sense I actually feel I am in line with my Jewish heritage as Judaism speaks of a God beyond our definitions.

          If you don't mind me saying, when I hear you say that God does not exist, I hear you denying a definition of God that someone else tried to hand to you.  I see you as denying the word in order to deny them.  But it seems to me that you have every bit as much faith as I do in the vast mystery of it all.  You certainly don't have to call it God, but then again - wouldn't doing so be a way of asserting the legitimacy of your perceptions?  To hand over a word like that to the charlatans who try and claim it as their own seems like a needless surrender.

          Dare to win in 2012

          by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:52:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly to you last paragraph. I want to add that (17+ / 0-)

            I believe Skip thought like we do.  When he was dying the Chaplain asked him what religion he was.  he said, "I don't believe in closing any doors."  It is the definition of god and the translation what that means to how we live by religion that I am trying to wage an argument against.  We must tear down the wall before we can rebuild it.

            •  a friend of mine wrote a book called... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Avila, pixxer, revsue, melo

              ..."God in Chains" about his turning away from fundamentalism to a larger view of God.  One not constrained by our limited thinking.  I've always liked that framing.

              I think the danger of tearing down to build is that there is no guarantee that the building will ever happen.  To my way of thinking I prefer to point out that human conceptions of God are always inherently puny.

              Dare to win in 2012

              by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 12:37:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It is just religion has so much sway over our (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                snout, sewaneepat, ubertar, ChurchofBruce, melo

                lives and world right now, it is consuming them, and that is the danger.  Maybe we should call it "the essence of the tao."  I would like to think that humans can evolve above puny gods.  If we don't we are going to be on this planet for a much shorter time than the dinosaurs with teeny brains.

                •  You can't inspire with a negative. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  offgrid, politik, revsue

                  Even if you could obliterate religion (which seems unlikely), there is no guarantee that a secular society would be any better.  

                  But more to the point, people will always seek meaning.  Offering them less (no religion) will not suffice for the vast majority.  You must offer them something larger to get them to surrender their existing notions.

                  Dare to win in 2012

                  by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 01:13:53 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's why I tried to pull a substitution. I do (0+ / 0-)

                    make the observation that humans need something to worship.

                    •  what a shame if that is true (0+ / 0-)
                      humans need something to worship.

                      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

                      by BPARTR on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:13:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I have truly come to believe that it is something (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        blueoasis, fishwars, ladyjames, melo, NonnyO

                        in our psychological makeup.  I believe that is why we find ourselves where we are today.  With people still clinging to 2000 year old religions, traditions, and beliefs about right and wrong and good and evil.  But I also believe those beliefs are threatening our rights and our very existence.  If religion would stay in the church it would be okay.  But they want to take over the political and public sphere and that threatens the rights of evrey person.  That's why I would like to cultivate a reverence for our planet which is threatened and endangered because we think we are lords over nature and do not understand our connection to it.  Without our planet we do not exist.  The ones who think they are going to be raptured do not care.

                        •  We are in complete agreement about that (4+ / 0-)

                          By the way, I was a graduate student of Richard Dawkins in the 1970s when he was writing his first book, The Selfish Gene.  I highly recommend one of his most recent books, The greatest Show on Earth.  In it he discuuses astronomy, evolution , cosmology, physics in a way that anyone can follow- and makes the case that they make a far more impressive magisteria than stone age myths.  You might find it fascinating.

                          I am sorry for your loss.  I have not lost a life partner, and do not know if I could surbive if I do, but my mother died in her 50s, over 30 years ago, and I still miss her every single day.  that is a testament to her power in the world.

                          As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

                          by BPARTR on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:26:38 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Then I must be one of the first (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          fishwars, trueblueliberal, NonnyO

                          in a series of evolutionary changes to the human being.  I have NO NEED to worship anything.

                          Worship is a trait of inferior intellect.   I see it as a total waste of time.  Serves no purpose.

                          The fact that we do NOT know why we are here, what the meaning of life is or where we "go" when we die is not an issue to me.  The fact that we do not know the answers to these questions does not cause me to invent some "sky god" to worship and "thank" for our existence.  I am not embarrassed not knowing the answers.  Instead I am notivated to finding the TRUTH, not making shit up as I go along just to claim there is some higher authority involved for whatever purpose.

                          The whole idea of "god" comes from the lack of knowledge of our existence and why we are here.  It was, and still is (unfortunately) a stop-gap between not knowing anything and knowing the truth.  And I am one who prefers not knowing and searching for the truth over making up some excuse for us being here and how we are to live.

                          Is it a jump on the chain of evolution?  Will all humans have the "gene" in the future that switches on some common sense?

                          WolfmanSpike

                          Howlin' at the World from the Left Side of the Planet

                          by WolfmanSpike on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:50:42 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  I don't know about worship. (0+ / 0-)

                          Most people seem to feel the need to believe that there is something beyond death.
                          And many people seem to need an external authority for any moral code that they profess.
                          Others need a supernatural ratification for their political and social beliefs.
                          And others look at the world an see what seems to see intelligent purpose.
                          Worship comes into play when all these religious needs are coopted and directed toward an official cult.

                        •  ecology is true religion n/t (0+ / 0-)

                          why? just kos..... *just cause*

                          by melo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:43:02 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  baby/bathwater (0+ / 0-)

                  Daily Kos: There is No God / My Profound Revelation

                  It is just religion has so much sway over our (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  snout,sewaneepat,ubertar,ChurchofBruce

                  lives and world right now, it is consuming them, and that is the danger.

                  why? just kos..... *just cause*

                  by melo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:41:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  That, I agree fully. (0+ / 0-)

          "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

          by zenox on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:48:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I say let them have the word. (8+ / 0-)

        It's discredited. It's inherently flawed, because you have to first accept it as referring to something outside of yourself for a mystical idea such as "God is inside you" or "You are God" to have any meaning. Without the external concept, those statements are as meaningless as "You are inside you" or "You are you". Utterly pointless. There are much better ways of saying the same thing that don't have to resort to such nonsense: "The universe is an awesome mystery, and you are part of that mystery. The world does not exist (for you) without your perceiving it, and in this way your perception brings the world into being. Both you and the world exist through perception, and this is a wonderful, awesome, mysterious thing". No need for any reference to "God".
        Just for clarification-- I'm not saying that an objective world doesn't exist, only that as human beings, our only experience of the world is through consciousness. As such, "the world" and "our experience of the world" are indistinguishable, on a practical level, even though we know that the world existed before we were born and will continue when we're gone.

        "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

        by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 02:21:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you say what I am trying to in (4+ / 0-)

          different words.  I was not actively trying to attack anyone's specific beliefs.  That is why I used the word mystery twice.  I try not to hammer home my points.  We all come as readers to any piece of writing with our own subjectivity.  Writers cannot change that.

          •  You did a great job. (7+ / 0-)

            What bothers me is that when people have these profound experiences of unity with everything, of existence being infused with meaning, of awe and wonder and power and joy-- and I think we all have these experiences, if we're at all curious about "the big questions"-- and rather than taking those experiences on their face value, and leave them as the intense, beautiful, amazing, life-affirming experiences they are, they put them in a box called "God". That would be fine if the box were otherwise empty. It's not. So the power of those experiences gets associated with, and tainted by, all the other associations of that word in that person's mind. By calling that experience "God", it allows them to justify continuing on in whatever religion they were participating in, whether as part of a group or alone, and believing in the garbage that goes along with it, because they found something in it that was true. But this experience isn't really in there, except as something appropriated, something that's a loophole-- religious texts (at least the ones that have staying power) are written on different levels, so everyone can get something they see as "truth" from it, from the simple-minded literalist to the mystic. So much better to drop the whole thing, and leave the experience untouched by words. Let it be what it is. "The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao".
            Thanks again.

            "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

            by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:15:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I suppose it depends how much weight... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              revsue, melo

              ...you afford those other associations.  I think the ancient religious texts have a lot to offer us if we associate them with an undefinable God.

              Dare to win in 2012

              by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:20:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't see anything wrong (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                snout, SherwoodB

                with reading those texts and thinking about them that way. That doesn't mean one has to adopt their language or call oneself a believer.

                "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

                by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:30:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  of course! (0+ / 0-)

                  No reason you should have to.  Only if you find value in it.

                  Dare to win in 2012

                  by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:33:22 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't see what value it could have (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AaronInSanDiego, blueoasis

                    except as a social value which detracts from the experience itself. It connects you to other people who associate with that language, whatever level they're reading it on. That might have positive effects on your social or business life, or just as a way of feeling part of a group, even if it's in an abstract sort of way, but I think ultimately it distorts the experience and creates dividing lines among people.
                    Also, the other associations to the word "God" don't just disappear by an act of will. They're still there, in your mind, unconsciously (at minimum-- they're probably still there consciously too).  Holding on to that term may be comforting, but I think ultimately it's lazy-- it's too hard to overcome the fear of doing without it, or just to give up the habit of something one's grown so accustomed to. There could also be social ramifications to deal with. I don't think it has anything to do with actual value.

                    "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

                    by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:52:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  nice jib cut (0+ / 0-)

              Daily Kos: There is No God / My Profound Revelation

              leave them as the intense, beautiful, amazing, life-affirming experiences they are, they put them in a box called "God"
              the human word 'god; is pitifully inadequate -any word is- but if used with that consideration it is useful as shorthand.

              why? just kos..... *just cause*

              by melo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:46:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Subjectivity colors everything we perceive (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            notdarkyet, bevenro

            That's why I don't get too worked up about the primacy of science.  Science is observation and observation is subjective.  We see what we are capable of seeing.

            Dare to win in 2012

            by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:17:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is where intersubjectivity comes into play. (5+ / 0-)

              Observation is subjective, but can be corroborated. That's why experimental results have to be replicated before they're accepted. It's also why there are strict methods like double-blind studies, for example. To dismiss science as subjective because it's based on observation is facile. It's not as simple as that, and you know it, but you want to justify something else by making that argument... maybe "God", maybe something else that's untestable.

              "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

              by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:03:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Corroboration is still subjective (0+ / 0-)

                1000 sea cucumbers at the bottom of the ocean are still only going to see what sea cucumbers can see - even if they compare notes.

