Fundamentalist Atheism, and Theism…SMH!

imgresWho is better equipped to protect the City, Batman, or Spiderman? Theism vs Atheism, (Im Christian, thats me)..I see this topic coming up all over the place, and I have to scratch my head, just about, every time…Worship at the altar of this, or that, in my view God provided us with free will, and the capacity to respect one another, and the views that come from honest, well intentioned people, whether they be this, or, be that…Mo-Def said it best, “everyone has something they believe in, and holds onto with all ten fingers and ten toes, and I call that religion, weather your call it that or not” he was directing that toward Bill Maher, and Chris Hitchens, both men became very uncomfortable with his assertion…I would think a reasonable person would go out of their way to see the world through someone else’s glasses, to allow themselves to have another view, of that world, at the very least…My favorite Philosophers are Kierkegaard and Nietzsche…Adrian De Botton, and Wendell Berry, two Atheists, and two Theists, all four brilliant…Is Dr Francis Collins any less a scientists because he is a Christian? Is Ludwig Wittgenstein any less a Philosopher because he was Agnostic? I dont think so, is Batman a believer,or Spiderman? …The Big Questions, as Soren Kierkegaard puts it..”When it comes to the big Questions, The opinion of the group, is invariably the wrong one”. Personally, I agree with that…Then there’s the the question of respect and consideration for others, and the responsibility as intelligent human beings to tread respectfully on matters that may be of more value to one group then another. This should be of value to everyone, unless, one thinks, his or her glasses that they see life through actually show the world as it really is, and no other view is acceptable..This kind of thinking is a pity, and destructive to say the very least…And a misuse of any super powers one might possess to do good in this world and not harm, personally I think Spiderman might be a better choice to protect the City, but that doesn’t mean I don’t pay close attention to what Batman is up to, and all he does for the City… if it aint about da love, it aint about nothin….I came to the Gospels at the late age of 45, I come from a organized crime family back east, and didn’t know baseball bats were used for a ball game till I went to school, and my family was Catholic, not a good foundation for understanding religion, God, politics, or human behavior…lol…Anyway, in my coming to except the Gospels, I did this in a room, ill, with just myself and the text, and a lot of prayer. I changed from the inside out, the only problem was, when I became healthy again, and went out into the churches, I was blown away by what I saw out there in reference to, what I embraced as Christ and His message, and what the mainline Christian community was exercising as “The Word”…After 2 years of putting myself through that hell trying to understand this American European Christian paradigm, I had to disappear into my own space again, and go from there…I thought they were all from some other planet, or I was…The message of Christ turned into profit, and damnation on our fellow man for things that didn’t fit the particular denominations agenda, and the continuous bombardment of hate toward gays, all wrapped up neatly in the fabric of Biblical discernment, while most these pious members left the church and lived like heathens the rest of the week, was just too much to handle, even for a guy that was brought up in one hard social eco systems …As a professional musician, at least half my closest friends are Atheists and Agnostics, so I have never suffered from any discomfort in terms of Theism/Atheism and we have tossed the two worldviews around more times than I can remember without so much as a ruffled feather. Im a Christian, thats looked upon in most church environments, as a heretic, I realize that, but I’m in good company I believe, Soren Kierkegaard, Wendell Berry, Chris Hedges,Cornel West &c. not a bad bunch… Now… Dr Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project is a devoted Christian and cutting edge scienctists,  Collins states…”One of the main reasons I wrote The Language of God (His book) was to try to put forward a comfortable synthesis of what science teaches us about the natural world and what faith teaches us about God. Yet it seems to be a pretty well kept secret these days that the scientific approach and the spiritual approach are compatible. I think we’ve allowed for too long extreme voices to dominate the stage in a way that has led many people to assume that’s all there is. The thesis of my book is that there is no need for this battle. In fact, it’s a destructive battle. And we as a society would be well served to recover that happy middle ground where people have been for most of human history”…End of quote, I see the bible as 66 or 73 books compiled within the context of History, Poetry, Prophecy, Hyperbole, Parables and so on, literalism seems plain off the mark in my view if its applied to the entire text, one has to be able to see the forest through the trees, or else he or she will be snagged by the sharp and nasty hook of “Group Think” and fundamentalism, which in my view will reach out and choke you to death, it’s destructive weather it is derived within the confines of Christianity, secular humanism, or Atheism. It needs to be thought through in order to see its destructiveness…I see God everywhere, from the The Fibonacci Sequence, right through to the Human Genome, and all inbetween, so did Newton, and a multitude of other scientists, and regular folk, like myself, but also, many a great scientists, did not, and do not! Why is this a problem?…Which scientists do we give more credence to? I would say the neither, I would even go so far as to say, it is a very ignorant person that would not realize the major contributions to Science, Philosophy, The Arts, and all other areas of mans expression coming from Atheists and Theists a like…Those famous words always ring in my ear, “cant we all just get along?” And he said that after taking one hell of a beating…

