Tag Archives: Religion

Why I’m A New Ager

So the other day I was asked by a friend “what does a New Ager believe?”. And I gave my usual piss-poor answer of “It’s kind of hard to explain. It’s a mix of a lot different beliefs.” And while this is true, it’s still not a great answer. Not that other religions are easy to explain, they’re not, every religion is complex and difficult to understand…however, those other religions have these useful books or pre-vetted collections of belief or maybe one or two major beliefs. “What does a Buddhist believe?” You have an answer “The teachings of Buddha and reincarnation and the releasing of karma.” “What does a Christian believe?” “The teaching of Christ as reported in the New Testament, love and forgiveness for all.” Now different denominations have variations, but those variations can be summed up in a sentence or two.

I’ve tried explaining my beliefs before to people, but have often come up to immediate challenges. There have been a lot of challenges involved with this before I even answered: If I didn’t believe in the Christian God how did I explain the problem of evil? If you believed in a more active God than eastern traditions why didn’t God just wake us up from this nightmare that is reality? If I wasn’t a Christian how come I still talk about the father, son, and Holy Spirit? How can I believe in any of the things I do since it was all contradictory? As you can see I do not always run into friendly audiences. So, I realize that as very few are going to initially agree with this interpretation, but before you raise

Who are you?  What do you believe in?

objections, read the whole thing.

So here goes trying to describe my beliefs of what it is to be a New Ager (and I fully acknowledge that other New Agers out there may have different takes on this). Now if you know me I would say the most important distinction of religion is the acts of the its followers, but since in the broad strokes almost all religions advocate for the pretty much the same external actions (with only minimal differences–and I’m excluding the act of fanatics here)–thus the ethical differences between New Age belief and more traditional beliefs is probably not the most efficient way to distinguish New Age belief. So let me go to the more useful metaphysical relationship of God to Mankind.

The first is if you were a parent and your small child was having a nightmare so powerful that they couldn’t wake up, you have two options. Either (1) you can slap your screaming crying child to wake them up or (2) you can hold them, rock them, and speak to them soothingly hoping that your voice will lead them out of their nightmare. Now most parents will probably choose option 2. Option 1 might be faster, but it certainly isn’t all that humane.

The second thing I want you to consider is that in dreams time and identity doesn’t quite work in the traditional sense. I think it’s probably safe to say we’ve all had a dream that seemed to last for days, maybe even weeks, but our perception of time was only part of the dream. A dream that lasts ten minutes in the physical world seemed to drag on in our mind for days. Also we’ve probably all had a dream were there is more than just ourselves in the dream. Our dreams often have a quite large cast, but really all of those people in our dreams are nothing but images of us taking a different form. Some of us may even have had a dream where we perceive the actions of two characters in our dreams at once.

The third idea I would like you to hold in your mind is the Christian relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you live in the Western world you should be familiar with this relationship…and since I don’t think I have too many readers in Outer Mongolia I’m going to just assume you already know this idea.

Now with those three ideas in mind let me tell you a story. God created the Son. You know this story up to this point. But then the Son had this terrible idea…God might not love him. This is a preposterous idea because God is an infinite being contemplating and giving love. But where the Son should have laughed at such a strange idea, the Son instead fell into a deep sleep (or the equivalent on an infinite non material universal scale). Now in this nightmare that the Son slipped into a whole universe was created with the pieces of the this infinite consciousness of the Son splitting apart into billions of pieces. Just as we may perceive more than one role in our own dreams, the infinite mind of the Son was able to perceive from billions of perspectives. The problem was that this fear that God does not love us latched onto each and everyone of those pieces and formed what New Agers call the ego. The ego is an embodiment of that base fear that we are separated from God, and it is attached to each piece of the Son’s consciousness, what we call the soul. This world is nothing but a nightmare in the mind of the Son (kind of like the Hindu belief that this world is a dream of the Brahman).

Now many complain that a loving god would not allow his Son to experience such a nightmare. But remember, as I pointed out in my first idea, a loving parent doesn’t just smack their child until they wake up. They hold them and speak to them, hoping that voice will bring their child out of their nightmare. In this case that voice appears in this nightmare as what is common called the Holy Spirit. Further as I pointed out time can get awfully fuzzy in a nightmare–What appears as thousand of years here is barely a moment in the reality of true existence. From God’s perspective this nightmare lasted barely a moment in eternity.

At this point the I think most people will understand when I say each of these pieces of consciousness, i.e. humans, are trying to free themselves of their egos and fear and reach a level of Enlightenment a la Hinduism or Buddhism. Ideally, of course the ultimate goal is for everyone to shed their ego/fears and return to the level of being an awakened Son of God. This might engender a idea that we must think collectively and put our own well being second to the good of the whole and others as our goal cannot be reached until all beings reach enlightenment…but that’s actually a false line of logic, as you can’t help anyone else until you yourself reach enlightenment. As such New Age belief requires not only the follower to not give into fear (i.e. you absolutely can’t be a “God-fearing” person as other religions might ask of you) nor can you ascetically withdraw from the world and condemn all the world’s pleasures as sin because that is also giving into the ego’s false belief that sin exists. What you say, of course sin exists! Not really, if this world is only an illusion there can’t actually be anything that God condemns us for, because to God doesn’t admit this world exists, thus there is nothing to condemn and nothing for God to forgive. Yes there are terrible things that happen in this world, but it’s acts of violence against ourselves, or actually against illusions we have created, certainly not against God or God’s laws. But the ego uses your guilt to keep your soul tied to it. I could go on, but to cut this short (and give me future blogs to deal with) the New Age belief is that Enlightenment will only be achieved through the full expression of ourselves and realizing that we are the Son of God and have a infinite power and nothing to feel guilty about because God loves us and anything contrary to that though (fear, guilt, uncertainty) is what keeps us in this nightmare.

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The Importance of Religious Pluralism in the Journey of the Soul

Not sure why, but I’m seeing an upsurge in the frequency of people becoming more hostile about their religion being right and everyone else being wrong (and even for the people who aren’t making a big deal out of it, there is a certain ‘my religion is better than your religion’ arrogance in lots of groups, and it just feels like its getting worse).  And I’m not just talking about the psycho-fringe here (or I’m really underestimating the size of said “fringe”).  I always find this a puzzling concept.  Sure there are a few really insane beliefs out there–mostly the ones that dictate ‘my way or else I’ll kill you!’–but for the most part, most religions all have the same core values and differ only in forms, names, and rituals.  And quibbling over these relatively minor issues is pointless. First off most of these people who want to scream for their own religion and no others seem politically motivated (I’ve seen all sides engage in this religious idiocy) given that it only alienates people away from your political causes.  Further, reason doesn’t hold this up?   I mean, do you seriously believe that God, a being of supposed infinite love, compassion, understanding and wisdom, cares about what ritual you use to get closer to him, rather than if you actually get closer to him or not?

And it’s not just implicit in reason, recent scientific research into reincarnation and near-death experience also demonstrate this. Scientific studies have shown that reincarnation is a fact and that you change from religion to religion based on your life—if that’s the case it can’t be that God loves one religion and hates all others.  Similar studies have also shown that during near death experiences everybody goes to heaven, doesn’t matter what their religion is…it’s almost as if God doesn’t give a shit what name you call him by.

potala palace lhasa

The Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet…it seemed like a place both remote and spiritual enough to serve as the starting place for the soul.

So does this mean that all religions are worthless?  That there is just God and his children and it doesn’t matter what you believe…not exactly.   Now, with that knowledge of near death experiences and reincarnation studies, it seems to be that the majority of religions are correct, that life is a series of rebirths, a progression of lessons and stages of learning all leading to Enlightenment…but that still doesn’t invalidate the idea that you should follow the religion you feel called to. If the soul is on a journey toward Enlightenment, let’s think of it as a journey.   For the sake of metaphor let’s say all souls start out standing in the Potala Palace in Lhasa.  High in the Himalayas, disconnected from the rest of the world.  And you know you have to get somewhere (Enlightenment) you have had it roughly described to you, but you don’t quite know where you are going or exactly how to get there.

How you get there would be comparable to the mode of transportation you take.  Some ways like Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, New Age belief and modern Paganism might be equivalent to walking, taking a bike, a boat, a car or a plane*, other religions maybe more like trying a unicycle with a flat tire, spinning in a circle believing you will magically teleport, digging through the center of the earth using a rusty spoon or launching yourself into orbit using high explosives and hoping you land in the right place. ** While in the minority there are religions that are all but useless in all cases…however most religions are more dependent on where you are in your journey. In this example if one religion is equivalent to riding in a car and you’ve hit the Pacific Ocean, it may have gotten you to this point but you need a different mode of transportation (a different belief system) to advance on the next stage of your journey.

Devil’s Bridge, Sedona, Arizona

Now for the sake of argument in this travel metaphor let’s say that Enlightenment exists at the Devil’s Bridge in Northern Arizona (chosen for the fact that it is beautiful, and the irony was just too good to pass up).

Now to get from our stating place in Tibet and ending place in Arizona there is no way a single mode of transportation is going to cut it the whole way.  You are at best going to have to walk part of the way, either take a boat or plane part of the way, and probably have to travel in some other forms of transportation for part of the journey.

The Journey of the Soul Metaphor

If only the journey of the soul was this short a distance.

Let’s add to the fact that you’re not always sure where you’re headed.  Granted as long as you’re moving you may be getting closer, or at least have a better chance to learn where the right place is as opposed to the stupidity of staying still, but that still doesn’t always mean you’re moving in the right direction (as some religions that could be used to progress can be misused to put you further away from God…Westboro come to mind).

You could use this metaphor for a lot of things, and show it flawed in numerous other ways.  I just want to show that even on a journey you may use different modes of transportation, as different religions may serve different souls on their journey to Enlightenment.

And my overall point here is that reason tells you God is too perfect a being to care what name you call him by or what rituals you go through to honor him, it’s silly to think that one religion is the right one and all others are false.  Yes there are some blindingly stupid beliefs out there, and there may be beliefs that are wrong for you in your life (take a car when you’re on the ocean) but just because your religious beliefs work for you don’t assume they would work for everyone. The most you can do is ask if you find that your beliefs are leading you to God (if they are, bully for you) and if someone else’s beliefs could never in any way, shape, or form lead a person to God (a religion that calls for stoning people in the 21st century for instance) and oppose those vile beliefs will all your heart and soul.

So even if you aren’t decrying that your religion is better than all others, it might also be best to not always believe that (I know some will think I’m only critiquing Christians here, but really this my religion is better than your religion arrogance can be found in almost every religion)…your beliefs may be exactly what you personally need in your journey right now, but don’t believe that your beliefs will work for everyone at every time.

sedona rainbow

you can never have too many random pictures of Sedona

*Try not to match those up, the religions are in more or less chronological order and the modes of transportation are more or less random.

