Truth is truth no matter who discovers it. I am not opposed to any and all wisdom produced by any group, thought, or philosophy. For example, there is much to be gained from the wisdom contained in Scripture. But, where I come up short with recognition of the Scripture as God’s Word has to do with its inherent claim that it is God’s Word with little proof other than subjective deductions. The fact that it is a “reliable historical document” or that it has been written over a span of thousands of years by many authors, does not make a case for the credibility of its inherent message. The problem rests in the very words of the Word and that is, its claim to be God’s Word and, with no acknowledgment that there might be truth apart from the Word that will “save”, enhance, or fulfill a person’s life.
I am for speculation on any topic as I believe it opens new doors for innovative thinking and product development. But to make a claim that the only truth worth considering rests in the hands of those who believe in the Word is, in my opinion, the height of arrogance and undermines personal inquiry apart from Christianity. Most Christians have no idea what the rest of the world believes or thinks, let alone why they believe as they do. I contend that the only reason most Christians are Christians is that they were born into a predominately Christian country, one that has “privileged” Christians over other faiths. ([Christian “nationhood”] is being debated more frequently in U.S. courts to the benefit of many who do not claim to be Christian.)
Leave a comment | tags: belief, biblical, God's Word, nationhood, Scripture, truth, wisdom, Word | posted in Migrant Soul
“It was my luck to have a few good teachers in my youth, men and women who came into my dark head and lit a match.”
Yann Martel, “Life of Pi”
Leave a comment | tags: education, teachers, teaching | posted in Quotes
“If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him? If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses? …If he is reasonable, how can he be angry at the blind, to whom he has given the liberty of being unreasonable? … If he is inconceivable, why occupy ourselves with him? … and if he has spoken, why is the world not convinced?”
-Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
1 Comment | tags: agnostic, apologetics, argument, atheist, belief, God, theology | posted in Quotes
I am amused and somewhat confounded that when one contests a point-of-view and takes it to its end, the person who finds themselves cornered and apparently without the wherewithal to respond to questions and comments speaks out with a vengeance and declares the other person to lack civility and is a fool to boot.
My opinion about such things is that our educational system has not fulfilled its rightful role. Those who would call out another in a not-too-subtle manner as a “fool” etc., in most cases, have not been given a stage to present their thoughts for peer review. It is as if you can believe what you want as long as you are passionate enough about it to remain convinced. I find that approach to education wrong headed. Everyone should be given the opportunity to defend their position before their peers while having a person of authority, an instructor, also chime in with their years of experience and maturity. Are we too weak to call out defective thinking because it might hurt the little ones in their social interactions? Well, welcome to the real world.
Higher education is a place for trying out new ideas and getting the kind of feedback that benefits the presenter, shapes the message, even gives reason to re-think one’s position. I find that most of those who do not allow themselves to be challenged in a place of advanced education are unable to handle the emotional baggage that comes with being “outed” for poor style, as in name-calling.
Leave a comment | tags: apologetics, argument, civility, debate, education, name-calling | posted in Migrant Soul
For some time I have observed security to be described in terms of either black or white. Feeling safe is a right most contend they have been given while feeling unsafe is a threat few desire. What we think about is either safe or not safe. Sometimes it is in between. We gravitate toward those places and thoughts that make us feel safe and we do our best to avoid the discomfort of little or no security.
Many ideas have come to us from our parents and those we respect. These ideas become “grafted” into our unconscious. Assumptions about these truths are made and we live, for a time, without questioning them. The existence of Santa Claus and his reindeer are one of the first “facts” we are told. And, for most of us, that reality was as sure as anything else we were told. That is, until someone, perhaps an older sibling said there was no Santa Claus. That revealing statement became a troubling thought in our minds. At first, we denied it. Couldn’t be. No, Mom and Dad would not tell a lie. But then little things began to gnaw at our suspicions causing them to open like a festering wound that would not heal. The truth was unwelcome and inconvenient.