                Dare to win in 2012

                by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:08:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's intersubjective, which is different from (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SherwoodB, blueoasis, ladyjames

                  plain old subjectivity. And human beings are quite different from sea cucumbers-- we're capable of creating things like the Hubble telescope, which has seen stars forming ten billion years ago, among other things. We've even seen those sea cucumbers at the bottom of the ocean. You sell humanity too short.

                  "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

                  by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:20:01 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You presume a more finite universe than I do (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    revsue

                    For all we know, the totality of all of the instruments we've built are capable of seeing roughly the percentage of the universe that a sea slug sees of the sea.

                    To paraphrase Wiittgenstein, we do.not know what we do not know.

                    Dare to win in 2012

                    by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:29:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  you presume to know what I presume. :) (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ladyjames, gsenski

                      What we now call the universe could be one little piece of a vast multiverse, and the big bang may have been caused by a collision of membranes in that multiverse. Or something else we haven't discovered yet. Or might never discover. What little we do know (and I'll go so far as to say it's significantly more than what sea slugs know) we know because of scientific inquiry. I'm not sure what your point is-- to diminish and dismiss science because the view it awards is necessarily incomplete? Or to propose some other way of gaining the knowledge that science can't provide? Sounds to me like a way to sneak in the "God of the gaps".

                      "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

                      by ubertar on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 07:25:19 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No presumption at all (0+ / 0-)

                        You argued that my analogy did not work because of all of the discoveries we have made and the technology we've developed.  I think that viewpoint carries the inherent assumption that the universe is ultimately small enough for us to have mastery over.

                        If you don't see it as that limited, than you ought to be able to see my point about the subjectivity of human inquiry.

                        Dare to win in 2012

                        by snout on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:42:56 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You misunderstand. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ladyjames

                          The discoveries and technology we continue to develop set us apart from your sea cucumbers. Intersubjective research through the scientific method is an undeniably powerful tool. Yet, that in no way implies that the universe is ultimately small enough for us to have mastery over. The one doesn't follow from the other. We will continue to expand the boundaries of our knowledge-- that, to me, is what's exciting, not the prospect of mastery or ultimate knowledge. We have to accept that we can't know everything. You seem focused on the limitations of science. Why is that? Do you think you have a better alternative?

                          "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

                          by ubertar on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:52:54 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

        •  But does anyone really believe... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          susans

          ...the world only exists through perception?  I certainly don't.  I am reasonably sure that truth is truth whether I perceive it or not.  The idea of external and objective truth has great meaning to me.

          Dare to win in 2012

          by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:15:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  that's why I included the words "for you" (0+ / 0-)

            in parentheses. We experience the world through perception. We know that the world existed before we were born, and will go on after we die, but when we try to imagine the world without us, we are there as an observer. I believe an objective world exists, but we don't have direct experience of it-- our experience is mediated through our perception. We can corroborate our perceptions with other people and with instruments that extend our perceptual reach (telescopes, thermometers, etc.). But we never experience the objective world directly... it's all ones and zeroes in our brains. Either a neuron fires, or it doesn't. That doesn't mean an objective world doesn't exist-- I'd say there's very strong evidence that it does.

            "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

            by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:22:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We agree (0+ / 0-)

              One of the reasons the concept of God matters to me is that it reminds me that my perceptions are subject to the realities of the universe and not the other way around.

              Dare to win in 2012

              by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:32:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree with this: (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis, ladyjames

                "my perceptions are subject to the realities of the universe and not the other way around". I don't have any idea what that has to do with "the concept of God", or even what that means in this context. Or maybe even what it means at all. My best guess is "the universe" or "existence"? Why not use those words, if that's what you mean? Does "God" just pack more punch? I'm not trying to be flippant, even if it comes across that way... I'm just trying to get where you're coming from (and so far, failing, I think).

                "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

                by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:37:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It would probably take hours... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...and quite a bit of alcohol to get you to see the connection through my eyes.  Sounds like you are doing fine seeing them through your own, so perhaps it wouldn't be worth it.

                  But the simplest way I can explain it is to say that viewing the truths that I am subject to is a way of reminding myself of my proportion in the universe.  Think of it thi way, if our perceptions define our experience of the  universe, than I experience the totality of the mysterious as my God.

                  Dare to win in 2012

                  by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:03:22 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Putting things in perspective is important. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ladyjames

                    I love this picture.

                    I don't get your last sentence... it's set up in the if...then language of a syllogism, but the first half is completely disconnected from the second, at least to my mind.
                    But I suspect we're just arguing about a word, and there's no point in getting too caught up in a semantic argument. I think I've said about all I need to say on the subject (but I reserve the right to respond to another post that comes up if I feel like it) and it's time for bed here on the East coast. Peace.

                    "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

                    by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:13:35 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think they misuse it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ubertar

        I think the word God came to us from religious doctrines, and assigning other meanings to the word is the more novel way of using it. I don't think assigning it to a personal sense of of mystery, or any other meaning that someone chooses to give it, is useful.

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:23:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Many religious doctrines sought to... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          melo

          ...describe the mystery of the universe via the word God.  It was simply anthropamorphized over time.

          Dare to win in 2012

          by snout on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:07:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think that's correct. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ubertar

            I'm talking about that specific English word, not other words which are thought to mean the same thing, or it's distant etymological ancestors.

            "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:31:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, I should amend my comment. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, ubertar

            I recognize that there are a variety of views, including what you describe, documented within the religious traditions. But I think these are derived from an anthropomorphized, monotheistic view of God, as described in the scriptures of the Abrahamic religions. There may have been earlier spiritual beliefs which were not anthropomorphized, but I think that was before the modern word "God". In any case, I don't see a value in associating any personal feelings I have about mystery or anything else with that word.

            "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:41:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Sam Harris, at least, does exactly the opposite (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Paul Ferguson, melo

        of what you claim. IIRC, far from dismissing spirituality, Harris in the last part of The End of Faith argues that spirituality as a phenomenon exists distinct from "faith," & that it is amenable to being (& ought to be) investigated scientifically as an important part of human existence.

        snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

        by Uncle Cosmo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 05:14:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo

        Is an excellent comment.  Thank you for it.

        If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

        by shanikka on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:05:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with you. I am trying to leave room for (7+ / 0-)

      agnosticism.  I believe our reverence should be focused on that which is most vital to our continued presence on the planet, nature and our connection with it.  If not we are an endangered species.

      •  I don't see any good reason to leave room. (7+ / 0-)

        There is no god, as god is usually defined. Or defined implicitly-- most theists won't attempt to define what they mean by that. Defined otherwise, or left undefined, the word is meaningless. It's used to obscure meaning, rather than shed light on it. To shed light is to expose there's nothing there. If people mean to refer to awe and mystery and so forth, they should just say what they mean.

        "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

        by ubertar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 02:02:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I believe in "something greater than us alone" (9+ / 0-)

        (of which I believe we are all a part) that goes beyond physical existence and that might as well be called "God."

        I also believe that this God -- and not any diabolical power -- created a world that could readonably support atheism and that, when it comes to what can be proven, pretty much demands agnosticism from anyone with any modesty.

        To me, this suggests that if we are here for a reason, that reason is not esotetic or occult.  It's right in front of our faces.  It's learning how to deal lovingly and justly, under what are often extremely trying circumstances, with ourselves and with each other -- on an individual and a group and societal level.

        That's why I practice my religion right here.  Whether I am a drop that goes into the ocean of collective consciousness when I die while retaining my individual "dropness" or that blends immediately and irrevocably with others, I don't know -- and I don't need to know.  I should live my life the same way either way, with my primary concern being the quality of that ocean.

        And if there's no such ocean after death, I pay no price for believing otherwise, as it pleases me to do.  Believing that we are all directed to work for the common good makes my life happier.  If death is the end of things, there's no penalty for having guessed otherwise.

        Democrats must
        Earn the trust
        Of the 99% --
        That's our intent!

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinksy OCcupy!

        by Seneca Doane on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:03:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Beautiful. That is also I a point I am trying (6+ / 0-)

          to make.  If you live your life here the best you can, you do not have to worry about the rest.

        •  I thik what you are really saying (0+ / 0-)
          I believe in "something greater than us alone"
          is "I wish to believe in something greater than us alone."

          As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

          by BPARTR on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:15:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Both are true (0+ / 0-)

            I wish to believe it and I do believe that it is more likely than not.  While I'm a trained scientist (social psychology) and have had this discussion many times over the past 35+ years, I come down on the side of co-founder of the theory of natural selection, Alfred Russell Wallace -- from the period before he became a spiritualist -- when he doubted the ability of evolution to give a compelling account of human consciousness and the subjective phenomenal field.

            Yes, before you ask, I'm familiar with the philosophical arguments against dualism and I find them lacking, especially as advances in physics hurtle us into the unknown.  I find the explanations of William James ("the thoughts are the thinker"), Daniel Dennett, and Stephen Pinket to be largely hand-waving and wordplay; nothing that convincingly rebuts the notion that the brain is the medium through which the soul acts, rather than the sole mechanistic "actor" itself.

            I'm happy to leave things where the great Stephen Jay Gould did, saying that different explanations may work better in their own domains and that reasonable people could disagree over the bounds of those domains.  I think that if there is a God, God has taken pains to make atheism appear to be a reasonable belief (among other things by portraying any purposeful God as being incredibly wasteful.)  But that takes me no further than agnosticism, beyond which I may essentially choose the side that makes best sense to me based on intuition.

            If you want to assert that my provisional belief in something tbat I call God is nothing more than a crutch, I'd be happy to elaborate further.  But may I suggest that you first read the relevant essays by Gould?

            Democrats must
            Earn the trust
            Of the 99% --
            That's our intent!

            "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinksy OCcupy!

            by Seneca Doane on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:56:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              melo

              I never bought into the separate magisteria meme.

              by the way, we have discussed aspects of this before.  Yours is one of the more rational, and well read arguments.

              Did I mention that I trained as an ethologist at Oxford, where I was a grad student of Richard Dawkins in the 1970s, when he was writing the Selfish Gene?  Daily discussions in the coffee lounge and Research group metings centered around just these topics, and led to his ground breaking book.

              I have long since switched to medicine ( when it was impossible to get research grants during the Reagan years and our country started its long spiral into anti-intellectualism), but I retain an active interest in the topics.