** I may or may not have had Scientology, Atheism, Keynesianism (it denies basic reality so much and requires so much be taken on faith it’s pretty much a cult) come to mind here…oh and I can’t think what religion I had in mind when I mentioned strapping high explosives to yourself…certainly not a religion of peace.  Not everyone following those beliefs is stuck at a stand still, it’s just highly, highly unlikely they’re going to be making a major push forward in that life.  And this is the balance to an acceptance of other beliefs, admitting that there are some really dumb beliefs out there.

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Bi Weekly Meditation: Thou art God

 

 

So, for some reason (I think fear) I’m seeing a rise in the religiously zealous (and I meant that in the most insulting form of zealotry).  I am seeing far more people claim such preposterous things such as “True humility is inspired by a knowledge that we are less than God, and will always remain so.”  Yeah some psycho wack-job felt the need to tell me that.  First off this is just stupid because true humility comes from acknowledging not only your strengths and potential but that of everyone around you, it recognizes that you are not necessarily better than others, but that you are worthy of pride, hence the phrase “Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great.”  To just say that you are inferior isn’t humility, it’s self-loathing.

 

Second of all is this idiotic concept that we are less than God.  Why would a perfect being create anything that wasn’t perfect?  Why would a being of love create something only to worship it?  Why would an all knowing being create something that could only sin and make mistakes?  Unlike some people, I don’t believe God is stupid or psychotic, nor does he bear any of the personality disorders we see in people.  God would have no reason to create something inferior to himself. Just because we’re caught in the bad dream that is this world, doesn’t mean that in reality we are inferior to our creator.  If we were, God would be the worst parent in existence because it would mean he intentionally wanted his children to be inferior to him.  A true/good parent only loves and wishes the best for their children and only want to be loved and respected back from their children.  Only a sick person would want worship from anyone.

Creation of Adam

To believe you are inferior to God means you believe he couldn’t or wouldn’t create something perfect…which kind of violates the very concept of God.

“You have not only been fully created, but have also been created perfect.” –A Course in Miracles, Text, Chapter 2, I:1:3

 

You, your soul, are a creation of God, it is perfect, and it is divine. There are only three belief systems that fully deny this divinity. Atheism, Islam (except for the Sufi’s), and close-minded Christianity which doesn’t know how to properly read their own book.  (And remind me of all the problems those belief systems cause?)

 

Don’t believe me?

 

Let’s look at some of the texts throughout the world.

 

“An eternal part of Myself [God], manifesting as a living soul in the world of being”  Bhagavad Gita 15:7

“It is God, and God alone, who has encased Himself as the soul in the many human beings He has created.”—Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita

Lesson 35 from the Workbook for Student of A Course in Miracles

My mind is part of God’s.  I am very holy.

 

Even the Buddhists who are agnostic as to the nature of the soul and God, and believe that every living thing has a soul, still recognize the special place the human soul has in creation as the most perfect opportunity to reach enlightenment.

 

Imagine a wide ocean with a golden yoke adrift upon it. In the depths of ocean swims a single blind turtle, who surfaces for air once every hundred years. How rare would it be for the turtle to surface with its head through the hole in the yoke? The Buddha said that attaining a precious human rebirth is rarer than that.—The Dalai Lama The Way to Freedom 

 

And of course the central line in the Bible that shows this point:

 

“God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him” Gen 1:27 (New American Bible)

 

Did you think this was in reference to your physical appearance?  That God is a biped that looks like a highly evolved chimp?  No it’s in reference to your soul, that the soul of a human being is something divine and perfect.  (Even more so for Christians for whom Christ, who is the image of God, (2 Corinthians 4:4) thus connecting the image of God which has already been connected to all humans, but to Christ, and what made Christ special).

 

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point.  Every sane religion is based on the idea that the human soul is divine, every religious belief that is at the heart of suffering and misery denies this basic truth.

 

We are made in the image of God, we are a part of God, and we are divine.  We just have forgotten that.

 

Why do I bring this all up as this week’s mediation?

 

Because it is falling for this lie of the ego that we are inferior, that we are not good enough, that nothing we can do will ever be good enough, that more than anything keeps people held back.  It is a belief that engenders self-loathing, because if you are imperfect what possible reason could there be for God in his perfection to love you, and if God can’t, who can?   It is a belief that engenders fear, because if you are not divine then you have no control over your life and your free will amounts to nothing. It is a belief that engenders hatred, defeat, hopelessness and everything that is not God.  And if you think that I’m taking these little ideas to an illogical extreme, remember that your ego wants you to take them to an illogical extreme because when you realize you are God and not your ego, you ego will cease to be and you will at once be one with God.  And your ego will fight violently to protect the illusion of its existence.

 

I bring it up, as I have brought it up in various other forms, because the belief that you can with God’s help and the help of beings who are already enlightened (the true meaning of “No one can come to the Father except through me” isn’t a call that everyone should be a Christian, it’s statement that only through enlightenment—Christ-consciousness as some would call it—does one become one with God again) once again regain the self-knowledge of your divinity and return you to your place of perfection as the Son of God.

 

So for this week every chance you have, remind yourself that you are the Son of God.  You are perfect.  You are divine.

 

Or you can pull from this list of mantras from A Course in Miracles:

God is in everything I see because God is in my mind

My mind is a part of God’s.  I am very holy

My holiness blesses the world.

My holiness is my salvation.

God is my Source.  I cannot see apart from Him.

I am the light of the world.

Love created me like itself.

I am entitled to miracles.

I am as God created me.

I am one Self, united with my Creator.

Our Deepest Fear

Yes, theoretically this could give rise to arrogance and pompousness…but you know what, I’m not seeing that as being the biggest problem in the world right now. Let’s deal with the problem at hand.

 

But if you really feel yourself drifting to the arrogance repeat this one from the Course:

 

Forgiveness is the function of the light of the world.  Let me not forget my function.

 

That should bring you back to balance.

 

Who are you?  What do you believe in?

Every symbol on here is a belief in the divinity of the soul.  It is silly to think they’re all wrong.

 

 

 

Do you grok?

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Fairies, Teapots, Turtles and other such Atheistic nonsense

For some reason atheists piss me off more than any other religion. Maybe it’s because, as a group, they are the most arrogant bunch of idiots who scream that their idiotic beliefs are the only true way to view things without even the dignity to admit that what they’re screaming is unsubstantiated faith.
Or maybe it’s because it’s because they give such terrible arguments. Really terrible arguments. They’re like most liberals–they can give 5 or 6 memorized talking points and they never deviate.

In a recent article I published on the utter stupidity of atheism I got several stock point arguments in response on several forums, so rather than waste my time and respond to them individually, I thought best to deal with them all at once.

So I’m going to respond to their repetitive talking points, and not only am I going to use quotes, and jokes, and parables, but unlike atheists I’m going to back my quips and stories up with real argument.

(Also let me point out, if you’re just an atheist, because that works for you, I don’t really care about you or your beliefs, you are free to have them and I’m not attacking you. I’m attacking the rabid section of Atheism that feels that their belief is so superior to everyone else’s that they must attack everyone else’s beliefs. It is their arguments I’m hitting, if you just have your beliefs and aren’t proselytizing, I’m not out to attack you.).

Stock Atheist Argument 1: We may not be able to prove our point but you can’t prove yours.
Dumb Dawkins
I’d like to begin this section with a classic joke whose usefulness will be relevant by the end of this piece.

A well-known scientist once gave a public lecture on astronomy and the Big Bang. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy which in turn all came out of the initial explosion. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”

Now in this joke we’re supposed to see that the scientist is intelligent and the old woman is really an idiot for such a silly idea as turtles all the way down. I’ve even seen an atheist use this joke to make fun of religious people and how ignorant they are in not accepting science. That spiritual people are stupid to not understand that we can trace the origins of everything to physics and the Big Bang.

Let me clarify what I mean by this. The most perfect argument for the existence of God.

There’s just one problem with that whole model. What caused the Big Bang? And atheists have to answer to that. The first is “Well, it’s just a series of Big Bangs and Big Crunches over and over again” which is called an infinite series. Or you can go even more complex with some description of a quantum mechanics/holographic universe within a universe. But that too leads to an infinite series. Because of the fact that everything has to be caused by something else otherwise it would just sit there and never. do anything (see the 1st Law of Newtonian Physics), everything in physics is subject to this need for cause, no matter how complex that makes the universe everything is still subject to causation. Which leads you to only one of two possibilities. Either you have an infinite series of causes going back for an infinite period of time…or you have something that doesn’t need a cause, an uncaused cause, an unmoved mover (as Aristotle would say). This first cause that needs no other thing to cause it we call God.

But why can’t we have an infinite series? Because that also violates the rules of physics and logic. Because even if you go back all the way an infinite way, there has to be something that causes that movement. But rather than believe that there must be some cause that needs nothing to cause it, Atheists are arguing we should believe in the infinite series of causes, that we should be believe, “It’s turtles all the way down.” That’s what arguing for not having a God is arguing for, the stupidity of turtles all the way down.

Logic dictates that there has to be some cause outside of the rules of causation, because an infinite regression is just idiotic. That’s a logical fact. That God exists is a fact dictated by logic. Now, intelligent philosophers will admit that a lot of the qualities that we often apply to God (intelligence, goodness, motive) we do not have as strong a case for, and thus faith is required in part to a have a fuller sense of what God is. We only have arguments that only suggest but do not completely prove these qualities beyond the shadow of a doubt. But the existence of a first cause is a logical necessity, and this we call God.

You may have issues with the qualities we attribute to God and you may attack them, but just because you attack the arguments for those qualities does not negate the fact that for existence to be, you logically must have God, the first cause.

“But, but,” I can hear atheists sputtering, “Hume and Kant and Dawkins disproved the argument by cause.” No they didn’t. Let me explain what are all the arguments made by Hume and Kant and such against the argument by cause. Every version goes something like this…lots of words that intentionally get you lost in the argument, complain about all the traits added after existence, complain all you did was look for proof in what you already believe* thus you really didn’t prove anything, and thus the argument by cause is wrong. QED. If that sounds kind of dumb, it is. Some might complain that I’ve just put up a straw man version of the argument against the argument by cause. I haven’t. Every long winded version boils down to, uh, I don’t want to buy your proof, so I don’t have to actually disprove your points I just have to say your logic is bad (not that I’m going to show where) and so there, I win. It’s actually a lot like most atheist arguments arrogance and idiocy working hand in hand. But don’t believe me go read Kant and Hume and whoever, try and follow their points…and don’t get upset if you feel you can’t follow them, they’re designed to be impossible to follow the logic of making you think if you can’t understand it and thus making you feel inferior and thus it must be right. But it’s not you that isn’t understanding the argument. There isn’t a well reasoned argument to understand.