Truth works like that especially when a respected person, usually a parent, shares the “truth” with you. It becomes very difficult to give up the “truth” when it comes from such high authority as an all-knowing and invincible parent. Giving up Santa is like giving up a parent, a very difficult proposition.
Given the fact that other cultures have alternative Santa Claus figures that best fit their belief systems, one begins to wonder if a universal truth exists. There is no doubt that many believe a universal truth to be true but proof is very difficult to produce. There is no proof. One accepts Santa Claus stories on faith since the persons promoting the idea have a credible role as parent or adult.
If I were born in Utah chances are I would be a Mormon. If I was raised in Egypt I would be Islamic, and if I was born in Thailand I would probably be convinced that Buddhism was my religious identity. Much of our religious identity has to do with where we were born and to whom we were born.
So, when someone questions religious identities people begin to feel insecure. Their protection and security is threatened. People fear there might be a mistake and so to protect their beliefs they tend to lash out in defense. Some religions will even threaten anyone who believes differently. Some even threaten death. People are in danger of losing their reputation or life over a belief that they might be considered an atheist or unbeliever. Many pin their hopes on religion to assist them through some of the darkest things people experience. It doesn’t matter where their hope comes from it just matters that they are given something to believe. If you don’t believe as others do some begin to crush those ideas and exclude them from being part of the group. One can feel secure while observing most everyone else believing as they do while those who believe otherwise are made to feel outside the group. It is as if the person who does not believe as others do is made to pay for their independent thinking. Serious questions are raised that cause others to feel insecure. Better to shut down those who question the “truth” than to find cogent arguments to preserve a way of living no matter how little proof exists. As a result, one feels secure because the person who has legitimate questions is thought to have been vanquished. No proof, only a need to find security. Don’t prove me wrong, don’t even question. After all, if you have faith you have all you need. Or, do you?
Leave a comment | tags: identity, Religion, truth | posted in Migrant Soul
Having seen the face of threat, certifying and hiring boards grinding out devastation, a person listens with an ear for gossip knowing my work was tested and my place questioned. Who are you that lives with you? Is it really you or could it be a phantom soul skidding notoriously into my view with clandestine motives. It matters little as the damage is nearly complete to reputation and character. The hoax is real, the play is the thing.
Leave a comment | tags: abuse, agnostic, atheist, authenticity, change, character, hoax, practice, Religion, reputation | posted in Migrant Soul
Many believe those who espouse an opposing view are attacking them. This fear, called “reality” by the “attacked”, is a disorder that disables levelheaded communication while granting the anxiety prone person a substantive argument to continue their paranoid thinking. It is a circuitous syndrome playing on its own fears. Anxiety, as viewed by the psychological practitioner, is the core of mental health or ill health. How one deals, or doesn’t deal, with doom-laden fears and apprehensions will manifest itself in delusional thinking and continued anxiety then take root in paranoid extremism. Though one can relieve one’s self of mild anxiety, if not addressed, it can lead to repetitive circles of anxious fears feeding on themselves. Anxiety can grow and often does as it mixes with delusional and paranoid thinking.
The political scene amply illustrates the various states of paranoia. Neither side is immune to the insidious nature of the disorder. And, because the person is paranoid, it is always someone or something else that is the cause of their frustrations and outbursts, not themselves. There are fewer disorders more difficult to understand than this one. It is the source of much frustration between people, especially when discussing delicate but important distinctions in politics and religion.
There are no simple cures for this disorder. Understanding or avoiding “hot” topics that bring the disorder to the fore are about all the average person can do. The unfortunate result of this approach leaves the person with little of importance to discuss while adding to their perception that they are alone in their reality.