              Several of us are going to the Galapagos next October with Oxford University Tours. Behavioural ecologist  Nick Davies, from Cambridge is leading the tour.  Should be a stimulating series of discussions.  Care to join us?

              As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

              by BPARTR on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:08:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Magisteria (0+ / 0-)

                That's the word I was searching for.

                When I was at Michigan Psych in the 80s, evolutionary psychology was all the rage there.  Richard Alexander was the key figure, and Barbara Smuts the most impressive, but David Buss came on board before long.  Then, at Columbia Law, I used to argue with Jeremy Waldron, who favored the "you need religion for morality" side of the fence.

                I'd love to be able to go to Galapagos, not least because if I could, that would mean that I could afford to go to the Galapagos.  Only family vacations for me, now, though, and when you start multiplying expenses by 4 you learn to vacation within 300 or so miles.

                Democrats must
                Earn the trust
                Of the 99% --
                That's our intent!

                "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinksy OCcupy!

                by Seneca Doane on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:37:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent comment. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Seneca Doane

          Eric Stetson -- Entrepreneur and Visionary. www.ericstetson.com

          by Eric Stetson on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:25:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  If this is what they mean by (0+ / 0-)

      god why do they still insist on the bible and other anthropomorphic religious texts?

      •  Good question. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo

        But don't ask me-- I can only speculate. I think most of the time it's because it allows them to still identify as a (fill in the blank) which is what they grew up with, what their friends and family are, etc. It's more comfortable. I don't think these folks generally insist on that other stuff, but tolerate it or interpret it away, or dismiss it by thinking,  real (fill in the blank)s don't focus on that stuff-- which allows themselves to hold themselves above their fellow believers, while still counting themselves among them.
        On the other hand, some of these people probably never took the experience on face value to begin with-- they interpreted it from within the system they were already a part of. And the power of this experience, combined with that interpretation, reinforced their belief system. This is maybe the more common path. You find the same thing among new-agers who have had "out of body" experiences. Instead of taking the experience as an experience, and bracketing it until they have more information, they conclude that their "soul" had indeed left their body, because it fits with their belief system or desires. I've had these experiences myself, but I wouldn't call them "out of body" experiences except in quotes. It turns out that these experiences can be induced through electrical stimulation of a certain area of the brain.

        "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

        by ubertar on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 11:52:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  heh (0+ / 0-)

      Daily Kos: There is No God / My Profound Revelation

      It's past time for people with a mystical bent to unload the baggage of religion, including the word God, along with other supernatural notions, and stop unwittingly giving power to religions.
      the word 'god' took millennia to form, even in one language. not so easy to reinvent a word that old.

      better to reclaim it from the hypocrites.

      the rest of the baggage, totally agree.

      why? just kos..... *just cause*

      by melo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:40:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm saying don't reinvent it-- drop it altogether. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego

        "Reclaiming" assumes that it meant what you want it to mean in the first place, and that "hypocrites" distorted the meaning. It could just as easily be the other way around, and the people who believe in God can and will keep arguing about what they mean by that. Your reclamation efforts will just feed that. So much better to drop the word entirely, if the common definition isn't what you actually mean. Let the beard-in-the-sky people have it. What are you afraid of?

        "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

        by ubertar on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 01:06:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  because... (0+ / 0-)

          every so rarely it is appropriate a word that has amassed so much psychic charge over time. those three letters say a lot, it's just so unfortunate, what it is used for too often.

          why? just kos..... *just cause*

          by melo on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 04:47:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I AM - love the tao! (5+ / 0-)

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:57:48 AM PST

  •  "The game is in the playing, (18+ / 0-)

    not in the having played." -- Algis Mickunas.  No one will know who this is, but he was my mentor.  The line, heavily repeated, is from a story he wrote called "Said Sancho to his Ass."  Sancho is the sidekick of Don Quixote.  I really should write a diary about it, but you have truly captured the essence of the point of the story.  Becoming, not being, is everything.

    I'm so glad you quoted Nietzsche as well.  Eternal recurrence of the same -- because matter is finite and time is infinite, every possible moment has already occurred an infinite number of times so live your life saying yes to every single moment because it will be relived an infinite number of times.  This from a man who lived in abject agony most of his life.

    I also thought of Joni Mitchell -- "We are star dust."  Physics proves that is literally and profoundly true.  This is where I find my oneness.  This is where I find "god."  We are all god, including bugs and birds and microorganisms and lions and tigers and bears and rocks and stars and water.

    Absolutely beautiful diary.  I thank you will all my heart.

    "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." -- Patti Smith

    by followyourbliss on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:16:14 AM PST

  •  be kind. (8+ / 0-)

    he did figure it out. I'm glad you were able to experience him.

    Lo que separa la civilizacion de la anarquia son solo siete comidas.

    by psilocynic on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:22:39 AM PST

  •  Republishing to SOUL Kos - (20+ / 0-)

    after a bit of hesitation.

    As someone who still finds "God" to be the best word for describing what is at stake in my spiritual life, my disagreement actually isn't so much with the "there is no God," it's with the "we would all be better off..."

    When it comes to spirituality, there are so many personal, deeply personal, factors that can't be reduced to a one size fits all answer.

    Still, the way you move through your thoughts reveals  something more profound than the usual stuff of the atheism/theism pie-fights around here.

    If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:23:40 AM PST

  •  well, I for one, was basically mesmorized (26+ / 0-)

    for the last 15 minutes.   I know some parts sound harsh to believers and can understand that, but for me, the link between religion and the abuse of power is valid and she was speaking to this larger issue.
    I found the diary stunning and feel like someone just gave me a good shaking and said "Wake-up!"
    Thanks.

  •  I am a skeptic with respect to the idea that God (15+ / 0-)

    has "revealed HIMself" to so many people in so many religions. Whatever god there may be is contemplated by me in the same way that goodness has been revealed through Skip to you.  After all, god is only one letter away from good.

    I take the words of Jesus literally when he said "the kingdom of God is within you." I think he really believed that, or he wouldn't have said it.  

    Now, I can't personally accept the god that Jesus did, but that lack of faith should not be interpreted as disrespect for the instincts for good that Jesus represented, or for that matter, as disrespect for those who believe Jesus was God incarnate.  Too many such people are dear to me.

    And while I do not share their theology, I respect those who have the kind of faith in a god that helps them find in their own way what Skip found in his.

    But I clearly agree with Jesus, and with you, notdarkyet, about where goodness resides in the world, whatever you may call that goodness and however it may manifest itself to you.

    So, no, like Dan Brown, I do not get to the place where I am certain there is no god, because, unlike many here, I do not know what god means.  My gut, though, tells me it means pretty much what Skip knew by another name.

    Living god is more important to me than knowing god, and may in fact be the same thing.

    What'd the devil give you for your soul, Tommy? He taught me to play this here guitar REAL good. Oh son, for that you traded your everlastin' soul? Well, I wuddn' usin' it.

    by ZedMont on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:23:45 AM PST

  •  A beautiful testament ... (9+ / 0-)

    to your husband. Thank you for writing this piece.

    I'm reminded of Gibran's "On Joy and Sorrow:
    from "The Prophet":

    On Joy and Sorrow
    Kahlil Gibran

    Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
    And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

    And how else can it be?

    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
    Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

    And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

    When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

    Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

    But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
    Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

    Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
    Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

    When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

    ~Kahlil Gibran

  •  Beautiful and moving diary. (19+ / 0-)

    Given that words are always going to be distanced at least one step from reality, your words hit home with me from one paragraph to the next.

    The circumstances that led to my own profound revelation weren't based on events as tragic as the loss of a loved one, especially in your case, where you lacked the time to appreciate this discovery with your husband before he died. Comparisons of this kind should never matter. Yet, here I am, qualifying, anyways.

    After spending 25 years of my life attempting to treat an alcohol problem with the spiritually-based 12-step approach, I left Alcoholics Anonymous for good in 2007. Even though I made many good friends and learned a few good tips on how to stay away from a drink, I could never reconcile the need for a higher power (God, a doorknob, the A.A. group, a universal power source), or any other external means to stay sober.

    To me, this was not "keeping it simple." Every attempt that followed every drinking bout to (again) clear my channels so that some benevolent spirit could do its work was another example of "doing the same thing and expecting different results." I read The God Delusion, closed my A.A. big book, struggled with my drinking for a few more years, then quit for good on my own.

    Bill Maher ends his 2008 film Religulous with the statement "I embrace doubt." I found this to be closer to the truth than a quarter-century's worth of religious spiritual sayings heard repeatedly in meetings. To let myself be OK with not needing to seek the existence of an all-unifying power left me free to authentically experience life, as it happens in the moment.

    Natural connections to things... or people, especially children, who run around and play unencumbered, are just that to me. These feelings are natural. They are inside me, are part of my human nature, and I need no deity to explain or justify these feelings. Serendipitous events still occur in my life, events I once chalked up to as being miraculous. Nowadays, chance events which I used to write off as something that "happened for a reason" are now better appreciated for their fortune.

    The Occupy movement is powerful, not because it is fighting for the rights of a few hundred people to sleep outdoors, but because it is fighting for the right of millions of Americans to sleep indoors. --- Van Jones

    by bsmechanic on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:53:32 AM PST

  •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, 2thanks, pixxer

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 03:46:28 PM PST

  •  Wow. (0+ / 0-)

    This diary is a metaphysician's worst nightmare.

  •  I saw GOD He spoke directly to me. (6+ / 0-)

    Yes.  His name is Baxter .  He is a rescue cat.

    He is my only god.

    "Hey, with religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:00:18 PM PST

  •  as someone once said... (8+ / 0-)

    man made God...not vice versa....

  •  He who knows does not say. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, 2thanks, blueoasis

    He who says does not know.

    Lao Tsu

  •  Absolutely beautiful.. (9+ / 0-)

    Gonna hotlist this so I can go back and savor it later...

    I wonder if there will ever be a day when we do live for today and not for some imaginary afterlife.

    "Let's stay together"--Rev. Al Green and President Obama

    by collardgreens on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:29:18 PM PST

  •  This diary is very well written. (9+ / 0-)

    But I have suffered at least as much, and I have come to an opposite conclusion. I'll just leave it at that.