The reason Atheists really, really hate the argument by cause and will deny it to their last dying and lying breath is that is gets them out of their central point: “Rules of argument state you have to prove God exists.” This is kind of dumb on its face, when you’re in the minority and trying to prove to the majority that you’re right, even if you are right (which atheists aren’t) the burden of proof is on you. But since they bizarrely think that life should be governed by the same rules as a scientific lab without a shred of common sense. So they say the burden of proof is on believers and not them, so they have a vested interest in putting their hands over their ears and going “LALALALALALA” in the face of the fact that logic requires that there is a God.

*By the way this would mean that every criminal prosecution is wrong.

Stock Atheist Argument 2: If there is a God, why isn’t there evidence of God’s existence?

Someone asked [Bertrand] Russell at some meeting: ‘Lord Russell, what will you say when you die and are brought face to face with your Maker?’ He replied without hesitation: ‘God,’ I shall say, ‘God, why did you make the evidence for your existence so insufficient?’ – A. J. Ayer

Again let me start off with a classic joke:

A terrible flood hit a small town, sending the rescue units out.
It just so happened that a devoutly religious woman lived in this town when the flood hit, and she sat down to wait for God to save her.
When the first rescue boat came in the worker called for her to come out but she just shook her head and said “Thank you, but my God will save me. ” Shaking his head the rescue worker moved on.
The waters rose and she climbed to the second story of her home to wait for God.
A second boat came by and the worker called out “Listen lady we’ve got to get you out of here!” Once again she thanked him profusely and said “My God will save me.”
The waters rose a third time forcing her to her roof.
The water was just closing around her ankles when a third boat came by. ” Lady, I’m the last boat out if you don’t come now you’re going to die. ” She just smiled “My God will save me” she said quietly. Frustrated the worker moved on. The waters rose once again leaving her standing on her chimney. She heard a huge ruckus above her head and when she looked up she saw an emergency helicopter. ” This is it lady, you have to come now or we won’t be able to save you. ” Still she refused to go. The waters rose a final time dragging her under and she was drowned. When she got to heaven, the Lord asked her if she had any questions, and in a timid voice she replied. “You said if I followed you, you would always save me. Why didn’t you save me from that flood?” God looked at her in shocked disbelief and said: “My child I sent three boats and a helicopter for you… What else did you want?”

For Atheists who ask for proof of God you have to look at them like the woman who didn’t recognize the three boats and the helicopter for what they were.

Probability states there should have been a fairly equal amount of matter and antimatter created at the Big Bang. There wasn’t. It was actually incredibly disproportioned. But it was also just enough anti-matter to spread out the universe, but not enough to push everything too far from each other so that nothing forms. Boy, that was lucky.

And let’s just ignore how this planet is set up rather well for life and just assume life can develop in lots of situations, let’s look at the odds of life starting. Now most of what gets chalked up as Intelligent Design is kind of stupid, but not when it comes to the creation of life and the creation of sentience. The most basic cell requires over 200 processes, each controlled by several dozen protein chains, each controlled by several lines of code on a strand of DNA. Ignoring that there would have to be something to start the process, the odds of a DNA chain that can do all of that without error and in the proper order…I could give you a number but think of it this way, you have better odds of winning the Powerball every Wednesday and Saturday for a year (probably getting hit by lightning several times during that year). Yes, I’m sure that just happened by chance.

And then there was that time when evolved chimps suddenly became self aware. I can’t quite tell you the odds on that because there are no odds on that. It can’t happen just by itself. Sentience and free will defy everything we know about physics and biology. They’re not things that can just happen because certain chemicals line up in a certain way or because the brain becomes complex enough.

Then of course there are all those miracles that can’t be disproven. A bulk of evidence in the realm studies into near death experience, past life memories and the fields of parapsychology, no doubt some or most of which is not relevant, but which can’t be dismissed because it just doesn’t fit your argument.

There are piles and piles of evidence. Just because you don’t want to look at them as evidence doesn’t stop their existence.

Stock Atheist Argument 3: Fairies and the Teapots don’t exist so neither does God.

There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can’t prove that there aren’t any, so shouldn’t we be agnostic with respect to fairies?—Richard Dawkins

Also see the pretentious and stupid “Russell’s Teapot” thought experiment which Atheists are so fond of quoting.

There is an old Buddhist parable used to justify Buddhism agnosticism about questions of God and the creation of the universe.

“If one day you were walking along the road and are shot with an arrow do you stop to ask, ‘From what village was the shooter from?’ ‘What kind of wood was used to make the arrow?’ ‘What bird are the feathers on this arrow from?’ ‘How long ago was the arrow made?’ ‘Did the shooter eat a full breakfast this morning?’ No you will pull out the arrow and treat the wound.”

Buddhists use this parable to justify their intentional agnosticism about metaphysical questions that religion often addresses. For a Buddhist the most important thing is to end the cycle of rebirth and suffering, the rest can wait until that is stopped, and wasting time on these questions is like asking what village the shooter was from when you still have an arrow and bleeding wound in you. Deal with the pressing problem at hand. **

The parable understands there is a difference between questions that are relevant and questions that are not. Dawkins and Russell may think that teapots and fairies are relevant, but they’re not…and to compare them to what must be the cause of all existence is clearly not understanding the nature of what you’re talking about. Fairies and teapots in space don’t have to exist, nor is there anything to necessarily suggest they do. God has to exist for there to be existence and oddly enough existence is the evidence. Feel free to be agonistic, hell even atheistic, about fairies and tea pots. But don’t dare suggest that your silly little quip is on the same lines as dismissing what logically has to be for there to be anything.

**Now I have some issues with this parable because I think you can’t fully know where you’re going and how to get there unless you actually know where you’re going and how to get there. I think if you’re shot with an arrow and one village in the area uses poison and one doesn’t then yes the question about which village a person is from becomes relevant. I think understanding God is like that question, in some cases it may be helpful, in other cases perhaps not.

Stock Atheist Argument 4: You don’t believe in other Gods either, so your God is wrong.

We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.
– Richard Dawkins

Silly Hitchens

Really dumb atheist
I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.–Stephen F. Roberts.

This one atheists love, as you can see from the ease at which I found a multitude of quotes. It’s more fun when you get into it with non-public figures because then they’ll start using names and specifics. “Well why don’t you believe in Zeus? Or Odin? Or Shiva?” And this tendency comes from the fact that most Atheists are actually just immature and rebelling against mommy and daddy’s beliefs which often in the West is Christianity.

And again I turn to a parable.

A number of blind men came to an elephant. Somebody told them that it was an elephant. The blind men asked, ‘What is the elephant like?’ and they began to touch its body. One of them said: ‘It is like a pillar.’ This blind man had only touched its leg. Another man said, ‘The elephant is like a husking basket.’ This person had only touched its ears. Similarly, he who touched its trunk or its belly talked of it differently. In the same way, he who has seen the Lord in a particular way limits the Lord to that alone and thinks that He is nothing else.– Ramakrishna Paramhamsa

If a culture misunderstands what God is but puts a name to their understanding (Zeus, Odin, Brahma, Dagda, El), does that mean the thing they’re trying to understand doesn’t exist. The blind men were wrong about their understanding of an elephant, does that mean elephants don’t exist? Newton was wrong about the nature of gravity; Einstein proved that, it doesn’t mean there is no such thing as gravity. People don’t understand what God fully is, thus all the masks we put on God to understand him are imperfect. But just because you can show flaws with each mask it does not dictate that what is behind the mask is wrong. You can disprove every religion, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist. And just because some people don’t believe in the interpretations of others doesn’t make the other person wrong or that first person right. God exists independent of people’s perceptions about him.

I believe in God. Now what my understanding of him is may be imperfect, that does not mean the thing I’m trying to understand doesn’t exist. But that’s the game Atheists like to play. They attack an understanding of the thing and use it to say that the thing itself doesn’t exist. But there is a problem with this argument, an elephant in the room you might say is that elephants exist, and that is that there is a difference between the imperfect conceptions of God and the existence of God.

Stock Atheist Argument 5: Atheism isn’t a religion.

Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color.” 
–Don Hirschberg
Until someone claims to see Christopher Hitchens’ face in a tree stump, idiots must stop claiming that atheism is a religion. There’s one little difference: Religion is defined as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, and atheism is — precisely not that. Got it? Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.—Bill Maher

Those are such cute lines. It’s just that even the slightest amount of logic tears them apart. If you want a quote here I’ll respond with the popular “Contradictions do not exist if you think you’ve found a contradiction, recheck your premises. One of them is wrong.” Or if you prefer “2+2=4”
Let’s take a look at that quote again “Religion is defined as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power” and I’ve seen numerous Atheists in personal arguments respond in the same way.

I respond by doing this wacky thing like quoting the dictionary. From Webster’s: “Religion: 7. A cause, principle, system of tenets held with ardor, devotion, conscientiousness, and faith.” Now under my definition Atheism is a religion because they hold a belief (That there is no God) based on absolutely no evidence (a process otherwise known as faith, thus meeting the requirements of the definition).

So who’s right? Well let’s test out the Atheist’s definition whose key point is believing in a divine being. By this definition is Christianity a religion? Yes. Judaism? Yes. Hinduism? Yes. So far so good. Buddhism and Taosim? No. Most strains of Buddhism (as I pointed out above) and several strains of Taoism don’t believe in a supreme being. So by the definition Atheists are trying to use would say that Buddhism and Taoism aren’t religions. And that would be preposterous on its face. No you can either try to continue arguing this, or can admit that the definition used by Atheists while practical in most cases in the West, is not a solid definition.

The criteria of faith is a much more comprehensive definition. And by that definition Atheism is a religious belief.
It is based on faith and no evidence.

And all the negatives that come with religion are there as well. Like many religions, its followers proselytize, they are emotionally invested in protecting their beliefs, their zealots are violent to those who don’t follow their religion.

Of course Atheism has none of the positives that come with other religions, but hey that applies to several religions.

Atheists quips are clever, but without substance. And sadly that’s all they have.

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A sincere and honest question…Judeo-Christian Values? What are they?

The term “Judeo-Christian Values” is bandied about a lot in public discourse.   Yes it dropped off a little after Rick “I want to use the government to institute a theocracy” Santorum dropped out* last year but it seems to be making a comeback.