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France Bombing…

imagesFrance bombings..First off, I feel…We are all human beings, trying to live life without to much pain, and misunderstanding, both outside ourselves, and in, and, even within all this, at times, we find beauty and grand experience grow in places we never thought it could exist, something to be grateful for I think…Im not a pacifist by nature, my past is a bleak reminder to that fact, but I do try to move past my tendencies to judge, react, and to fool myself into thinking I have any answers to this turbulent world around me…These events that are taking place all over the world right now, inflict pain on us all, weather we believe that, or not…These events are not caused by Muslims, Christians, or well intentioned Atheists, or Hinduism, or any other religious, or respectful non religious groups that live by a code of being benevolent in any land. They are caused by “extremists” that have somehow lost their humanity, and become animals…Don’t let that, turn us, into them, by way of misguided prejudices, born of fear, and popular bumper sticker…As well as we can’t blame Jesus for The Spanish Inquisition, we also shouldn’t blame our non violent, God seeking Muslim neighbors for Psychopaths that latch onto their religion, as their excuse for devolving from human, to ape…At this point in time in history, I think we as individuals have to stand upright, and either make responsible choices in terms of how we are going to move ahead as human beings, or whether to keep allowing the global propaganda (and violence) to intercept our spirits and continue to turn one against another, “or not”…I really feel world leaders have no real power to address this bigotry, and for the most part, rely on it to suit their own agendas …So I end up back to square one thinking its up to each person to see through the manufacturing of this bigotry, both by way of violence and propaganda, and to not accept it, to think for ourselves, “extremists, and high tech, are here to stay”, its the new wave of things, so the blame game, I feel, needs to be revisited, especially in the area of terrorism, good muslims are just not responsible for the Apes behaviour …These divisions, and the polarization of the masses, are old school at this point, they go back thousands of years, anywhere you see people holding deeds to property…Paper money and so forth…But thats the paradigm we have created for ourselves and its byproducts, so, maybe we need to somehow learn to do better with all this…I think a good start is for each individual to see past the “Group Think” and not buy into racial, religious, and ideological dogmas permeating the planet, that breed more pain and violence…I just don’t think world leaders are going to assist with this at this juncture of history, they have much to much invested in the current way of things, but thats just my set of lenses I’m looking through…Solomon said it best…”Their is nothing new under the sun”…I believe he was referring to human behaviour, and the very core of the human condition…The best efforts I have run across, as to long term remedy is, (in my short life and narrow view), in reference to these big questions, are, Good people embracing responsibility toward the next generation, and placing the next generation before their own…People like Educators, Men of the cloth (the real men of the cloth, not these poor excuses we see permeating the TV stations and acting a fool) Philosophers with a goal other then to read their own words, Honest politicians (when you can find one) and so on… I like to think all these positive influences will outweigh the negative in the long run…humans are a collective, and the collective gets better each time an individual acts out of responsibility toward his fellow man, even if its at his or her own experience…Thats the narrative of Christ in a nutshell to me…Weather your a Christian or not, its a powerful Narrative that crosses all of lifes boundaries and provides a glimpse of real power…In my view anyway…Just sayin