  •  Wow, thanks for sharing this diary with us. (9+ / 0-)

    I was glued to the computer screen.

    For a long time I wrestled with the idea of whether or not there is a God. I got mixed up with a group of hard-line evangelical Christians way back when I flunked out of high school. I had no prospects for the future and no sense of purpose, no sense of where I belonged, and I thought I could find that purpose with "God".

    What I couldn't accept about their philosophy was that everything was pre-ordained by some divine plan, and that those who wouldn't obey would be damned to hell. Life is too short and too precious to wait for a "God" to make things right. As you wrote in this diary, "we are the creators as well as the destroyers." We have to try and make the most of what little time we have on this big, beautiful rock orbiting around the sun, just a "pale blue dot" in a sea of blackness.

    "all of human history has happened on that tiny pixel, which is our only home"-Carl Sagan

    "I read this- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I read every last word of this garbage, and because of this piece of $#!^ I'm never reading again!"-Officer Barbrady

    by Broke And Unemployed on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:42:45 PM PST

  •  You want proof? (10+ / 0-)

    Go visit a children's hospital, specifically the cancer wing and have a chat w/ some of the terminally ill innocents.

    No benevolent, omnipotent and personal deity would allow such unjust suffering.

    C'mon Dems. Let's get Green and Mean.

    by stork on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:43:03 PM PST

    •  yup (4+ / 0-)

      precisely - proof no such Deity exists.

      Scientific Materialism debunked here

      by wilderness voice on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:50:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ah, yes. "The Problem" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladyjames

      And why I also cannot believe in a deity.  If he/she/it exists, I want to have a face-to-face discussion about why evil is allowed if this allegedly supreme being has the power to stop it.

      Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
      Then he is not omnipotent.
      Is he able, but not willing?
      Then he is malevolent.
      Is he both able and willing?
      Then whence cometh evil?
      Is he neither able nor willing?
      Then why call him God?

      Epicurus, Greek philosopher, 341-270 BCE

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 04:08:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  NonnyO: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO

        I have a whole list of questions for he/she/it!

        •  Well, yes, there's a list... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladyjames

          ... but I'll settle for starting out with 'Why is evil allowed if this being has the power to stop it?'

          Said being is not so all-powerful after all.

          If said being is not all-powerful and all-beneficent, then what's the point in religion?

          Well, other than the patriarchs took over the ancient matriarchal cultures and religions and turned out to be control-freaks who passed their control-freak doctrines down to modern patriarchs and politicians who support each other in the desire to control women, and make laws to reinforce their psychopathic egomania....

          I can't have blind faith in any religious doctrines that make women (the beings who give birth to the next generations so our species will go on) into lesser beings, or legislators who reinforce those twisted religious beliefs by making laws to control women's bodies.

          If there is a deity, it's gonna have to speak to me in person to change those starting points to any discussions - and I do not mean through burning bushes or disembodied voices brought about by delusions as a result of hunger and thirst while wandering in a desert.

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:09:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful (6+ / 0-)

    You sound just like my wife (that is a very good thing). She is on a very similar path on her journey.

    The only thought I would like to add is that in the west we seem to look outward for our answers (which inevitably seems to lead to religion or in the present context, consumerism - or happiness by having more stuff,) in contrast to much eastern thought which looks inward, and is happier with much less (the we we live)

    I think that the solutions to so many of the world's problems from environmental degradation to global warming to poverty to financial meltdowns can only come from returning to the old ways of looking inward. We are on an unsustainable path these days and as we look around for alternatives we would be well advised to look at some of the old ancient wisdoms.

    As for god, I doubt there is one, but I am pretty sure that if there is one, it is not the one imagined by man made religions.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:47:43 PM PST

  •  very moving tribute (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, pixxer

    The idea of "God" as generally set forth by religion is an infantile projection of a need for a big Daddy, punishing or kind as the case may be.  That said, profound spiritual experiences are readily available to anyone who seeks them out.  To liken such to epileptic seizures is ignorant and ludicrous.  Scientific Materialism explains a lot less than it pretends to - click on my sig for details.

    Scientific Materialism debunked here

    by wilderness voice on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:55:42 PM PST

  •   ( ! ) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, pixxer
  •  You quite eloquently make the case... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Michellebird

    ... for yourself.

    But you do not make it for me.

    This is a personal path (as you wrote) -- which means that if you determine "there is no God" that is a determination you make for yourself. Don't think you can make that call for everyone else....

    "We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." -- Willy Wonka

    by Huginn and Muninn on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:57:02 PM PST

    •  Huh? (5+ / 0-)

      All I can say is I guess you are not used to people not telling you what to think/believe.

      Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

      by taonow on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:12:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Either there is or there isn't, right? (12+ / 0-)

      So in this scenario, you come to tell the author that he or she may not make a decision for you, but you fail to notice that you have already made that decision for the author.  

      There is not a god for one person, and a god for another person.  Nor can there be a case in which God exists for one person, but not for another.  

      If you claim that there is a God, then you are claiming to make the decision for every living being ever.  

      So why doesn't the author get to make the decision that there is no god?

      I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way I'll always be sleeping in quotes.

      by otto on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:04:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "There is not a god for one person, ... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and a god for another person.  Nor can there be a case in which God exists for one person, but not for another."

        Why not?

        She has chosen not to believe.

        I have chosen to believe.

        I respect her choice. She doesn't seem to respect mine. "Deceived... deluded... fake." I don't think that of her choice -- because it is her choice. I make no judgments. Not sure why she thinks she should judge mine.

        And I don't see why her personal path cannot be one without God, and mine can be one with God, at the same time. They're different paths.

        "We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." -- Willy Wonka

        by Huginn and Muninn on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:26:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  and this is why they should ALL step back already (0+ / 0-)

        From the diary:

        We would all be better off to learn from the minute we are born: there is no God.  We are the only gods. We are the creators and destroyers.
        From the comment to which I am replying here:
        There is not a god for one person, and a god for another person.  Nor can there be a case in which God exists for one person, but not for another.  

        If you claim that there is a God, then you are claiming to make the decision for every living being ever.  

        So why doesn't the author get to make the decision that there is no god?

        How about this - put the universalizing Christians and other theists in a room (actual, virtual or whatever) with the universalizing atheists and let them have it out.

        If these groups would just have it out between themselves already, maybe rest of us who don't have this messed-up requirement that we must be right for everyone or we can't be right at all - those of us who do not need to aggressively universalize our spiritual beliefs by loudly insisting that everyone is better off believing what we do - won't have to deal with the noise of this in-group infighting about rigid belief systems.

        It seems to me that the real issue here is that you have two groups who are mirror images of each other, who share a strong arrogance about their respective belief systems, and who have issues to work out with each other.

        As for the rest of us, leave us alone - who needs the noise?

  •  Everyone has a belief to help them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man, TiaRachel

    cope.  It makes them feel better.  I'm all in favor of people feeling better no matter what their beliefs.  

    Rick Perry is George Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:13:30 PM PST

  •  "Tao" or "Dao" means "the way" "path" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet

    which is not much different than "Dei, Deus" or even "God." The word "God" is not a noun (name) but an attribution.

    If "Tao" exists, so does "God."

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:45:57 PM PST

  •  Skip clearly did not die... (12+ / 0-)

    ..just his body. He is alive and thriving through you, and you seem to have learned how to get out of the way. What a beautiful diary. My own journey is quite different yet so similar - I agree with everything you have discovered about the spiritual journey.

    I was raised atheist so I have to struggle to make sense of what people are really talking about when they talk about god. As best I can tell it is just reality, as it actually is, whole and complete. It is us who slice it up with words that define this from that. But first we slice ourselves up, splitting a small self off from it all so we can observe as the subjective "me" that has all these experiences. As Rumi said:
    "What is your life about, anyway?
    Nothing but a struggle to be someone.
    Nothing but a running from your own silence."

    Your story of Skip reminded me of one of my more powerful revelations. My father and I were very close - he was the reason I was raised atheist, but he had no eastern philosophy. He was a forester and we spent many weekends backpacking with nature and he always said he felt much closer to whatever god was supposed to be when out in the woods.

    Well he was killed in a car accident. It was a mess as he was in my brothers car, who was away, as my mother had their car as she was on vacation with her mother. So there was no one at my dads home address or my brothers home address. The police popped his body in the freezer and finally tracked us down. I got to break the news to my mother - she was vacationing close to my home at the time - and then we both went to ID the body. We were a bit nervous as they did nothing but stick him in a cooler at the morgue. I had never seen a dead body before, so I didn't know what to expect.

    So I looked to see if it was him. And I was almost blown off my feet as it was NOT him. It was definitely his body - that was clear. But that was now just a piece of meat. What happened was I realized he was now inside me! I still had all the feelings of him being alive right there and he was absolutely begging to take care of my mother. I just took her hand as if it were him and held it. No real tears - the feelings were all of deep love, deep deep affection and appreciation. There was no end to the warmth and the promise that it would be OK.

    I never told my mum. We just looked at each other, and accepted that yep - that is his body, he is now officially dead, and left to take care of funeral arrangements.

    The mind is a fascinating thing how it gives us a sense of being separate but the truth is we are not separate at all. To finish I will share one of my most favorite quotes of Fritz Perls who perfected gestalt therapy - a method of living fully in this present moment.

    "Contact is the appreciation of differences."

    It acknowledges the separation yet simultaneously allows its healing through appreciation. You and Skip are so right that appreciation is the key.

    So thank you for a lovely diary. I wish I could give it more than just one tip and rec.

  •  exquisite. (7+ / 0-)

    How nice it is to see that others get it, although you say it far more eloquently than I could, for which I thank you.

    I note that some are compelled to refute you; they just can not let it be.

    I'll give you a bon mot that's been rattling around my mind for decades:  Pantheist Existentialism ...
    god is (in)everything and this is it.

    Again, thank you for renewing my faith in Daily Kos as a venue where real thought can be encountered and ideas discussed with civility and heart.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:04:11 PM PST

  •  i hope you are not (0+ / 0-)

    like the non-believer on the I had an abortion diary,who said she viewed all disabled as defectives.I can send you the link.

  •  Often attributed to Epicurus in 340ish BCE (13+ / 0-)
    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?”