So I have to ask, again, what are Judeo-Christian values?  How are they important to politics?  And how do they differ from other religions?

Now maybe it’s just as a non-Christian I’m not getting something that you understand as someone who practices this religion.

Now it’s not that I don’t understand the obvious differences between Christianity or Judaism and other religions.  But I don’t see how the differences I do know about have any effect on government. The truth and virtue of capitalism and democratic-Republics are just as true whether you believe in the Trinity/Yaweh, or Braham and Shiva.  The saving power of grace in most of Christianity has little to do with politics, as far as I can see it.  And just because one tribe of people has a very particular contract with God, it doesn’t negate the importance of the rule of law for everyone else.   The differences I can think of don’t have any effect on politics.  And I see the hand of Providence in the creation of this nation, but the hand of Providence can be seen in event that aren’t specifically Judeo-Christian in nature, so that doesn’t necessarily give precedence to only that belief system.  What am I missing?

And the values that do have an effect on politics—the value of the human soul, which leads to the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; the condemnation of violence, hatred, envy, hypocrisy; the praising of personal charity, honesty, compassion, hard work and a connection with something greater than yourself—are not the specific territory of Judeo-Christianity.  You find them Hinduism, in Zoroasterism, in Taoism, in Buddhism, in ancient Pagan beliefs, in Baha’i and Sikh beliefs, and in modern day New Age beliefs.  The values, which then become the backbone of our legal systems are in all religions. So why just Judeo-Christianity?  I understand that each of these belief systems place a different ordering on the priority of these virtues and values, but there are so many variations just within the scheme of Judeo-Christianity itself to make that an issue.
Heck even when Paul Ryan refers to Judeo-Christianity he does something very interesting:

A lot of the basis for this government is in this picture...not a lot of these people are from the Judeo-Christian background.

A lot of the basis for this government is in this picture…not a lot of these people are from the Judeo-Christian background.

It’s a dangerous path, it’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, Western-civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.

He pairs Judeo-Christianity with Western-civilization, with the idea that is unique to the west of the democratic-Republic (a pagan creation by the pagan populations of Athens and Rome) that demands:

Our rights come from nature and God, not government.

(And while these ideas first thrived under predominantly Christian nations of the West, Ryan seems to be acknowledging the pagan Athenian/Roman importance by pairing the two.)

“The Bible is a book. It’s a good book, but it is not the only book. ” …at least in terms of government.

And it seems a little sweeping since while all the Founding Fathers would admit that the Bible contained what they saw as the best expression of ethics they could find, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin denied the divinity of Christ, and Freemason Washington’s beliefs on religion are probably a little more complex than just saying “Judeo-Christian values.”

Now I get that using this phrase may be to separate themselves it’s not the Religion of Peace (which very clearly endorses theocratic fascism) or atheism (both of which deny the divinity of human life)…oh sure atheists say they value human life under their philosophy of secular humanism, but atheism denies any metaphysical reason for human life to have value…so basically it’s them telling me I should just take it on “faith” that human life has value…which rings a little hollow.   But as I pointed out before the phrase also separates you from a lot of religions that do share these ethical values.

So which values am I missing that has an effect on our political structures, rules, and laws that separate Judeo-Christianity from the values of most the other religions on Earth?  I’m not denying the importance of the relationship  a person has with God, or that spiritual beliefs were important in the founding of this nation and is continuance today.  I just want to know if there is a value you think exists in the Judeo-Christian tradition that is necessary for the continuance of this nation that is specific only to the the Judeo-Christian tradition.

And I ask all of this, not because I just want to insult people, but because I have a second argument about this term and how it may be hurting us politically, but I first need to know if there is something about this term that I don’t understand coming from an outsider’s perspective.

*And don’t you dare to try and defend that man as a conservative.  If you look at his record he never met a tax, a regulation, or bribe he didn’t like.

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Filed under Aristotle, Capitalism, Conservative, Faith, God, Natural Rights, Patriotism, Paul Ryan, philosophy, politics, Religion, Spirituality

Philosophy Basics for Atheists (i.e. morons)



So I just read this truly stupid comment on tumblr in reference to my blog that historically any country that legally enforces atheism is far more violent and genocidal than nations that enforce other religions.*

“OK, atheism is not a religion and it’s certainly not a moral code. Atheism is just the non-belief in a god. That’s all it is. Now stop throwing straw men about and use that brain of yours you so proudly claim to have in your blog description.”**

This is a statement typical of the absolute idiocy of atheism. At least Christian nutjobs will admit that it’s faith and not reason that is behind their stupid ideas…but Atheists have not only the idiocy to mistake their faith for reason, but also the arrogance to then believe what they mistake for reason makes them better than anyone else.

So just to be clear I see two explicit lies here and on implicit lie.

  1. Atheism is not a religion: Lie.
  2. That the faith based metaphysical beliefs of not believing in a God have no effect on a moral code: Lie.
  3. Thus atheism does not come with a moral code: Lie.

So let’s go over these.

First, I’ve dealt with this dozens of times, but let’s go over it again: to not believe in God is an act of faith.

You have no proof that God doesn’t exist. Further it is logically impossible, let me repeat LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE, to prove a negative.  Thus to believe in something that cannot be proven in any way, shape, or form, is an act of faith.  It is believing in something you can’t know, and can’t prove, ever.  That’s faith.  That’s about as close to the definition of faith and religion as you can get.

And if you have a belief system based on an article of faith, that’s a religious belief.  It may not be an organized belief, it may be the very antithesis of the colloquial meaning of spiritual, but it is a religion.  Webster’s defines religion as: “7. a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith” and any atheist who wants to argue with me on that is insane, your belief in no God supplies the “cause, principle, or system of beliefs” the fact that you have no proof provides the “faith” and the fact that you’re arguing about it provides the “ardor.”  And it comes with its own sets of dogmatic beliefs.  There is the big bang, there is evolution. The fact that those theories still have some big holes in them, does not matter…nothing must deviate from the dogma.  Anyone who points out that the jump from random chemical to self replicating cells is a statistical impossibility and requires more than just the theory of evolution to make sense must be shouted down and burned at the stake.

But here let me pull another objection to my statement that atheism is a religion from the internet:

“Atheism isn’t a religion, and there are no atheists that I’ve ever heard of that have claimed themselves to be a “religion” of anything.  You’ve heard the arguments about atheism not being a religion before no doubt; you’ve just chosen to ignore them.”

Oh, so because atheists themselves don’t claim they’re a religion then they’re not.  You know, I’ve never heard any Nazis claim that they’re the personification of evil, and I’ve even heard arguments from Nazis that they’re right and good and true…I guess they must not be evil because they said so.  After all they said so.  Just because you argue you’re not something doesn’t make it true. O.J. tried to argue that he’s not a killer…reality said something different.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’re a religion, you have a belief based on an article of faith that is utterly impossible to prove.  It only adds to the fact that this person is an idiot, that he thinks that dismissing the pointless claims that atheism isn’t a religion is stupid, yet the fact that there is evidence that God exists (not entirely conclusive evidence I’ll grant you, but evidence) and he just chooses to ignore that isn’t a problem for this moron at all.

“But you don’t have any proof that God does exist either” the standard line goes.   You’re right, except for the logical impossibility of an infinite regression series in causality***, the fact the big bang statistically should have produced as much matter and anti-mater making a psychical universe all but impossible, the fact that random chemicals can’t just turn into self replicating cells, the fact that evolved chimps can’t just magically become sentient, the fact that near death experiences show that memories are formed when there is no electrical charge in the brain, and a thousand other pieces of evidence that suggest that there is a soul and a God…yes, I have no evidence. And while each piece of evidence I could bring up could be explained away on its own, the totality of it suggests quite strongly that there is a God.

“But you don’t have iron clad arguments” the argument goes.  True, but I’m not claiming that I’m not relying on faith to fill in the places reason can’t provide an answer, you are.

atheists are idiots

When you lose the reason for causality the whole story just sounds stupid.

But then the idiot Atheists like to bring up the truly idiotic thought experiment called “Russell’s Teapot.”  It’s a silly thought experiment that says there might be a teapot orbiting the sun, but since no one has provided any proof then we must assume that it doesn’t exist until someone provides proof.  And thus the burden of proof is on people who believe in God to prove that he exists.  (This again ignores all the evidence that does exist, it’s very convenient that Atheist always equate lack of absolute proof with lack of any proof).  First of all whether there is or isn’t a teapot has no effect on my life which is one of the reason why it is totally incomparable to God.  There might be a massive asteroid hurtling toward earth that could destroy the whole place, since this will have an effect on our lives, we have telescopes looking for it even though it may not exist.  Just because you come up with a charming example that uses a teapot doesn’t just mean you get to decide who has the burden of proof.  If you want to be purely based in reason you take no stance and be an agnostic.  If you want to believe there is no God and hold that as a belief, then you have no burden of proof other than your own feelings. But if you want me to believe you don’t say that you don’t have to prove your beliefs—if you’re going to publically make a statement of fact (that there is no God) you better back it up.  You cannot say reason is on your side but someone has to prove you wrong and you don’t have to prove your case.

And finally Atheists I now see are trying something really stupid.  Now they’re calling themselves agnostic atheists.  In this bizarre argument, there are agnostic atheists and gnostic atheists, agnostic theists, and gnostic theists. The gnostics in both groups (in a bizarre perversion of the English meaning of the word Gnostic) believe deeply, whereas the agnostics aren’t sure and try to portray themselves as being purely reasonable. This of course is preposterous as every idiot I have heard describe themselves “agnostic atheist” (and thus should not feel the need to argue about a belief they do not hold strongly) will attack you like a rabid Doberman if you even so much as question the logical basis of atheism.  It’s like socialists describing themselves as “progressives” or “moderate” or “centrists” or anything else, doesn’t change the fact that you’re batshit crazy. Think of this being a gnostic theist would mean you believe you can prove God doesn’t exist (logically impossible) or a being an agnostic theist would mean you believe in something you believe you can’t know, even through faith (which would be just dumb).  So I doubt you’ll find anyone dumb enough to be in those two categories. So really you have atheists and theists…and you have people who don’t have a real opinion agnostics, which this stupid 4 part chart doesn’t account for. You may try to make yourself sound more logical, but you’re an atheist, end of story.

Further this distinction ignores that it doesn’t matter how strongly you believe in your atheism, it matters which side you picked.

And this brings up to the second lie, the implicit one, that being an atheist doesn’t affect the rest of your philosophical beliefs. Actually it does.  Choices have consequences.  Philosophy is not a buffet where you can pick and chose beliefs as the writer of lies above would have you believe.

So first some quick background (this will be a refresher course if you already read Republicans and Reincarnation).