Leave a comment | tags: anxiety, mental illness, paranoia, politics | posted in Migrant Soul
There are “novel” ideas to consider when seeking answers. I would not call them novel nor refer to them as “by no stretch of the imagination novel,” but so be it. I get your point. And, I take courage that my co-thinkers are Jewish, left-wing or Democrat. My primary reason for identifying myself as a Liberal has to do with my investment in people. Anything that enhances the life of the general population is my interest. It matters little if it is government funded or not as the government is us. Balancing the equation between the “have’s” and “have-not’s” is my desire. That takes government intervention because we cannot and will not do it on our own. (Wall St. being the ultimate example of capitalism gone mad.) There are always going to be those who work the system be they Democrat or Republican. I know that. But the free enterprise model has created money monsters who take but do not give. The last ten years have to be an embarrassment to the crowd that calls themselves Capitalists. I could go on. (Is Blood in/on the streets the only answer?)
Leave a comment | tags: capitalists, democracy, democrat, free enterprise, ideas, liberal, republican | posted in Uncategorized
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. . . . Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find inducements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you.”
—-Thomas Jefferson, third President of the US
Leave a comment | tags: argument, atheist, christian, God | posted in Quotes
One of the conundrums of religion is the sad but real fact that many people of faith have little tolerance for those without faith. In other words, there appears to be a lot of hate going around. Why does this happen? It is my view that any form of atheism and agnosticism are perceived as a threat to the religious. After all, if one believes they are strong in their faith and a question about their faith appears unanswerable, who wouldn’t begin to wonder and speculate about the foundations of their faith? It happens to everyone. At this point the only thing left to do for a person without an answer is to resort to “faith” as faith gets by with little or no logical formation for it to exist. While this debate could be productive it is stopped cold in its tracks when arguing from logic or supposition. The subsequent “disliking” of faithless non-believers usually takes the form of distancing one’s self from the logician. If you remain distant from the cause of discomfort then discomfort does not have to consciously exist nor do inconvenient reminders of one’s irrational faith and logic. All one needs to do is stay away from its cause. In the short term this works but in the longer view one must take ever stronger and stronger measures to counteract the possibility that logical thoughts of others are the cause of many fears and anxieties.
There are a number of tools we have at our disposal to manage the questions and subsequent anxiety about religion. We could talk it out, try to understand it, we could rationalize it to ourselves, ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist, run away from it, and get angry. Anger, minimizing, ignoring and exclusion appear to be the most frequently used tools to deal with what is not acceptable thinking or questioning about one’s faith. That is why there is so much religious hostility in the world. Too often the mantra of those with clear-cut but unprovable religious mandates espouse something like the following statement: “If you don’t believe as I do, I will (kill, hurt, ostracize, label, etc. [fill in the blank]) you!” Nations often take up arms against each other because of one’s beliefs. These nations are often driven by religious ideations and are no different than an individual. Taking up word weaponry to prove one is wrong or to hurt another is not uncommon. Most war efforts are driven by fear and/or anger. In order for one to avoid confrontation or lose a word war we resort to hostile statements while ostracizing the offender. The result is rage, intolerance and isolation. The tendency to isolate one who thinks differently than we do is born of a lack of understanding of both one’s own views and that of others. Of course this works both ways.
The irony in all of this is that many religious types claim to be concerned about the behaviors and thinking of those whose views run contrary to theirs. Yet, when pushed to understand that of another an impenetrable wall arises and communication is severely thrashed. This is an unfortunate result of closed minds, minds that will not consider the views of another when a position runs contrary to theirs. The need to perpetuate their thinking brings a kind of comfort outlasting that of logic. A place of disgrace lingers in the background as a person of faith will surely find themselves placed should they ask the wrong questions or betray their growing lack of faith in their religious culture.
Integrity is at the heart of most religions and expressions of faith. Therefore, it seems only right that a person of faith who is seeking to be a person of integrity would be willing to open up their faith questions and those of others with an approach that questions with honesty, fairness and reasonableness and not hostility, isolation, shunning and ridicule.
Leave a comment | tags: apologetics, argument, atheism, atheist, belief, christian, Christianity, Conservative, Religion, theology, war, words | posted in Migrant Soul