    I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way I'll always be sleeping in quotes.

    by otto on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:06:54 PM PST

    •  Able but not willing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Herodotus Prime, pixxer

      That's the part that I don't get.  

      I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way I'll always be sleeping in quotes.

      by otto on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:21:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He/She is able BUT unwilling! (0+ / 0-)

        Man has been given the free will to make choices, but must be responsible for the choices made and cannot escape the consequences. That is the immutable law! Whether you believe it or not, whether you accept it or not does not stop it from operating in your life.

        Call him/her by whatever name, God, Allah, Supreme Being, there is that that is beyond us. I agree with Albert Einstein when he said; “That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”

        Reflections on cause and effect, freewill, karma and reincarnation tell us that the Cosmic or God or Allah or Supreme Being is JUST. We begin to appreciate and understand the different starting points for all human beings and what befalls man when we take the time to contemplate reincarnation and karma and see them as the fair balancing acts. In the end, we are thankful for a JUST God, Supreme Being, Allah, Cosmic, or by whatever name we chose to call the Divine!

        It is incumbent upon us to create a better future for ourselves and humanity by sowing good seeds so that the Lords of Karma will reward us accordingly and this has nothing to do with religion or religiosity.

        While the search for the Supreme may even be collective, the discovery is ALWAYS personal. It cannot be taught, read in books, passed on like an initiation, but must be experienced at a personal level.

    •  I am aware of the ontological argument. Thank (3+ / 0-)

      you for posting it.  I thought about using it but was trying a different approach.

    •  "I think it's something to do with free will." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gsenski

      For goodness sakes, haven't you seen Time Bandits??

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:58:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Free will" (5+ / 0-)

        is the verbal gymnastics theocrats use to try to defuse the Epicurean paradox.  It doesn't work, because the Epicurean paradox does not just include bad actions by one man against another- it includes hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, plagues and so on.  these are not the outcome of free will but rather natural phenomena which would be easy for an actual god to prevent.  ( the bible goes so far as to say that their god actualkly chooses to unleash these on people who disploease him.)

        Personally, I woud rather live each day under a set of unchanging natural laws, than under a capricious god who could alter those laws at random and appears to care more the outcome of high school football games than for the millions of innocents killed by the natural phenomena over which he has control.  Can you imagine what it would be like if the sun really could or did stand still in the sky?

        As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

        by BPARTR on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:25:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, in that case, (0+ / 0-)

          wouldn't that be an explanation for why God doesn't intervene in the world (or at least doesn't seem to)?  I think C.S. Lewis made the same argument once, for what that's worth (probably not much to you, but there you go).

          The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

          by Panurge on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:59:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes that is my point (0+ / 0-)

            If "GOD" is unmoved to prevent suffering and death that he/she could prevent- they what kind of god is he/she?

            As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

            by BPARTR on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:22:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, here's a provisional answer. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SaintC

              God doesn't intervene because that would mean we couldn't rely on the laws of physics, especially if He intervened to keep anything bad at all from happening.  Everything will be made OK in the end, just not within this particular physical universe/space-time continuum/whatever.  This is the price for having anything at all.  Yes, that requires a leap of faith.  No, I can't blame you for not making that leap.

              The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

              by Panurge on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:59:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I answered that vexing (0+ / 0-)

              question above. God - He/She is able but unwilling, rather, does not have to because of freewill, karma and reincarnation!

        •  free will: (0+ / 0-)

          There is an understanding of quantum mechanics called many worlds, which holds that whenever there is a possible event that has more than one outcome, all possibilities are realized because the universe splits into a universe for each possibility. So much for free will. We just happen to be in the universe where you decided this way rather than the alternative.

    •  Combined this argument with Occam's Razor (9+ / 0-)

      Simple answer is that this being isn't talking to you because he doesn't exist. I hate spiritual study because it is like trying to figure out if the imaginary friend of someone that died 2000+ years ago is talking to you.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and I'm not taking the word of a bunch of pre-scientific fiction writers who didn't know simple facts like:

      1. The Earth is round
      2. Disease comes from germs
      3. Mental illness can make you act erratically
      4. 1000 other things we take for granted

      These stories are really useful for creating a control mechanism for societal elites. If I told you to give me all your money you'd tell me to get bent. If, on the other hand, I can convince you that I've got an imaginary friend and he's going to punish you if you don't give me all your money then we're getting somewhere.

      There is an inherent conflict of interest with "holy men" telling the rest of us what their imaginary friend "thinks." How can we possibly know that they aren't just making up their little talks and telling us things that are in their, not our, best interest?

      The only difference between (Mitt) Romney and George W. Bush is that Romney hasn't destroyed the American economy, yet - MoT

      by Herodotus Prime on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:38:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or from J.B. by Archibald MacLeisch (0+ / 0-)

      If God is good he isn't God.
      If God is is God he isn't good.
      Take the even take the odd.
      I would not stay here if I could
      But for the green grass in the wood
      And the windon the water.

  •  Regarding psychiatrists who believe in God, (13+ / 0-)

    they are just people like the rest of us. They have expertise in one field, but the fact that they believe in God doesn't make them charlatans anymore than the average believer on the street. However, any such professional who tries to impose their religion on a vulnerable patient is behaving unethically, I think.

    "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:07:34 PM PST

    •  Yeah. That's the part that got to me too. She (7+ / 0-)

      had already done it several times to me.  I always wanted to say, well so glad we had this discussion all about you.  I never saw her again after that.

    •  First I want to apologize. I tried to respond to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego

      a few comments, but really had to get away from this story.  That is why I did not respond more fully to you.  I was trying not to write a book.  (I also had an answer about the accessibility of the universe but decided not to waste the space because that was not the point I was trying to make.) I realized your point about psychiatrists when I wrote this and almost took it out, but I kept it for several reasons.  One, I wanted the illustration about how the mind works.  Two, I think psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors can be as dangerous as priests to vulnerable people.  People walk in and lay their wholes selves, emotions, lives and minds at the feet of someone that they give instant credibility and trust to to help them.  Unfortunately I have found there aren’t that many good ones.  I believe we all experience the world the same and differently.  Some of us have heightened perceptions in one or more areas.  For some intelligence, for some like my husband total perception, for me it has always been, since I was a small child, heightened emotional sensitivity.  I call my self an empath.  I feel the pain and hurt that we cause each other and the world, stronger, deeper than many others.  My husband recognized this, and when I talk about being a mirror, he saw that people saw themselves in me and took their anger,, hurt, hate whatever out on their perception, not me, mind you.  Skip was my deflection and shield to the world.  He stood between it and me and tried to protect me.  The best professionals I had in these ares were ones that explained how the mind worked to me and what it could do.  Two.  Others sat there in judgement of me the whole time, dismissing me because of where I was and what I was there for (and maybe their boredom of hearing about the pain in people’s lives).  I could recognize this because I am intelligent and have heightened perceptions, as are many others that suffer in these situations.  Most of them did not want to do the work, because I could not take the medications, I had deadly life threatening reactions to them.  If they could not medicate you, they gave up on you.  So I left it in, because I do believe that these professionals can be as dangerous to a persons well-being as priests.  Like I said we do not know much about the mind still.  Yes we know more.  But just like priests anyone that sits up there and says they know and are the ultimate authority on the mind, or god, should be looked at with skepticism.

      •  I appreciate you sharing that. (0+ / 0-)

        My experiences have been different, but I don't think psychiatrists and psychologists are the right approach for everyone. And it's often hard to find a good match. Each person hopefully has the autonomy to make those decisions for his or her self, but that can be difficult. I've been relatively fortunate, and I think the mental health profession has helped me, although it has been a long and expensive process, and did not always move in a positive direction.

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:19:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, 2thanks, pixxer, ladyjames

    And thank you for being my mirror.  

  •  Excellent diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goodpractice, pixxer, ladyjames

    I'm a believer, but your truth is your truth.

    http://otherwise-occupied.tumblr.com/ @OOccupied

    by jvantin1 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:14:01 PM PST

  •  You seem to be a wonderful person. I am sorry that (6+ / 0-)

    you have lost your soul mate.

  •  Excellent thought-provoking diary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BPARTR, pixxer, ladyjames, marleycat

    Over my 67 years, I've gone from believer to non-believer several times and come to the conclusion that humans have invented "god" to explain things that they are unable or unwilling to understand.  Religion serves a purpose in society to reinforce treating each other well, loving and caring for one another. But it can easily be used by some as a manipulative tool for scared, ignorant or even bigoted souls. It should always remain personal and never dominate the political discussion- a sure way to diminish any good that religion may play.

    "George Washington: "The power under the Constitution will always be in the people.... and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled." 1787

    by moose67 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:30:43 PM PST

  •  If god does exist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, Christin, pixxer

    it is to beauty like yours.

    How very wonderfully written.

    Chip was a very fortunate man.

    Scisne me e terra ea naso tolere posse?

    by penguins4peace on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:37:44 PM PST

  •  I am pretty sure God is not an old white guy, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pixxer, marleycat

    above the clouds.  

    What I am sure about is that there is more to existence than we can comprehend, and that we should spend every day seeking enlightenment as to what that might be.  

    My religion gives me a construct that I can do that within.   Some people don't need that.   We all want mostly the same thing, though.  

    Living proof that hard work can raise your apparent skill level.

    by SpamNunn on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:38:50 PM PST

  •  Beautiful diary. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, notdarkyet, CalNM, pixxer, ladyjames

    I loved every word.  When I was 19, I met a woman, Becky Jo, who was 48.  It was 1972.  This woman said these things to me.  You are god, you are one with all things, live a good life - be good to everyone, be positive in your dealings with life - on, and on.  For 40 years, I've tried to live this way, although I do have setbacks.  I admire your husband, Skip.  He lived it and I know it is wonderful to know someone like that because Becky Jo was of that caliber, too.

    You expressed in words feelings I have about so many things.  Thank you.  

    love the fetus, hate the child

    by Raggedy Ann on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:44:27 PM PST

  •  Good diary. But I don't think atheism is necessary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Michellebird

    There are plenty of people who happen to believe in a deity who are reasonable and benevolent people.