 

There are four**** main branches of philosophy: Metaphysic, epistemology, ethics and politics.

Metaphysics: the philosophy about the nature of the universe, what is true, what exists, teleology, and of course religion.

Epistemology: the philosophy of how we know or if we can know.  It’s a really annoying field of lots of hair splitting and hypotheticals.  But this deals with the acceptability of reason and faith in finding truth.

Ethics: How individuals should act and what is the purpose of their actions.

Politics: The ethics of groups and how the individual relates to the group and vice versa.

The lie above would have you believe that these four branches are separated.  That my beliefs about God (i.e. metaphysics) has nothing to do with my beliefs about epistemology, ethics, or politics.

Wrong. Oh so wrong.

Metaphysics affects your beliefs about epistemology. If there is not God there is not Truth beyond the laws of nature, there is no ethical Truth, there is not political Truth, no moral Truth…no truth at all outside of the laws of physics…and even then epistemologically you’re on shaky ground finding a philosophical basis for getting past skepticism because without God all that brain of yours is a sack of meat and electrical signals, there is no philosophical ground to trust it actually knows what it’s doing.

And your Metaphysical and Epistemological beliefs directly create your ethics.  What is true and what you can know is what creates value and what has value is what we direct our life toward.  The values of life if there is a soul and God are radically different from the values without them.

And obviously this change in ethics forms the basis for radically divergent forms of government.

And this then all comes to the third lie, that Atheism is not a moral code.

Atheism holds there is no God. Thus there is no soul.  Thus there cannot be free will.  You cannot rationally hold that there is free will if there is no soul, because free will to be free must be free of the laws of physics.  Choice doesn’t exist, if all your actions are determined only by chemical reactions in your brain. If there is no soul then your brain is simply a collection of chemicals running certain chemical reactions based on stimuli from the outside environment.  Without a soul your brain is nothing but an extremely complex computer running a program.   It may break, it may not work properly, but there is not choice in the matter, there are only reactions determined by the laws of physics.

And if there is no soul and there is no free will the question of value becomes extremely difficult.  Why are you a collection of chemical reactions more valuable than a tree, or a rock, or chemical reaction in a high school chemistry lab?  All are just collections of chemicals operating without choice by the mindless sequence of physical reactions of the their base elements.  Now, atheist Ayn Rand tried make the argument that since we are self-aware and beings of reason we are ends in ourselves…but even her argument depends on free will and an intrinsic value of the human life (both dependent on the soul) and if she ever applied her logic that contradistinctions cannot exist to her own beliefs she would have seen this.

Without the soul and free will human life cannot have value in and of itself.  And any atheist who would like to claim that human life has value in and of itself, I would like to know how you can possibly claim one set of chemical reactions can have more value than another.  And to believe that life has no value is a moral code with very definite moral implications. Ah, but maybe it’s because we’re really complex systems of chemical reactions (why complexity should be valued more than simplicity is a moral judgment without philosophical basis in a Godless universe…also the universe prefers the simplicity of complete chaos and entropy…complexity can only occur in order and lack of chaos, very against the nature of the universe)…but let’s say for the moment it’s because of complexity.  That immediately requires you admit that something more complex would be of more value of human life…let’s call this more complex thing, oh I don’t know, the Herrenvolk…do I even have to explain where that moral code leads?

Not to say all atheists are immoral or act as if human life has no value, most act as if human life has value…but that’s kind of odd for people who rail about how their reason is superior to everyone else’s but somehow are acting on a belief they have no reasonable or logical cause to believe in.  I guess they take that human life has value as an act of faith.

You can’t logically say we should all treat each other with respect and dignity if you no metaphysical reason why humans are so special.

And politically this gets really screwed up, because if there is no intrinsic value to human life, then there are no natural rights, then at best the most you can come up with is a utilitarian system that aims for whatever goal or end you decide (because without the value of the soul, the individual ceases to be the ultimate value and thus value can be whatever you want it to be).  And under utilitarianism anything is permissible (as history has shown time and time again), any atrocity is acceptable so long as it accomplishes whatever your final goal and final solution is.

Now Atheists will like to tell you that this is wrong.  That they do believe in the value of the individual, but they can’t exactly give you a philosophical reason for it.  That they don’t believe in the evils of Unitarianism in practice (Nazism, socialism, communism) but oddly enough all of these governments in history have done everything they can to outlaw, to abolish and to prevent any religion other than atheism.  Why?  Because religion gives value to the individual, and thus rights and reason and free will and value and a soul. Something other than the State to believe in and follow.

To say that atheism does not come with a moral code is to say that ideas do not have consequences.  It is to say that they believe in reason but refuse to follow ideas to their logical conclusions.  You cannot have it both ways. Either you embrace reason and thus metaphysical points affects ethics and morality, or you don’t believe in reason.

And history has shown that the logical conclusion of atheism on any grand scale is never something we would call ethical.

Yes there are some truly psychotic and idiotic beliefs and morals in various religions, but the flaws in certain religions does not negate the massive flaws at the very heart of atheism:  Calling it faith, believes that choices do not have consequences, and believes that a belief that destroys the value of human life is not someone’s perverted moral code.

But please tell me where my logic is wrong…other than just whining that “Atheism isn’t a religion, atheism isn’t a religion.”

*Just in case some idiot doesn’t bother to read the article and want to make an argument without doing even the slightest bit of research, like, I don’t, clicking on the link, I do point out that enforcing any belief leads to bloodshed and that secular pluralistic governments are best…but as few atheists actually want a pluralistic society as shown by their vicious push to have everything but their beliefs banned by law, it’s not really a valid point.

**Before you ask I’m not linking to the fucking idiot who said this, they don’t deserve a higher hit count.

***The argument by cause is actually a very strong argument, as it logically requires something infinite, outside of time and space, with volition, and intelligence.  It is logically impossible for there not to be something like this, and as Aquinas would say, this we call God.  The problem with the argument by cause is it doesn’t tell you much about God, and that is why it is a weak argument–the other arguments are required to tell you anything about God.

****Five really, but aesthetics has little to do with this discussion.

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Weekly Meditation: Why

“In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God, and Reason was God.”–Gospel of John 1:1

What?  How do you translate the Greek work “Logos”?  The Word?  So let me get this straight any other work of philosophy from that time period we would translate logos as Reason or Logic, but in this one work we should translate it as “The Word”…yeah that makes sense.

 

My point here is that reason, logic, the critical power of the mind to analyze and come to conclusions is actually something that has been praised in religion.  Any correct interpretation of any sane religion places reason and faith on equal footing where they work together in harmony, not in opposition.  Thus to truly lead a spiritual life we must lead a life of reason…

Yeah modern culture has tried to teach you that the two are opposed, but they’re not.

It wasn’t a giant leap of faith that allowed Siddhartha to reach Enlightenment, he tried that for years to no avail–it was hearing the rational wisdom of a lyre player saying that “If the string is to tight it will break, if too loose it will not play” to his student. The reason that we must seek a middle path, or at the father of Western reason Aristotle would put it, the Golden Mean.

The Buddha under the boddhi tree

Granted reason without faith won’t get you to Enlightenment, but neither will faith without reason.

And for most of us I think it is the powers of reason they we neglect too much.  And if it is neglected too much than all the faith and crystals and holy books and yoga in the world won’t help you.  You need both and you need to make sure both your ability to believe and your ability to reason are functioning properly.

So this week I want you to ask the most basic question that is the beginning or reason: Why?

Why do you believe that?  Why should I believe that?  Why do you say that?  Why do you believe you’re right?

The goal should be that your internal conversation should sound like a conversation between these two.

The goal should be that your internal conversation should sound like a conversation between these two.

To every statement you hear, every fact provided to you, every thought you have, question it.  Try and reason it out and deduce if it is true, if it makes sense, if there is justification for it.  Everything, even the things you take for granted if only for the practice.

Now you may want to do this all internally, as doing it aloud is partly what got Socrates a death sentence.  If you have someone who enjoys a long conversation that will reduce any position down to its most basic premises, great, but those kind of people are few and far between.

Take this to both spiritual and world knowledge.  It will get tiring, because each answer will lead you to another “Why” and another and another…but the exercise will be worth it.

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How a New Ager Views History

 

How a New Age looks back on history…

So in the last week I’ve been asked by several conservatives why I am still fairly hopeful for the future (the long term, not the short term—short term sucks) in light of the fact that both here in America and basically everywhere overseas we’ve been guaranteed at minimum four years of going to Hell in a hand basket.

 

Now my optimism is an extension of my faith.  I see mankind as moving toward Enlightenment, not just of some, but eventually of everyone.  And while Hinduism and Buddhism have many statements about everyone eventually reaching Enlightenment, I always like to go to prose of A Course in Miracles:

“You are as certain of arriving home as is the pathway of the sun laid down

before it rises, after it has set, and in the half-lit hours in between. Indeed,

your pathway is more certain still. For it can not be possible to change the

course of those whom God has called to Him.”

I have faith that humanity is moving toward complete Enlightenment.  It is not a question of if, it is at most a question of when.* It will happen.  Every soul will reach complete Enlightenment and return to being one with God.

 

Now it’s easy to say this as a statement of faith, but even the faithful need something to justify a belief in…and more importantly need to at least see that in the long run there is nothing to contradict this viewpoint.

 

 

So let’s look at this.  As I pointed out in Republicans and Reincarnation, whether you want to use the system of chakras or a myriad of other versions in other cultures, there seem to be seven stages in the evolution of the soul back to Enlightenment. More or less each stage corresponds to the energy and issues often associated with each Chakra.

 

 

Now we could go over each stage and each chakra, and I know you love when I make these blogs like ten pages long, but the fact of the matter is that, right now, I would say only the smallest portion of humanity are above the issues of the third chakra.

 

The first chakra, the root chakra, is associated with our physical existence.  Do we have enough to survive?  Are we safe in this instant?  Do we live in fear for our existence?  Do I live?

 

The second chakra deals with safety and security.  Not just surviving in the instant as the first chakra looks to, but to long term safety and comfort.  Not just do I have what I need but do I have what I want?  Do I win?

 

The third Chakra deals with self control and self awareness.  Not just having things but doing things?  Not just comfort but achievement.  Do I strive?

 

(The first three chakras are remarkably similar to the first three levels of Maslow’s hierarchy.)

 

 

Now since at some level each soul is connected to each other even if one soul is extremely advanced they are affected by those around them.  This is why stories of ascended masters and saints often describe them having a positive effect on people just by their presence and conversely why it is best to avoid being in proximity of those who are very negative.  And since we are all connected society as a whole acts like much in the way of an average of the collective evolution of all its souls. And as all souls are reincarnated and evolve so does society.* So, the question then becomes, if I’m right, and the world is experiencing a continuous growth in spiritual evolution is there any evidence of it?