Quotes from Soren Kierkegaard and Dietrich Bonhoeffer…

imagesTwo philosophers that can changed the way I look at things. Soren Kierkegaard (mid 1800’s), and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (near mid 1900’s)…

Kierkegaard, was an eccentric philosopher and is considered by many to be the father of Existentialism; he was Christian, but felt, religion, in terms of “Groupthink,” had lost its way… Even though most all the rest of the Existentialists that came after SK were Atheists, Kierkegaard is considered the founding father of this new thought paradigm, and has had a profound effect on my own personal worldview…

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a celebrated German Lutheran minister, Philosopher, and Theologian, continued to compile his work right up till his capture for attempting to kill Adolf Hitler, (along with six other of his extended family and friends), wrote this quote, taken from a larger SA, that was written from his prison cell while waiting for his execution. He was executed two days before Hitler Killed himself…

Kierkegaard writes: “There is a view of life which holds that where the crowd is, the truth is also, that it is a need in truth itself, that it must have the crowd on its side. There is another view of life; which holds that wherever the crowd is, there is untruth, so that, for a moment to carry the matter out to its farthest conclusion, even if every individual possessed the truth in private, yet if they came together into a crowd (so that “the crowd” received any decisive, voting, noisy, audible importance), untruth would at once be let in.”

Bonhoeffer writes: (Keep in mind his historical relationship to Adolph Hitler)… “Folly is a more dangerous enemy to the good than evil. One can protest against evil; it can be unmasked…. Evil always carries the seeds of its own destruction, as it makes people , at the least, uncomfortable. Against folly we have no defense. Neither protests nor force can touch it; reasoning is of no use; facts that contradict personal prejudices can simply be disbelieved – indeed, the fool can counter by criticizing them, and if they are undeniable, they can just be pushed aside as trivial exceptions. So the fool…is completely self-satisfied; in fact, he can easily become dangerous, as it does not take much to make him aggressive. …we shall never try to convince a fool by reason, for it is both useless and dangerous.
If we are to deal adequately with folly, we must try to understand its nature. This much is certain, that it is a moral rather than an intellectual defect. There are people who are mentally agile but foolish, and people are slow but very far from foolish. …We notice further that this defect is less common in the unsociable and solitary than in individuals or groups that are inclined or condemned to sociability. It seems then, that folly is a sociological rather than a psychological problem, and that it is a special form of the operation of historical circumstances on people, a psychological by-product of definite external factors. If we look more closely, we see that any violent display of power…produces an outburst of folly in a large part of mankind; indeed, this seems actually to be a psychological and sociological law: the power of some needs the folly of others. …the upsurge of power makes such an overwhelming impression that men are deprived of their independent judgement…. The fact that the fool is often stubborn must not mislead us into thinking that he is independent. One feels in fact, when talking to him, that one is dealing, not with the man himself, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like, which have taken hold of him. He is under a spell, he is binded, his very nature is being misused and exploited. Having thus become a passive instrument, the fool will be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil.
But at this point it is quite clear, too, that folly can be overcome, not by instruction, but only by an act of liberation; and so we have come to terms with the fact that in the majority of cases inward liberation must precede outward liberation, and until that is taken place, we may as well abandon all attempts to convince the fool. In this state of affairs we have to realize why it is no use trying to find our what ‘the people’ really think and why the question is so superfluous for the man who thinks and acts responsibly…. The Bible’s words that ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ tell us that a person’s inward liberation to live a responsible life before God is the only real cure for folly.
But there is some consolation in these thoughts on folly: they in no way justify us in thinking that most people are fools in all circumstances. What will matter is whether those in power expect more from people’s folly than from their wisdom and independence of mind”.