    I respectfully disagree with your statement that "We would all be better off to learn from the minute we are born: there is no God." Nobody really knows. I think it would be better if children were taught to think for themselves and consider various ideas, rather than being taught only one particular viewpoint (whether religious or non-religious). Open-mindedness is what the world needs, not religiosity or atheism.

    Eric Stetson -- Entrepreneur and Visionary. www.ericstetson.com

    by Eric Stetson on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:03:25 PM PST

    •  It might be more resonable to say (4+ / 0-)

      that yuo don't think theism is necessary.  to state

      But I don't think atheism is necessary
      is very odd indeed, since atheism is the non-belief in an  unproven deity.

      It is like saying , "I don't believe it is necessary not to believe in flying toasters or alien abductions."

      Not necesary to not believe???

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:29:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't see an incompatibility between (0+ / 0-)

      either religion or atheism and having an open mind.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:46:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How much evil means there's no God? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

    by Panurge on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:06:28 PM PST

    •  How much "good" means there is a God? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BradyB

      c.f. the Epicurean paradox above

      Lack of evidence for not a god is not evidence for a god- just as lack of evidence for not a miracle is not evidence of a miracle- and lack of evidence for not 100 gods is not evidence of 100 gods...

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 07:32:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That would vary depending on the definition of God (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego

      .  Some people are naive enough to define a god that is OMNI benevolent and OMNI potent and OMNI scient.

      THAT definition describes a god that even one small tiny bit of unfair suffering in the world disproves fully.  (Note, I'm not saying the "evil" humans do, so people can't use the free will dodge.  We're not talking about the actions of humans like Hilter.  We're talking about the suffering caused by nature itself, which is God's fault if god has the classic three omni's mentioned above.  )

      And I don't understand why they keep on doing it because it would be trivially easy to defeat the problem of evil argument if all you did was back off on one of those three omnis a bit.  Just propose a god that unlike the god of the three omnis, is not quite all knowing or not quite all powerful or not quite all benevolent.  All you have to do is ease off on ONE of those properties and that God could still exist even with lots of nature's evils in the world.  (This might be the best world he could manage (not entirely omnipotent).  He might not be able to see all the suffering (not entirely omniscient).  He might not be able to feel for al the suffering and care about it, because he has higher needs that matter to him more than what happens to some humans (not entirely omnibenevolent.)  All it takes is to back of just a little bit on any ONE of these three and the problem of evil goes away.  That's why I'm so surprised people don't do that.

      •  You have to back off quite a bit to allow for evil (0+ / 0-)

        not just a little bit.  And if you do so, then God is not God.  He's a highly technologically developed alien, or something.

        "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

        by orrg1 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:16:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Depending on one's view of God, (0+ / 0-)

      any amount of evil, or no amount of evil.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:05:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent Diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CalNM, pixxer, blueoasis

    May I thank you for sharing this diary with us, for sharing with us your love of the world and of your Skip and of your desire to become a better person? Thank you.

    My own philosophy is homemade; I have little use for the great philosophers and often find out after the fact that I have reproduced their work. I too value awareness of this world and of oneself, and appreciation of all things.

    You write very well. I hope you would write fiction. The world needs stories from such people.

  •  To be honest I didn't read any of the diary (0+ / 0-)

    don't have time for that, but the title said there is no god so I rec'd it anyways...

  •  Skip (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pixxer, ladyjames

    Skip was right...we are on our own path and we each have to find our own way.  You were very blessed to have Skip in your life.

  •  Amazing that you find so little value (0+ / 0-)

    where I find so much; so little potential where I find so much; so many people and so much about them to discount, disrespect, and dismiss; such a narrow read on the universe and our place in it; and no god where I find God everywhere.

    I think of the Gary Larson cartoon "Same planet, different worlds."

  •  Skip sounds like a wonderful man and this is a (0+ / 0-)

    wonderful tribute to him.

    I think you're too hard on the humans. In our society  many are seduced then caught in the realm of the hungry ghosts, never satisfied. Worldwide far too many don't even have the ability to get their daily bread. I have been with people who have next to nothing but are happy to share what they have. I have been with wealthy individuals who truly care for their fellow man. I have certainly been with people who are caught in a machine that rewards avarice and selfishness and penalizes true compassion.

    I don't think an abundance of human life makes life cheap, any more than a field of flowers makes them less beautiful. It is we who make life cheap through war, famine and greed; nature at times through disease and catastrophe. Sure there must be limits to our numbers, but that didn't seem to be what you were driving at.

    I believe that if there is a creator, she is a mathematician.

    Keep being kind, treat others like you would want to be treated, listen to the birds, watch the moon, and appreciate this wonderful world. If we all did that, the rest would take care of itself.

    “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

    by the fan man on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:35:46 PM PST

  •  I've said this before (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nutter

    The clearest evidence that there is no God or gods is that everything we have discovered about how the universe and we ourselves got here does not require or show evidence for intelligent involvement. Now regarding life, and cosmology, we can only go back 99% of the way, or 99.9% of the way, or whatever. The thought then that God is going to show up in the remaining .1% is pretty unlikely, especially since we are learning more each day, pushing God into a smaller and smaller space, and he still doesn't show up.

    Most people either can't think through the implications, or won't, as the diarist points out. The idea that God allowed the universe to evolve for 13 billion years, and life on earth for the last 3.6 billion, including several mass extinction events, all to eventually get to us, is a bit of a stretch. The impersonal universe fits the evidence much better.

    I think religions are in fact dying out, and not because people are becoming more immoral, but because they are learning more. Thousands of years of explaining nature through God will take centuries to change, and we're in the middle of it.

    Does it take that much imagination to think that when we finally give up God, instead of devolving into immoral anything-goes savages, that we could finally develop a true, yes, appreciation, for life, and especially human life, for the miracle it really is, and respect for our beautiful planet, for harboring it safely? Am I the only one that thinks this could result in a far better world, ultimately? I happen to think that it is the belief in intelligences behind every force of nature and every unknown thing that is a leftover from more savage times, not a mark of progress.

    Why is it that we never think that believing an untruth can be helpful, but always make an exception for religion?

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:36:57 PM PST

  •  If someone wrote a conversion story (0+ / 0-)

    There are so many atheist to Catholic conversion stories.  How do you think it will be received here if someone wrote a diary about their conversion to Christianity or Catholicism.

    This is a political blog.

    Root of Job Loss: Low capital gains (tax incentive) for stock market casino compared to real businesses that produces Jobs. Great Business idea A Dept Store that sells only made in america goods

    by timber on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:03:55 PM PST

  •  There is no God; there is God (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Taylor, ladyjames

    Who knows?  It seems to me that to act as if this is something we can absolutely know is to miss the point of appreciation, living in the now, and humility.  We can't know.  But we can see the sunrise, etc.

    What would Jesus do? Whip the exploiters out of the temple!

    by jhannon on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:14:23 PM PST

  •  O.M.G. this is totally out of the park. (5+ / 0-)

    Here are some lessons that I found especially valuable:

    I had yet to realize that wisdom can speak without words, so quietly it cannot be heard with the ears. Only the heart and mind together can recognize wisdom.  You must listen with both.
    Who is brave enough to slay god once and for all? No one it seems, in the public sphere anyway, our so-called leaders.  It is not god’s wrath that is feared, but the wrath of the masses who cling to god.
    But, if you have your own intellect and instinct to let god go, do it.   You are only losing an imaginary friend, a leftover playmate from childhood that you have outgrown. Put god away like a worn out toy and embrace the reality and beauty that surrounds you.  Give your reverence to nature, the earth.  That which gave you life.
    Live the life you have.  The only life.  Do not seek god or immortality or life in the hereafter, it is a chimera, a fake, a waste of life, and a deadly one too, a life denier and destroyer in the here and now.  Seek nature, love the earth.  It is crying for your reverence right now.
    I asked Skip one time what he thought happened when we died,  “It’s like a drop of water going back into the ocean,” he said. It was the best answer I have ever heard.  No heaven, judgement or angels or futures lives.  Your little spark back into the humongous universe.  Let your spark shine while you still have it.
    Further: Only the wise can learn. You have learned. Thank you for passing the Golden Ball.

    I am so sorry that you lost the person of Skip, but I am happy for you that his essence seems to live on in you. Hold it close.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:16:11 PM PST

  •  Beautiful tribute, thank you for writing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, KateCrashes, marleycat

    I am of the belief that not only is there no anthropomorphized, "Heaven"-dwelling God, but that believing in one is among the most profound abjurations of innate responsibility there is. If you believe, as Buddha and Jesus and so many are alleged to have said, that God is within all of us and that the Kingdom of Heaven is within, then bowing down before an externalized concept of God is, to me, essentially blaming or attributing your role and presence in the Creation and the Universe to some fictitious outside force and in doing so, manifesting a refusal to accept your role and responsibility for that Creation and your effect in it. That is, inventing something bigger than you -- the Big Boss -- to blame.

    The attribution of authority and control to a superior being is really not that different from the Third Reich when you look at it this way... people who commit atrocities -- and we all know the litany of endless atrocities that have been committed in the name of God and of religion -- often claim to have been "only following orders" and for some this equates to carte blanche to do whatever evil they see fit because some "higher power" told them to or expressed a condoning of their destructive actions. For me it just proves the old cliche about religion, where it is said that True Believers always seem to know what God wants... and isn't it amusing that what God wants always seems to be 100% in line with their own desires... what they want?

    I think that when politicians, in particular, are asked to affirm their "faith" in the all-seeing, all-perfect God -- and last time I checked, no atheist or agnostic has ever been nominated for President, for instance -- what is really happening is they are acknowledging their willingness to support and spread belief in the real deity down here, which is called post-industrial consumer Capitalism... itself a racket and a shell game even less efficacious for the prosperity of all humankind than "God" has proven to be.  For me, these lunacies are analogous and belief in the failed system which concentrates all the resources necessary for life in the fewest and greediest hands and then demands total fealty to its unquestionable principles of resource concentration is the real Fairy Tale we all bow down to like it's the be-all and end-all of what civilization means. For me, belief in the externalized, often-vengeful God is a gateway drug to accepting the subjugation of the system, and the entailing belief in an unprovable, paradise "Heaven" afterlife is what a lot of people accept as a proxy-payment for the unnecessary and ridiculous suffering the system and its acolytes impose on them for their whole Earthly lifetimes.