The answer is yes.

 

If the average of people were working out problems with level one then society would be about survival, it would be about power, it would be about having more and more, not quality or comfort, but more in a numerical value where the chief worry is famine or invasion.  You would see constant conquest, constant struggle, and constant fear about not having enough.  Sure there might be the occasional enlightened person or at least some not consumed by a desire for protection and safety, but they’re the exception (and groups of them are especially the exception.  To a person or a society at this level, the universe is chaotic, uncaring maybe even vengeful—there is no way to reason with others, with God, with life, there is only power and ability to survive (in practice, it’s a little Hobbesian).   This pretty much describes all history until around 1400 CE.  The rulers always had to have more, the common people never really complained so long as they were promised safety (ignore whether that promise was actually kept).  At your highest moments most people were looking for no more than bread and circuses.

 

For a society where the average level of the second level you would find people not so much concerned with just safety but now with comfort (and at its worst decadence).  You won’t see as much a desire for power but for rules and order.  You would see an outlook that saw the universe not as chaotic, but ordered…still often uncaring, but not capriciously so.  And again we see this in history.  Starting just before the turn of the common era you see society from Europe to China more concerned with rules, with what we would match the requirement of any general definition of civilization.  And from this point until around 1400 you see the battle conflict between the predominant themes of level 1 and 2 defining the time, power vs. rules. And from 1400 from the Renaissance/Scientific Revolution in the West, Ottoman control in the Middle East and the Qing Dynasty in the East.  Not that the world is suddenly a bastion of humanity and good will toward each other, but the focus seems to have made a massive switch from a universe defined by brute force to one defined by rules (often very evil rules, but rules nonetheless).

 

And with level three we see people and society move from a concern not just with things but with the individual, with personal accomplishment and personal achievement—of a search within one’s self for what they want.  And while there have been strains here and there of this dating back even to the ancient world, this strain started to appear en mass in the 1700’s. (I know I’m going over this in very general detail and often ignoring those moments where this group or that makes a major step forward or back…and if anyone wants I’ll go into more detail, I will, but for now the very broad swaths seem to make the most sense).

 

And now we are beginning to see the whole world tilt from an average of level two to level 3.  (Yes the unfortunate side effect of level 3 is a me, me, me attitude…but it’s slightly better than resigning yourself to fate.)

 

Now also with this you’ll see that when you switch from one level to another there seems to be a purge of the old ideology through what is unfortunately a very effective way for people to learn, suffering.  (Aeschylus stated in Agamemnon that “Only through suffering do we learn.” This is not the only way people learn, but sadly, so often, many people only learn when they hit rock bottom and have to confront their beliefs without any illusions.) In that transition between level one and two you have the world wide pandemic.  A great karmic blowout that cleared out the majority of the issues from the old way of thinking and ushered into the new.  And if you apply this basic line of thought you see it is true also in smaller societies as you see this growth in smaller more concentrated areas.  And I think we’re in for an economic equivalent of this purge now as we move from an average of level 2 to level 3.  Now, given the fact that there does seem to be some increase in speed between levels one and two, I hope this karmic purge doesn’t take the century it did in the 1300’s, hopefully we’re right in the middle of it with only 4 years or so left.

 

Oh sure you can probably say I’ve engaged in this fallacy or that, superimposing my beliefs and interpretations onto what are otherwise unrelated events or issues.  But like I said, this is primarily about an issue of faith. I am merely showing that my faith isn’t completely without justification and doesn’t contradict what we know to be fact (unlike, say, ignoring all the evidence that shows your creation myth might be a little off from what really happened), you may not believe it, but at least it isn’t completely baseless.
So why I am optimistic?  Because I believe, not entirely without reason, that this is the storm before the calm and what lays on the other side is well worth the inconvenience in between.

 

*Technically time itself is an illusion, so I’m not sure if it’s really a question of when either.

**Yes even I have said that reincarnation does not necessarily go in a straight line through time, but most souls at the level one and two levels are more comfortable still perceiving time as linear and thus their souls reincarnate in this linear fashion.  And yes, since some people have pointed this out, souls reincarnating out of linear order in time does do some fascinating things to the laws of causality…I will defer to a much better writer to describe it: “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey… stuff.”

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Weekly Meditation: Prayer for those who need it

Too often in modern society we pray for things we want and don’t meditate and listen to the universe and work with it.
But prayer is important, and it can influence the world.
So this week I would ask that everyone pray for those in Israel. Once again they are being attacked by terrorist and the international cadre of anti-Semites who are hell bent on defending those butchers.

Please, at least once a day, spend five to ten minutes praying for those in Israel.

(…and if you want to throw in a prayer for America as well, we could also use it.)

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Weekly Meditation: Sharing and increasing your energy

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek […] to be loved, as to love.For it is in giving that we receive.”–excerpt from the Prayer of St. Francis

For the last two weeks during the weekly meditation we have looked at cutting the etheric bonds that drain us of energy and restoring our energy by taping into the source of all love and energy, God.

However, taping into God isn’t as effective a source of energy as you think it might be.  Yes he’s giving infinite love and energy…but while God would fill you with infinite energy…you are not willing to accept infinite energy.  How do I know you’re not…if you were really open to it, you would be filled with it and you’d have reached Enlightenment. I have the feeling that most Enlightened beings are not reading the blog of someone who is still trying to figure out everything for himself…no insult to my readers intended, but I think we’re all still working on ourselves, and we probably have a ways to go.

So how do we increase the amount of energy we will let ourselves take in?

In a somewhat ironic way, by giving our energy away.

The energy of the soul is an odd thing. When it is taken from you by another person it leaves you feeling drained and depressed…but when it is given freely that’s a very different story.

When you willingly and joyfully give energy to another person out of compassion and love it doesn’t drain you at all but does increase the other person’s.  In fact intentionally recognizing the connection that we share with all souls helps boost your own energy.

Now theoretically you could send energy and love to every soul on the planet. And again this is what Enlightened souls try to do.  However this takes balance of mind and soul which most of us haven’t quite mastered yet…and if the balance isn’t right and the intention isn’t pure, it can quickly devolve into the draining of energy.  So for this week’s meditation let’s focus on only one or two people.

Now you’re probably already sending energy to the people you love at a subconscious level…but for the purposes of this mediation let’s try to make this a conscious meditation.  Think about the person you care about most in the world and just as you cut cords that were draining you before attach a cord to this person and envision the energy flowing from you to them…(if you’re still a little worried about your energy being drained, first connect yourself to God, and then see yourself as a channel of that love from God to you to the person you care about). Just as with the previous weeks, I promise you will feel refreshed and more energetic and positive by doing this.

Now if the person you care about also does these meditations, it allows for a particularly positive meditation.  If you both meditate at the same time and both keep channeling and receiving energy from the other you will find it has the effect of a feedback loop.  As the energy goes back and forth it grows more and more powerful with almost no effort on your part.

Now if you feel very comfortable you may also want to extend your cords out to two or three people…but only do what you’re comfortable.

 

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Weekly Meditation: Regaining Your Energy

Now last week I talked about cutting the etheric bonds that drain you of energy.  This week I want to talk about increase your energy level.

There are three main sources of energy that we draw from.  The first is from God.  The second ourselves.  The third is from others. I’m going to talk more about the second and third next week but this week I want to focus on God.

We are all a part of God and constantly connected to him. He loves us unconditionally and would love to send us all the energy necessary for us to realize the silliness of this realm of existence and help us see that we are already an enlightened being and not in need of anything else to complete us.  However, since God also respects the law of free will, the thing that makes us his equal, he will not force us out of this dream, we have to do it ourselves, by our choice.  And because of that we deny ourselves a lot of energy that would help us raise our consciousness, our attitude, and our general well being every day.

So this week let’s try and dispel that.  Like last week I would first try and cut any etheric bonds that may be draining you of energy, or by which you are draining others.

Next ask God and your spirit guides to connect you back to your source, God, and let you receive energy from the love that God is already giving you.  If it helps  envision a single cord of light coming from Heaven, coming down and wrapping around your spinal cord and filling your whole body with energy.

I might also suggest if you can commit an extra twenty minutes or so you might want to go over your seven chakras, see each of them cleansed of negative energy and each connected with an etheric chord from Heaven.  As you do you might want to repeat the following mantras for each chakra:

First Chakra. My life is filled with abundance, safety and prosperity
Second Chakra. My emotions are balanced and in tune with light of Heaven
Third Chakra. My will is strong and one with God’s
Fourth Chakra. I love and am loved and know the love of God
Fifth Chakra. I speak and create beauty and truth inspired by God
Sixth Chakra. I see the complete truth and the now through the light of God
Seventh Chakra. I am one with God

Doing this should lighten your mood, increase your overall health, fill you with more energy each day and allow you to see things more positively.

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Weekly Meditation: Justifiably Believe in Yourself

“Don’t believe the things

you tell yourself so late at night

You are your own worst enemy,

You’ll never win the fight.”—Ingrid Michaelson, “Parachute”

“You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.” –Swami Vivekananda

“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”–Frank Lloyd Wright

“If ye have faith…nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20)

“For this individual soul is incapable of being cut; and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. This soul is eternal, constant, omnipresent, unchangeable, immovable and everlasting.”—Bhagavad-Gita Chapter II verse 24

For those of you read this blog a lot you know that I have a particularly annoying troll.   He doesn’t seem to know very much, but is constantly offended by the fact that I am very confident in my beliefs.

His logic seems to be based on a single quote from a truly hackish pseudo-philosopher he follows religiously:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts.”—Bertrand Russell

My little troll even goes as far to quote on a study that won an Ig Noble award that wasted research time to find out the obvious point that people who are inept at their jobs are often convinced they do a great job, to prove his point.

Oh my silly little troll…

But Russell is an idiot, for numerous reasons, but in this case for not acknowledging that history is filled with people who were very intelligent who were certain of their beliefs and who ignored the doubts of others and themselves and who went on to achieve greatness and often improve the world.  I would say that a general rule of common sense is that if you can easily list off 50-100 counter examples without even thinking to a statement it probably shouldn’t be regarded as gospel truth.  And just because you find a study that says the inept are often over confident, it does not follow that everyone who is confident is inept (but you would have to know something about logic to know that).

The fact of the matter is not that the problem of the modern world is that the ignorant are overconfident, it’s that they’re not self reflective.  The problem is not only are the intelligent full of doubt but that doubt in and of itself has become a virtue.  Why?  Well this is the weekly meditation blog so I’m going to give you a spiritual answer:  The Ego.