Repentance and Evolution

img_2998_copyAfter reading a post on Repentance and Evolution on a philosophy site I frequent, it lead me to have to respond…

“Repentance, to me anyway, is really a matter of love, for both oneself and God alike, and I believe those very mechanics work for any Theists, Atheists, or Agnostic that strives to keep their darker self under some kind of beneficial observation, and adjustment that may potentially move one toward, an inner peace of a kind… I like this quote from Dr Francis Collins whose team mapped out the Human Genome… “One of the main reasons I wrote The Language of God” (His book) “was to try to put forward a comfortable synthesis of what science teaches us about the natural world and what faith teaches us about God. Yet it seems to be a pretty well kept secret these days that the scientific approach and the spiritual approach are compatible. I think we’ve allowed for too long extreme voices to dominate the stage in a way that has led many people to assume that’s all there is. The thesis of my book is that there is no need for this battle. In fact, it’s a destructive battle. And we as a society would be well served to recover that happy middle ground where people have been for most of human history” End of Quote….I did hesitate, as to whether to add the second part of the first sentence of my comment, or not, knowing I most likely would have to follow it up in some manner, and also, didn’t really know how unprepared I would be to do just that…lol…But I did say “I believe those very mechanics work for any Theists, Atheists, or Agnostic that strives to keep their darker self under some kind of beneficial observation, and adjustment, that may potentially move one, toward, an inner peace of a kind”. So Im wasn’t stating my observation as fact, just that I believe this to be the case…I feel Christ to be an inclusiveness in presents, as opposed to, an exclusivity in terms of His Love and acceptance…I can only see the actual mechanisms of repentance operating in my own life as a Theists that holds the Gospels very close to my walk in life…But having said that, I’m also a musician that has made his living playing music, and living in tight quarters on the road with mostly Atheists and Agnostics for many years, and have witnessed “a” (in reference to the matter here) view through their glasses on many occasion when it came to this subject of repentance. I know repentance when I see it, with Atheists and Agnostics, it just doesn’t have the Religiosity that, we, as Theists, look for to go with the experience of deep remorse, and reflective pain in the face of knowing you have done harm, but its the same human experience none the less. Iv witnessed many a Christian that lived like devils, and many an Atheists that lived like Christ instructed. Whether one believes in God or not, or feels God is irrelevant is an intellectual, and Spiritual matter, for each man, or woman to contend with … that’s way above my pay grade… Romans 2:14: (dose come to mind here)… “When Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, it is the law written in their hearts, their conscience.”…I do realize we can go back and forth on this verse forever, BUT lets not, if at all possible. At any rate, lets see where this goes.. I see repentance as one acknowledging ones destructive behaviour, and instinctively, through Love, and, with the aid of love, repents…( if that person’s center is sincerely operating in love in the first place), A Theists, comes to this place where he, or she, makes a deep heartfelt acknowledgment, and apology for his, or hers behaviour to God, thus restoring love, to where the bad impulses have placed a wall between them, and that love… Why wouldn’t an Atheists, or an Agnostic have that same potential, or capacity for the same set of mechanisms working, in, and for them? A self centered behavior, weather it originates in a horrendous act, or a small indiscretion, we all know, can place that wall of division between a man and “love”, for both himself and his fellows. Why would I think a Theists only has this capacity to see the indiscretion that has caused a separation between himself and a loving wholeness?… So I believe repentance to be a heart felt, honest, sincere, embracing of a persons selfish, and, or destructive actions that has separated him from this Love, both for himself, and his fellow man, (if his actions included another person, which most time dose) and attempts to right the wrong with all sincerity, and action. And if he, or she, is a man, or woman of Faith, then God is the direction in which we make that plea…I don’t think for a minute these blessed impulses of repentance are just available to the Christian, Jew, or any other Religious “Group” alone…I feel that would be exclusivity, where inclusivity is called for…To me, Christ is inclusive beyond anyone capacity to know the depths of His inclusivity…And my hopes are, that, as time move forward, we all (as a race, of human beings) learn see this darkness inside ourselves, before looking out the window into the world, that lies to us, telling us, its always the other guy, and thus moves us forward toward healing from that honesty of self observation. I think this Illusion of objectivity that we are all so very conditioned to embrace in this life of smoke and mirrors, in reference to Good and Bad, and who, and what, Good and Bad is, and who is responsible for it, is holding up progress toward a better relationship both with ourselves, and our brothers and sisters we share this experience with… at a time when maybe we can, as a species open the door a little bit wider to let just a little bit more light into the room…For us all weather we be this, or that…I’ll end with this quote…“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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