    IMO the sooner organized religion goes the way of the dinosaurs, the sooner the true operative god of this planet -- money -- can be exposed and dismantled for the annihilating force that it represents in the world.  But that can't happen until the "fake beard" of an all-knowing, all-controlling Supreme Being is demythologized and discarded... and until it does there will be untold and unimaginable suffering throughout this world in perpetuity.

    "Some of you are going to die... martyrs, of course, to the Freedom that I will provide!"

    by emperor nobody on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:34:12 PM PST

  •  Where is the SPOILERS tag?! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gnbhull

    Don't give away the ending! Some of us haven't finished the movie!

    Kidding. :)

    I don't know if you're right. I choose to believe because I think it's preferable, but I have doubt. I'm comfortable not knowing.

  •  Every effect has a cause. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    Hawking should know this.

    •  Some believers don't mind their god-concepts (0+ / 0-)

      violating causality. And some non-believers may prefer to skip a step.

      There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death. -- Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:09:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is no god, and some of us know it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladyjames

    I am sorry about your loss.  I can only imagine what it must feel like to lose a mate.   Skip sounds like a really great guy, and the emptiness he left behind must be huge.  

    When I seek comfort from a loss, I remind myself that I still have them in my mind, memory and heart.      I once read in a diary here that we are all made from star dust and comet water.  If death is simply the transition back to whence we came,  imagine how thrilled Skip must be to have become one with the nature he so loved.  

    It will take time, but you will always have him and all of the gifts of life he gave to you.  

    "bin Laden's dead, and GM is alive" ~ Biden

    by dkmich on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:51:20 PM PST

  •  Religion is the sigh of the opressed .. the heart (0+ / 0-)

    ... of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

    Karl Marx, of course.

    But Christopher Hitchens has often put it more fetchingly.  Hitchens' views on religion tend to mirror my own.  

     I myself spent a lot of years at Bible study in Catholic school.  
      I don't personally object to religion, one on one.  But as a public matter, it is usually a fearsome, usually ugly force.

     No, it doesn't have to be.  Sometimes a church is all that opressed people have.  Chomsky, a bit like Marx, saw that religion was sometimes useful to the opressed. Sometimes a balm, sometimes for action's sake.
      You can see this perfectly clearly in American Indian History,  Wovoka's Ghost Dance Religion.  "Do these things, and the White men will dissapear.  Do these dances, wear these clothes, and the Buffalo will return..."
       But ultimately, religion itself, and in my view American Christianity is mostly just a 'vale of tears.'

    "If the Nuremberg laws were applied, every post WWII US President would have been hanged." =Chomsky

    by abenjaminc on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:18:57 PM PST

  •  Fantastic... (4+ / 0-)

    you have led me to the conclusion of so many trails I have been following and summed them up so beautifully.

    I doubt I could say it any better than that. It would take way too long...:)

    I have a copy of the Tao and have not read it in awhile. I will dig it out shortly...

    Thank you for this...

    I'm not paranoid, I'm just well informed--SherwoodB

    by SherwoodB on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:07:06 PM PST

  •  What Hawking doesn’t get yet, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, BenderRodriguez

    but someday may, is time doesn’t exist. Time is only an illusion created by the interaction of matter. In the absence of time, there was “always” something, otherwise there would be nothing now (there has never been a laboratory experiment in which something was produced from nothing). The non-existence of time provides the only rational explanation that doesn’t violate the set (i.e. known and continuously proven) order of events.
    #1 Cause.
    #2 Effect.

  •  don't forget to read this (0+ / 0-)

    just a note to myself :)

    i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

    by Anton Bursch on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:53:56 PM PST

  •  Yes, Yes, and Yes... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter, tytalus

    ...Lao Tsu said it all so long ago and throwing in Zarathustra at the end rates another Yes.

    Well done. Skip would be happy.

    I could only wish that more people had attained what you have so eleoquently expressed here.

    Existence always was and always will be.

    by Seattle Mark on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:49:16 AM PST

  •  The Dawn Chorus (4+ / 0-)
    Listen to the birds sing, because their songs are pure and true.
    When I put the definition of appreciate and your comment about bird song together I was reminded of the Dawn Chorus.  

    Many people know that birds greet the dawn with song and it's a beautiful thing.  If you haven't heard it just think of millions of birds awakening at first light to "make a joyful noise" from one end of the earth to the other.  

    I've always read this described as a localized event.  Something that happens where-ever the author or story teller is.   It lasts a few minutes.  You hear the birds around you and then it's over until the next morning.  Wrong.  

    One day I woke up and realized that the Dawn Chorus continues as dawn progresses around the globe.  It's always dawn somewhere and somewhere birds are celebrating the end of night with song.  

    The Dawn Chorus never stops.  It never falters.  Birds are everywhere.  Over remote oceans, deep deserts, high mountains, cities big and small, the sun rises and birds pick up their part one after the other.  Somewhere at every minute of every day birds add their voices to the longest running show on earth.  This wild show of  joy "pure and true" has run for 70 million years.  That's how long birds as we know them have been around.  

    Think about that.  Humans have been around for about 200,000 years.  Birds have been singing 70 million.  

    What does it mean?  Nobody knows.  There is  speculation but no real scientific evidence why birds sing at dawn and then again to a lesser extent before sunset.  Maybe it doesn't mean anything.  Maybe it's just something profoundly beautiful to appreciate.  And when we start thinking about ourselves as masters of the universe maybe we should think about how long birds have kept their show going in relation to us.

    Theologians can't prove there is a God and scientists can't prove that there isn't one.  At least you understand that belief is a revelatory experience which is more than many of the "fundamentalist" atheists seem to get.  We agree on so many things and yet for me the same marvelously complex universe that we share still has room for some "ground of being" that we, who are so limited, can never understand.  

    While Hawkings may be entirely correct:

    The universe can and will create itself from nothing, according to Hawking, thus it is unnecessary for God to be in the equation.
    Which to me means that while the universe may not need a God figure, maybe we do in this sense:
    They are about the god within you not the god above you.   Each of these texts says, “know ye not, that ye are Gods?”.
    In other words if there is no God then maybe we are, or were, compelled to create one for our own psychological well being.  How else do you explain that the concept has been expressed by humans for around 50,000 years?  If it has no useful purpose for our survival wouldn't evolution have breed it out of us by now?  After all, a primary principle of evolution is that those traits that do not enhance survival disappear over time and my understanding is that it applies to the psychological/behavioral as well as the physical.  

    Why do birds sing at dawn universally across species of Avis throughout the ages?  Why do Homo-sapiens almost universally recreate the God concept throughout millennial time?  I don't have the answer to either.

    Thank you for such a well written and well thought out diary.  It was a joy to read.        

    Our cause is FAIRNESS. FAIRNESS for the masses. Our cause HOPE. HOPE for a better life and a better world. Yes WE Can, Yes WE Will. Together WE will OCCUPY THE WORLD. Let it be.

    by YellerDog on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:50:24 AM PST

    •  Psychological well being (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus

      IMHO simply because birds have sung beautifully at dawn for millions of years does not provide a meaningful argument for a God as the cause.  I do appreciate the beauty in this ritual, however, there are millions of natural events that are beautiful which occur on a daily basis; again not necessarily associated with any God and most (if not all) can be explained by a natural cause which can be scientifically proven with our current scientific knowledge.  The idea that Homo-sapiens  have almost universally recreated the God concept for around 50,000 years, (given that 50,000 years is a drop in the Universal bucket), really isn't a compelling argument to prove God's existence.  Given that great evolutionary changes in species often take more than 50,000 years, your argument that God must exist because many of humanity still believe, is not really a valid one.  I think it more likely that the need to deal with fear has resulted in human beings conjuring up someone/something Bigger than themselves to counter their relative fragility compared to a staggeringly vast and complex natural world and Universe. In addition to a man-made power structure that requires it to keep on trucking.   However, this does not mean that we must keep this mythology in perpetuity to continue as a civilization.  In fact it may very well result in our downfall.

    •  YellerDog: (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for the Dawn Chorus story.  I've never heard of it before.  I think it's something marvelous and beautiful and gives me something to think of.  As far as creating a "god" for our psycological survival it's possible.  I think it was a way to explain things that we didn't understand at the beginning of time.  I also think that we are probably evolving away from it as we speak.  Think back to roman times with a god for thunder, sun, rain, war, etc.  We seem to have combined all those into one.  Well "one god" for each "religion".  Of course I might not be aware of other religions that believe in more than one "god", but most of the main religions do.  As far as myself, I don't believe that the bible is truely the word of god.  I don't put much stock in the stories told other than to love one another as one loves oneself.  I also have my doubts that Jesus was the son of god.  I think that religion has caused nothing but trouble and will continue to do so because every one thinks that their religion is the "only way".  So while I'm not a true atheist, I'm tottering on the edge so to speak.

  •  There IS a Creator (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, KateCrashes

    Man created god to explain the parts of the world he could not understand. Anyone that denies the existence of god has taken a different path and not been touched by hiis noodly appendages.

    Help! The GOP is NUTS (& the Dems need some!)

    by Tuba Les on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 04:20:50 AM PST

  •  A beautiful story (6+ / 0-)

    He sounds like a great human being. Your tribute to him is wonderful.

    I could only hope my wife of almost 30 years would say such things of me when I die.

    I came to the same conclusion that the title of this tale purports at the age of 10. In my humble opinion, I have been better for the knowledge that only I own my actions and deeds, and this is the only life I will know.

    Speaking this truth is frightening to many. I imagine god was a way to explain thunder, loud and frightening.

    Thank you for your story.

    Millrat

    My wife and I served in the Cold War. It seems our efforts were fruitless. We have a new enemy, and if not, we will create a new one.

    by Millrat on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 05:04:59 AM PST

  •  achingly beautiful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, ladyjames

    and I am so sorry for your loss, notdarkyet.  but how wonderful that you could share some span of your life with such an amazing being

  •  Great diary. (0+ / 0-)

    Very well said, although I'm still trying to discover my own beliefs. At this point, I don't believe in Jesus being the "Messiah" and I think the Bible is just like any other fictional book, but that's my opinion.