That mis-created part of yourself that keeps you from knowing that you are part of God, that you are perfect, that you are not powerless and able to control your own life.

And as always the ego plays two separate games, offers you two options that are equally foolish.  To those who do not want to be self reflective it rewards them by telling them they’re right for not being self reflective—it makes you over confident and uses that overconfidence to keep you from improving.  Or if you choose self reflection it brings doubt to everything, it tries to make it appear as if anything you do, anything you say, anything you believe in must be wrong…and if you’re so terrible at knowing anything so must everyone else be incapable of knowing anything (it is this side that my silly little troll seems to live in constantly).

And while my troll seems utterly incapable of learning in this lifetime, I would not begin to think everyone is so far gone into listening to the lies of their ego.

You are put on this planet to accomplish,  learn, and the lack of self-reflection and doubts hinder your assignment and improvement.

So how do we counter this?

The first is through self reflection.  Complacency and habitual ignorance are not places to be. You must question everything you believe.  Ask why you believe it.  Ask if you have proof and if that proof justifies what you believe.

The second is not giving into doubt.  That kind of constant questioning can lead to frustration and hopelessness.  Don’t give into it.  Know that you are capable of finding the answer; that your mind and soul are in the end infinitely knowledgeable.  And you have to believe that the answer you find is the right one, be open to new evidence or a new way of looking at things, but you must proceed every day not giving into the paralysis of doubt…for in that way madness lies.  Sometimes, obviously you’ll have to make choices on insufficient evidence with insufficient time to decide, but you have to go on the best information you have at the time and trust that you made the best choice you could at the time.

Honest self-reflection and questioning of your beliefs are not the same as doubt.  Doubt is the belief that you cannot know.  Self-reflection is merely admitting that while you can know, you’re human and may be wrong…but you should never assume you’re wrong unless you have not taken time to think about what you believe and have not had evidence to the contrary considered.

Now really this is more a life-long habit to adopt, repeat, and refine.  It’s going to take more time than a week’s mantra…but a meditation on it is a good start.

So for this week I suggest two meditations.

The first one in the morning is a mantra:

I will reflect on my beliefs and my choices before I act.  I will not doubt my decisions.  I will reflect again when I have a chance and see if I made errors or mistakes, and I will not make them again.

The second is at the end of the day to reflect on your thoughts and decisions again.  To reflect on their outcomes and where you were right and where you were wrong.  Congratulate yourself for where you were right and make a note not to repeat the same mistake where you’re wrong.

This will at least help build a habit that will be a bulwark against the ego’s doubts.

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Weekly Meditation: Suffering Fools

So if you pay attention to the comments section on this blog you’ll know I have some truly surreal arguments with Paulbots.  To call these people insane morons would be to insult retarded psychotics.  And to say that I suffer fools well would be a lie.  Now most of my vitriol is not to be found in the comment section but over the phone and IM messages to friends and family.  I am not a physically violent person, but when dealing with idiots I get angry probably quicker and to a greater degree than I should and vent it out as quickly as possible in very angry and violent words.  Not exactly the healthiest of all reactions, but again, I’m not a physically violent person so there is clearly worse.

And when I stopped to think about it, and I realized the problem, for me at least is two fold.  First it’s not the single idiot that is the problem.  It’s that when on the internet, it’s one after another, after another, after another.  And then I get to go to work (high school English teacher) where teenagers never treat you as if you don’t know anything.  One idiot is actually quite funny.  Two are kind of silly.  But when your whole day is filled with idiots who spew drivel and act like they’re smarter than you it gets infuriating.  And that leads to my second problem, my ego.  I consider myself quite intelligent and exceedingly well read with an ability to make connections between everything I’ve learned…and if you ask anyone who knows me they’ll probably tell you this is not just an arrogant boast.  I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I just get tired of people attacking me with idiocy when they don’t even bother to read the volumes of facts and logic I have set forth.  Paulbots who just call me a liar.  That pompous twit who keeps changing his name in the comments who clearly lives in academia and thinks that just because I challenge academia (with reason and facts) that I must be wrong and tries to humble me over and over again with the idea ‘well academia says you’re wrong.’  And it’s just tiring.  Arguing again and again, endlessly with people who aren’t a tenth as bright as me but acting like they’re my mental equal.  Yes I sought this out by having a blog, so I am partly to blame.  But is it too much to ask that if you’re going to challenge me, to do it with facts and reason?

But, realizing I’m not that special, I figure that we all must experience this at some level.  Being confronted over and over again by people who don’t know what they’re doing and are not open to reason.  So I turned to the different holy books to try and find a quote to base a weekly meditation on.

This turned out to be a mixed bag.

Why?

Well, Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching only when he got so infuriated with the idiots at court that he decided to leave China forever and was asked to leave something of his wisdom.  Christ, after three years of preaching to idiots who didn’t get it, finally broke and whipped the money changers out of the temple.  And, at a surface level, the Bhagavad-Gita is the god Krishna telling Arjuna “Arjuna, look, your evil relatives are so screwed up morally there is no getting through to them in this life time, and thus they’re already dead to me.  Go out and slaughter them—no mercy, no quarter, no prisoners—and it’s all ethically okay.  Maybe they’ll get it in the next lifetime.”

Now, as I was looking for something on how to put away my anger, this wasn’t quite what I wanted.  But, it was comforting to know that even the enlightened had their breaking points.

But I did find one quote.  Variously attributed to the Buddha or the Dalia Lama depending on which web page you find it (among others)….

I will admit that I know of know time Buddha lost his cool when dealing with jackasses…but then again this is the same guy who advised you to kill your idols.

Be grateful for your enemies, for they teach you patience.”

I know, not the earth shattering revelation I was hoping for either.  (Of course I could always turn to Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal where you find the repeated theme of Christ’s sermons was also, “Blessed are the dumbfucks, because god do they need it”…but it still doesn’t have the ring of enlightenment that I was looking for).

So onto the meditation.  This isn’t so much as a meditation for the week as it is a meditation for those special occasions.  For the week I would just click on the “Meditation” category link at the bottom and pick one of your favorites for this week.

So whenever you have run into a problem with an a string of idiots repeat this mantra.

“I am sorry that I cannot reach you with reason.  I have tried reason, I have tried facts, I have tried humor.  I am sorry I cannot find the words to make you understand.  I will continue to use these in my dealings with you, not for you, but for anyone who may be listening so that they do not fall into your errors.  And thus even though I cannot reach you, I make the world a better place by not giving into your silliness and by helping others see the truth.”

Remember one of the purposes of this symbol is to remind you to look for the truth of things even when you disagree with 90% of the rest of what the person says.

Okay, it’s a little sanctimonious, and please don’t use it before you have checked over every point of your own logic, checked the argument you’re being challenged with for even one valid point, and verified that logic with people whose intelligence you respect.  You need to check your thoughts to make sure they are correct before you get angry at others, otherwise your frustration might need to be directed at yourself for not checking your own reasoning.  We’re all subject to flaws in our lines of thought.  However we are also all subject to idiots who don’t even take the time to check their own thoughts.  And this is where this manta comes in.

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A Conservative New Ager’s Take on Abortion

So social conservatives (closet liberals who want the government to control one aspect of your lives instead of another) have been really hyping the latest Gallup poll. I mean did you know that people who identify themselves as

Did we forget we’re conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

“pro-choice” are down to the all time low of a mere 41%!  41%!  Only 41% of the nation wants to keep abortion legal…oh wait, if you actually read the whole thing (reading is something that is not big with liberals and social conservatives) then you’d see it’s not that simple.

Actually only 20% of the country wants to completely ban it from the country. 25% want it legal under any condition (and 25% I think is more than 20%)…and 52% want it legal under some circumstances.  (As always there is a portion of the country, 3%, that has no opinion on anything…I love this 3-5% that goes through life without any opinions on anything).  Now obviously some of those 52% would only make it legal under the rape/incest clause that everyone always puts into every abortion law and some would probably be willing to allow any level of abortion so long as not a single tax payer dollar is paid for it.


But since this is such an overrated issue in America, one that seems to drive idiots on both sides to exclude a million vastly more importantly issues to the point that they will vote only on this issue that most of the American public will vote on even thought it never will have a single effect on their life.  Does that mean I don’t have an opinion on abortion, no as a New Ager and Conservative, I do, and they’re the same opinion: I’m for it.

I can see the look on your face right now…how does being a conservative mean you’re for the legal right of abortion.  I’m going to leave  you with that confusion for just a moment while I go through the spiritual side first, as this is slightly more important.

I start with the spiritual side because abortion is tied up a lot in what it is to be human, and whether or not it’s wrong to kill something that is or is not yet human.  I recently saw a book that preposterously tried to use Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy to argue against abortion.  While there were numerous errors, the crux of the argument was that because a fetus has a full genetic code of a human being, it’s human, and therefore abortion is murder.—the book made no further argument to prove that a fetus is human.  A scraping of skin cells, a vial of blood, and a corpse also have a full genetic code, so if you do anything to these apparently, by what I can only assume was supposed to be an educated argument against abortion, you’re also committing murder.

I bring this up only to show what the central problem in this argument is:  What is human life?  And when you have the answer to that question, you have the answer to the “question of when does life begin?”

Now an intelligent person realizes that a human is more than just an animal with a certain genetic code, no, what makes humans humans and not just mere animals is our souls.  When the soul is present in the body of a homo sapien you have a human being, when it leaves you have a corpse…before the soul takes up residence, you have something that could become human, but is still lacking the single most important quality of human existence.

Okay, so if it’s the presence of the soul, when does the soul take residence?  Well if you read the Bible it seems to associate the soul with breath, so that might suggest the soul takes up residence only upon birth…but we’re not really going to deal with Judeo-Christian beliefs, we’re New Agers, we try for more.

Now in most studies of life-after-death and reincarnation, which I think it’s safe to say, the idea that there is more than a single body surrounding your body but several “etheric” shells that are each shed  through the process of death (see the Tibetan Book of the Dead for a more complete discussion) but conversely these bodies take time to form.  And from what little science can glean from life-after-death and reincarnation studies (see Life After Death by Chopra and Evidence of the Afterlife by Long) and tradition (see God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Yogananda) the soul is not directly tied to the body until well into the third trimester, sometimes not taking full residence up until birth itself.  (This does however vary).  However, as any New Ager is likely to believe evidence from respected mediums, it appears that the souls attached to fetuses that may be aborted know what they’re getting into and bear no ill will if the fetus is aborted (see Talking to Heaven by Van Praagh).

Thus the best way to describe the soul’s relationship to the body before birth is  at best a lease with an option to buy, with a not so hidden clause in the lease where the owner may terminate the lease and the house if they so choose.   So in this respect it is not murder and certainly in favor of abortion.

The second spiritual reason deals with the mother.  Karmically, the soul of the mother who is considering an abortion has at some point before her own birth chosen to face a situation where this choice will be required to make this choice.  She may be in need of learning to put others before herself and thus keeping the child would be the best choice spiritually…or she may have come off of lives of servitude and self-denial and thus must learn that her needs, wants, and dreams are important too and should not be shoved aside, in which case having the abortion might be the best thing for her soul.  I am not enlightened enough to know who is in which situation and feel that legislating what is a powerful karmic choice (that is not murder, as I have shown) is arrogance of the rankest sort.  Will everyone make the right choice that is best for their soul?  No.  But that is the point of life making good choices and seeing the fruit of those choices so that we may repeat them, and making bad choices and learning from our mistakes.  To use law to subvert free will and spiritual growth is a perversion of what government is supposed to do.

Finally I am for abortion because I hate some of the alternatives.  And I’m going to be a little callous here.  The point of life is either to grow as a person or in some cases to not grow so much ourselves, but to be a teacher for those around us.  I tend to think that many children who are born with severe mental problems are in this latter category.  They come to teach those around them compassion.  But there are also those I think that trap themselves in a lemon of a brain as punishment for some karmic reason—think about it, being a fully functional soul, capable of reaching enlightenment, trapped in a brain and body that doesn’t function, doesn’t respond, and won’t allow you to express yourself and learn…that’s about as close to the definition of hell as I can think of…and I will never condemn a human soul to that if I have any say about it.  Now I understand why people of faiths other than mine might look at my personal desire to abort a child with a severe mental handicap as cruel, and I can see their point of view, but please have the courtesy to see mine.

Okay all that said, my wacky New Age beliefs are certainly not going to convince any conservative with more main line religious views.   And they certainly won’t do anything to convince psycho’s like Rick Santorum, who even in his “I’m dropping out of the race” speech felt the need to point out that his views on abortion were the all important part of his campaign (and you wonder why you didn’t get anywhere don’t you Ricky?):

“We did focus a lot on the families and dignity of moral life that is America. I know Joe Klein will be upset about this, but one of my favorite articles was one that he wrote, where his headline was ‘Rick Santorum’s inconvenient truths.’We talked about things that maybe we should talk about more but they get shoved say aside in the public discourse. We carried around our copy of the Constitution.”

Well aside from the fact that Rick Santorum’s copy of the Constitution is different than anyone else’s and looks like slightly more Draconian than Leviticus, we as conservatives do like the Constitution, and we like economic facts (unlike liberal economics fantasies).  And those beliefs very clearly dictate a support for the basic rights to an abortion.

How so?

Well let’s first deal with the Constitution.  What I or anyone else does with thier doctor is private as we are the ones paying them for a service.  I am engaged in commerce.  And every conservative holds that the federal government has no right to legislate on commerce that doesn’t cross state lines.  We believe that all of the government’s current invasions into intrastate commerce are inherently unconstitutional…so why is this act of commerce different than others?  It isn’t.  Any conservative who is arguing for a Constitutional Amendment giving the federal government the power to legislate intrastate commerce is arguing for opening a Pandora’s Box that we will never be able to close.  Remember, we’re conservatives– we want the government out of the economy, not to give them a Constitutional back door into it.

You want to deal with abortion at a state level, fine.  But first stop arguing for an expansion of federal powers like you’re a filthy liberal.

Then comes the economic facts.

Fact 1:  Making things illegal has never stopped the market; it only creates a black market.

What does this mean?  Well, aside from the extreme image of back alleys and clothes hangers (I think overdoses on birth control are more likely…not to mention that the upper middle class and rich can always get a D&C at their OBGYN, just as they did before Roe) it means you’ll still have abortions being performed by doctors.  Now I don’t think that, like with most black markets, you’ll see an increase in demand, but you will see an increase in supply.  Doctors who don’t do abortions now because they can always refer a patient to someone else will take a stand and start doing them so I doubt you’ll see any major decrease in numbers in abortions from accidental pregnancies (I’ll get to why I make this distinction in a minute)

Fact 2: Black Markets can’t be regulated and are open to more corruption.

Which do you think stops more abortions a 48 hour waiting period or making it a blackmarket under absolutely no regulation?  Having to see a sonogram of the fetus or going to a doctor’s office in the dead of night for a procedure that is done as quickly as is humanly possible?  Banning late-term abortions or making the whole thing a thriving underground industry?

An intelligent person knows that regulation is a greater killer of any industry as most people are willing to jump through preposterous legal hoops before they consider illegal means.   And I think most people are open to sane requirements like having to view a sonogram or having a waiting period or banning late-term abortions…whereas underground markets are a free for all.

Or how about banning gender selective abortions?…which apparently are going on in this country.  Now while I’m sure we can all agree that anyone who would abort a fetus because it was the wrong gender is too sick to be allowed to have a child of either gender, I’ll simply settle for making it illegal to even ask for one…maybe with heavy jail time involved.

But if you just outlaw abortion en masse, you won’t have any of those controls.

Fact 3: Enforcement costs on black markets are insane.

As we saw with Prohibition and with the war on drugs, enforcing rules against a black market are prohibitively expensive.  Prohibitively expensive.  Not to mention making it a federal law requires federal enforcement…like we need another government agency getting involved with our medical choices.  Then you have the costs of prosecution, which I promise you will have a remarkably low conviction rate, and probably the cost of suing states which rightly believe this is a state’s rights issue and legalize it.  (Yes that would be the one benefit to outlawing abortion at a federal level, liberals would finally believe in state’s rights and the limits of federal power.)

Fact 4: A good portion of abortions now are caused by subsidies.

And the final fact that most conservatives miss.  Right now an unhealthy portion of abortions (especially late-term abortions) are because there are extra welfare benefits to being pregnant…get more money for a few months, abort the fetus (on the taxpayer dime), and keep the money without the hassle of a kid.  We subsidize abortion.

Now the majority of abortions are women for whom their pregnancy is an unplanned accident, they have an abortion, and probably are more careful in the future and never have another abortion.  Bully for them.  Unfortunately about 20% of women who have abortions are having 3+ in a life time I don’t have the figures on this group, but I’ll lay even money that Uncle Sam is picking up most of the tab for that 20%.  Why?  Because there is no cost for this idiotic kind of behavior.  Because Uncle Sam subsidizes it.  And as any economic conservative knows when you subsidize a behavior you get more of it.

So what should we do?  Well, eliminate all taxpayer money going to abortions.  (And if I had my druthers I would also ban any welfare support on a second unplanned pregnancy.  The first time was a mistake and I’m willing to be generous…the second time it’s stupidity on the part of the mother.)  This would dry up the well very quickly for those who are abusing the system.

So any conservative should know that making abortion illegal would only expand federal power and do nothing to stop abortions.  Come on guys, we’re supposed to be the rational party.

And thankfully, Mitt Romney has said he’s getting rid of all federal money for Planned Parenthood. If liberals are unhappy about this, they can donate their own money to Planned Parenthood…after all liberals say they’re not being taxed as much as they should be, so I’m sure they’ll be willing to put up their money to support an organization they find to be a worthy cause if the government won’t take their money for them.

Of course how do you get the more moderate liberals to support such a ban…you offer a blanket federal protection of a woman’s right to an abortion in the first two trimesters, probably in the form of a Constitutional Amendment, but with the provision that no tax payer money ever go to it.  Which I think brings us back to the implications of the poll that started this whole thing.

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Weekly Meditation: Know Thyself

As I continue to pull from religious texts the world over, I decided to pick this week from one of the really lesser known ones: The Gospel of Thomas.  For those who don’t know, the Gospel of Thomas is one of those Gospels that didn’t make the cut from Constantine’s Council of Nicea, who, four-hundred years after the death of Christ, were able to tell which Gospels, epistles, and revelations were the word of God and thus made it into the New Testament, and which were not and got cut.  (They also made some edits to the ones that got in, because while the New Testament books were inspired by God, God clearly didn’t get it right on the first draft—silly God, what

Many scholars actually believe the Gospel of Thomas is more reflective of the real Jeshua of Nazareth.

would you do if the Council of Nicea wasn’t there to correct your mistakes?)

The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of 114 sayings of Jesus.  Some look similar to those found in the canonical Gospels…others do not.  I’m going to pull one of those that have no counterparts.  Verse 70.

Jesus said: ‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.  If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you will kill you.’

As with most lines in a spiritual text you can probably read a lot of levels in any line, but I want to focus on the idea that your salvation, is inside you, that the light of God is in your soul.  Know thyself.  Happiness is a choice.  A dozen other variations throughout history and philosophy.

I think this sentiment can be found in every belief represented in this symbol…how do constantly forget this basic truth?

Your soul, that spark of God within you, is really all that matters.  If you are trying to find Happiness, contentment, salvation, or escape anywhere besides your soul, you’re kind of missing the point.  And the lack of your soul in your life will, spiritually, kill you.

So this week, I want to drive this dagger home, and so I want to try something a little radical…

As you sit down for your daily meditation, I want you to imagine your life.  Now imagine that you lose the job you have and are stuck at something dull and monotonous (if you don’t already have that) with only bare subsistence pay.  Now tell yourself, “Even with that I still have my soul.  I still have God’s love.  I will still find Happiness.”  The next day imagine not only losing your job, but add losing your acquaintances that you hang out with (I would say friends, but you can’t ever lose friends, even if they die, that’s what makes them friends—you can, however, lose acquaintances.)  Again, “Even with that I still have my soul.  I still have God’s love.  I will still find Happiness.”  Each day strip more and more away, and remind yourself that all of these things are transitory and impermanent, which is what makes them something other than the source of Happiness and salvation.  They may be a  reflection of our thoughts, of our Happiness and of our soul…but they are not what matters, they are not what bring us Happiness.

No matter how much or little you have, you have your soul, which is all you need.  “‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.”

Now, I will say that since I do believe in the laws of attraction, the idea that your thoughts shape reality, focusing on losing everything might have some negative consequences.  But luckily positive thoughts are thousands of times more powerful than negative ones.  So if you spend 10 minutes stripping your life of all it’s worldly items and reminding yourself that these are not what bring you Happiness, you might want to follow that with 5-10 minutes of focusing on your ideal life.  5-10 minutes of the ideal job, ideal house, ideal relationship.  Yes these aren’t what bring you Happiness…but they don’t hurt either…and taken with the right attitude they can serve as reminders of your connection to God.

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