    On another note, I absolutely agree with the temporal lobe epilepsy comment you made. Studies have shown that many who "speak in tongues" tend to also have temporal lobe epilepsy. These people also use recognizable syllables when "speaking in tongues." I'm sure a few on Daily Kos believe in this gift, so we will agree to disagree. :)

  •  I believe in God (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SaintC

    because I'm too stupid not to.

    "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice." Eckhart von Hochheim O.P. (c. 1260 – c. 1327)

    by rosabw on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 06:47:33 AM PST

  •  I'm proud to say I never believed in God. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bsmechanic, Palafox

    At least not after Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny went out the window.  In early childhood, like before age 5, I knew the word "God" supposedly referred to the vague set of things people didn't understand, but then...I understood them, and the illusion disappeared.  But I've never had faith in such a dimwitted concept.  I may still use words like god and soul when I'm feeling especially poetic, but they're expressions of emotion rather than references to an actual phenomenon.  

    I do, however, have faith of a kind - faith in humanity.  Its disappointments and horrors don't even come close to overwhelming its potential for evolution and discovery.  This is not a blind faith, but a faith with its eyes wide open - the conscious, deliberate choice to fervently believe that humanity is ultimately an engine of creation more than destruction, and an instrument of all life rather than its nemesis.  I support the Vulcan philosophy of "infinite diversity in infinite combinations" - an unending future of inexhaustible surprises.  This is the meaning of paradise to a being with a mind, and an absolute horror to the cowards who flee from it into the arms of religious certainty.

    Live by the certainty that nothing can kill you. You'll only be wrong once.

    by Troubadour on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 07:07:43 AM PST

  •  George Carlin said it best (0+ / 0-)

    GOP = Greedy One Percent

    by Palafox on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 07:55:03 AM PST

  •  Wow, What a special relationship (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for taking the time to write a deep profound piece.   The relationship you had with your husband was quite a gift - changes lives.   I am married to such a person as Skip.    We have been together for 23 years, and it took me a long time to realize who I had met up with.     We have both grown over the years being together.   It has taken me a long time catch up with her level of forgiveness and deep understanding how life works.

    God has developed quite negative reputation thanks to organized religion <-- so much BS.    In Sept 0f 2006, I had two near-death experiences and was on my way to the other side - twice, not just once, but twice.    As I was moving along a wide corridor - with brilliant white light - beyond anything you could imagine, I began to laugh with such fulll-throated joy that I can still feel that sense of elation.    Along the way, I saw ethereal beings.  The farther along I went the more joy I felt, the light became brighter and I realized I was passing over and leaving behind my corporeal body.   The space I was entering became as wide as the universe and full of light and what I later realized is LOVE - in its purest form.  What we understand as this life - could be so much more profound if we realized how minuscule we are - relatively speaking.   God is not some mean SOB who punishes little children or passes out judgement.   GOD/All that is more easily explained by metaphysics.   Religious fundamentalism does not have a clue as to what GOD/All that is - really is.  They are totally in the dark - ignorant beyond thinking.
    Thanks again for your piece on what it means to married to someone with an understanding how the univerese really works.

  •  n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged.
    -- Rumi

    One flower is made of the whole cosmos. - Thich Nhat Hahn

    by Espumoso on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 09:15:15 AM PST

  •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

    Wonderfully written, I found myself nodding to the screen several times.

    I consider myself to be "Buddhist-by-philosophy", in that I admire the teachings but do not believe in the reincarnation/Nirvana aspects.  I challenge those who do not know the four noble truths and the eightfold path to do a little bit of research in your spare time, to read and understand them, and just imagine.

  •  Being an atheist fills my heart with joy. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catesby, TheLawnRanger, bsmechanic

    I love the world exactly as it is, without needing an imaginary friend to attribute things to. It's a freedom I can not explain to those who believe in a god. Well-written diary.

    My life is defined not by religion and ritual, but by attitude and action.

    by World Citizen on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 10:02:29 AM PST

  •  Nice diary with one possible flaw (0+ / 0-)
    Your willingness to believe, in spite of all evidence to the contrary and lack of any evidence to proof,
    Speak for yourself...
    •  In other words (0+ / 0-)

      You can't say

      in spite of all evidence to the contrary and lack of any evidence to proof,
      for others, because you often people who believe in God, rather those who blindly follow a religion, have had some personal experience, which constitutes their "proof." I have. So the lack of evidence is your personal observation about your world, fine. But is irrelevant to my world, and to many who believe, who have had direct experiences that confirm their belief.

      So, it's fine that it makes no sense to you, and your beautiful story and Lao Tsu lend more meaning. As I said up above, "whatever works..."

  •  Thank you. Religion is icky. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prinny Squad
  •   Love is all we need (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego

    What a moving diary. I started it last night and finished it this morning. I hope that you will read this even though there is 335+ comments above.

    Ship is obviously still very much a part of you and lives in your heart. Thank you for sharing what you learned from sharing a life together.

    I hear your plea and I stand by you. I used to be a painter but decided to live life creatively instead. I could never paint something better than life. Better to spend my time appreciating, nurturing and observing life as it unfolds than trying to distract someone with what I put on a canvas. I could never reconcile using harmful chemicals either. The bit of ground I occupy is my canvas now.

    I have come to the same conclusions about "there is no God" myself. I think reading Allen Watts "The Wisdom of Insecurity" finally snapped me from taking the neutral stance of identifying myself as agnostic.

    Love and Peace

  •  Let your light shine! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladyjames

    Went to church today. It was Transfiguration Sunday. Sung "This Little Light of Mine" twice. Once with the kids which made us all happy, and later in a more soulful style, which made us (at least me) feel a little more serious about our lives.  

    We did sing the line "Jesus gave me this light" in the TLLM song  and we ended our service by singing and clapping along to a South African song " We are Walking in the Light of God." So we are Jesus and God people.

    We have, however,  a sign out in front of our church that says "God is Bigger Than___.
    At times the blank has been filled in with "You Think" because we do not think we can ever fully know the ultimate unknowable. One time the blank was filled in with "Religion". Another time, it was filled in with "The Bible".

    This is all to say that I am a religious person, but I am good with all of you! I say, whatever, helps you (faith in
    God, faith in the Universe, no kind of faith, atheism ...), go for it. We are all in this thing (life) together and we will reflect the goodness and light back wherever we find it.  

  •  Proselytizing atheism. (0+ / 0-)

    So now an atheist joins Christians in telling me and everyone what we simply must believe, for our own good, because it is universally true?

    What's with this "I know what's right and you would be best off to believe what I do?" Ugh.

    We would all be better off to learn from the minute we are born: there is no God.  We are the only gods. We are the creators and destroyers.
    I don't believe in a theist God.

    I do, however, find the statement that humans are the only gods, are the creators and destroyers, to be extremely spiritually arrogant and ugly. And - actually wrong.

    I know a lot of people (many who are of Christian ancestry in my experience) believe this kind of thing -  that humans are this central and important and powerful in the universe. This is actually one of the central beliefs in some of the New Age stuff I've come across. And from what I've seen it can support extreme self-centeredness in actual practice.

    But whatever. People believe what they believe.

    What bothers me is when people whose belief system I don't share start insisting that everyone - EVERYONE - would be better off believing as they do. I don't like it when Christians do it. I don't like it here.

    notdarkyet, I'm glad for you you got so clear on what you believe, on your spiritual worldview. This kind of clarity is fantastic, it can help guide action.

    But please, step back and ask yourself why you feel the need to insist that everyone would be best off believing what you believe.

    Please consider getting more humble about your belief system. Please consider simply describing it as what you believe without telling other people that they would be better off believing what you do.

  •  I recommend "The Power of Now" by Eckart Tolle (0+ / 0-)

    There's no need to pray to and and be afraid of some made-up mean dude in the sky who will kick your ass when you do something wrong. That's all bullshit made up by churchmen who are all about controlling the masses and their money. Don't fall for it. Everything you need, you already have within.

  •  May you never thirst n/t (0+ / 0-)

    The good of the human race is righteous, all else is heresy.

    by Hammerhand on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:16:41 PM PST

  •  You speak of people who are deserts... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I see your point of view as a desert.  It breathes no life into the questions you address.

    And the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved by logic or rhetoric.  It can only be accepted, or rejected, individually.  Everything else is just blather.

    We reach for the stars with shaking hands in bare-knuckle times.

    by TheOrchid on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:19:14 PM PST

  •  One of the very best diaries have have read on (0+ / 0-)

    DailyKos!  Thank you for compiling your thoughts and experiences so vividly.

  •  To have enough is enough. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 12:31:02 PM PST

  •  I think this is where we are (0+ / 0-)

    Seeing into darkness is clarity,
    Knowing how to yield is strength.
    Use your own light
    and return to the source of light.
    This is called practicing eternity.
    Lao Tzu

    “Let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright       tomorrows.... The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King

  •  word-action disconnect (0+ / 0-)

    I've been trying to figure out what it is about this piece (and  its prominent presence on the site) that is irritating to me.

    Some of it I've covered in my other couple of comments here.

    But I just re-read the diary and realized another piece.

    I at least had the discernment to recognize him.  I devoted my life, my heart, my mind and soul to him.  He was my book.  My learning.  You can learn much from how a life is lived.  Always, I have been a student of life, of people.  I have seen their reflections in my mirror.
    I once had a relationship in which the other person fed off of me spiritually. She came from a Christian background, had moved away from it in some key ways, and she saw me as spiritually brilliant.

    She fed off of me because the reality for her was - for her, it was all words. She was great with words, but lacked a deep deep lived understanding - an understanding that she craved very deeply, but never got filled.

    She believed that I had access to what she desired. She fed off of me. She, too, was into the Tao. Among other things.

    The underlying feel of this diary ... too familiar to me, given that experience.

    I will say this: there is, for me, a very clear disconnect between what the diarist is describing about Skip's wisdom, and what the diarist is actually doing in her/his use of words in this diary. I'm not going to do a point by point, but do want to mention that the word-action disconnect is there and visible to me.

  •  Tipped, Rec'ed, Hotlisted.... (0+ / 0-)

    Very moving tribute to your Skip..., and an honest assessment about reality.

    Thank you.

    [P.S.  I also corrected the spelling for Hubble Space Telescope in your tags.]

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 03:47:31 PM PST

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