05/04/06 11:17 - ID#22041
Why do we act this way? It is a sign of what we have come to value in society. Some of us cringe and run for cover because we want to protect the array of electronic equipment we carry. Otherâ€™s cringe to protect their vanity; be it make-up, hair, or clothing. I am not, as many others are, against these two reasons. I have no problem with people who wish to protect their investments in communications, and image; it is all perfectly reasonable.
The problem that I do see though is our inability to let go. Even when we have our equipment firmly secured in our waterproof bags, and we are not dressed to kill; still even then we cringe because we cannot let go, we do not relax. In a world of increasing complexity and ever more demanding responsibilities, we must learn to relax.
Ask yourself when you see the rain coming down; do I have to run this time? Is it really going to hurt my clothes to get wet on a spring or summer day? If not, take the time to let go. Learning to walk in the rain and coming to accept being wet, takes time. The whole point of rain walking is releasing the habit of cringing, of realizing that you are safe in the rain, and that it is not your enemy. It is a practice of active awareness, of brining yourself to break with ingrained reactions, of knowing if the reasons for your actions are founded or not.
01/27/06 11:17 - ID#22036
My Atheist Life:
I don't believe in God. God is a dangerous hindrance in our lives, born of primal fear, that impedes scientific inquiry, technological advancement, but most alarmingly it impedes our intellectual growth as individual human beings. In my life I have believed faithfully in many conceptions of God under a few different religions. Reviewing these experiences will make it clear that each of them lead me to live a life in contradiction with both reality and my best interests.
The earliest memories of my being Catholic are filled with horrifying images and an unexplained sense of guilt, like when my grandfather kissed the bloody feet of a statue of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross and a feeling that the crucifixion was somehow my fault swept over my mind. It began as a normal Sunday but it was shaken when I asked why we had to go to church. The answer was sharp; in retrospect this was because I was acting up a bit, and it sent my young mind into a spin of confusion. "We go to church," my grandmother said, "because we must say we are sorry for the sins we have committed against God." The implications were shocking to my young mind but it set the tone for many years to come. Jesus had died for my sins and somehow that was my fault. What could I do to right this wrong of so long ago?
The doctrine of original sin, more accurately described as the doctrine of undeserved guilt, is a horrible thing to saddle a child with at a young age. Yet it is the basis of the first rites given to a child. You are told from day one that you were born evil, that your life itself is intrinsically bad, and that you must live a life of atonement for this sin. When I accepted this guilt I did so because I knew no better, but I did so at the peril of my view on the world. This unearned guilt drove me to view reality as a malevolent object, caused me to view my own life as an affront to what was truly good: the image of a dying man staked to a cross.
As the years passed this guilt drove me away from The Church and into a new religious outlook, Occultism. I was searching for an escape from this malevolent world and hoped to find it in the ancient volumes of the occult. As a Catholic I was primed for a belief in the supernatural, but as an occultist I sought it out; yearned to find it to the point of self-delusion. Convinced of my ability to discover ghosts I sought them out in an active train tunnel, in Western Massachusetts where many hundreds of workers died in the 19th century. Walking around in the dark, four-mile long tunnel I thought I was suddenly able to hear them. It was then that I discovered what faith was all about: it is a dumb boy standing in an active train tunnel looking to understand the ineffable by staring into nothingness until the train comes...
Faith is a blindness that no individual can afford to contract for very long or live with consistently because our very survival depends on our interaction with reality and use of reason. There is no choice more destructive for a human being than to choose not to think and to believe on faith. All across the world today people choose to deny the provable benefits of western vaccinations because of their religious faiths. Their children are crippled by, or die of, diseases we haven't seen in half a century because their faith in superstition causes them to live in contradiction with the reality of western medications. As I stood against the tunnel wall, with a speeding train ten inches from my face, I realized faith could get you killed.
When I chose to live my life as an Atheist I did so not because I wanted to be different, but because I lived through the real dangers of theistic life both psychologically and physically. Theistic belief hindered my growth as an individual. I beat my primal fear of the dark unknown by holding up the candle of skeptical inquiry and realizing that God is a shadow and no more. When I finally chose to shrug these chains I found I was able to live my life freely. No longer impeded by unearned guilt or baseless faith, I was finally able to grow as an individual.
01/23/06 08:32 - ID#22029
He wrote the following in responce to my "We Only Have Each Other" Post:
Respect everyone's life and how they want to live it! Oh, and if you believe in God, I am going to do exactly the opposite of what I just proclaimed in statement one.
By what authority do you speak, sir? Is the Government our God?
The argument that you attribute to me in your response is not the argument I set forward in the two paragraphs of my post. I will explain where perhaps my clumsy use of language might has lead you astray. First, your second sentence because it corresponds with what I said first.
You wrote: "Oh, and if you believe in God, I am going to do exactly the opposite of what I just proclaimed in statement one."
My first point is that we only have each other. That is to say that all that there is, at this point, is we humans on planet earth. My second point is that we often use creations like God, Groups, and Government to justify our infringements on each other's right to life. That is, we say things like, "They do not believe in The God, Our God, A God, so we are justified in killing them." "We are in the majority so we can take away the rights of the minority." Things like God, Groups, and Government, have become tools for attacking and justifying the attacks on individual rights. This is usually because there is an inherent belief that individuals are the property of these things. That is, that you belong to God, the group, or the government, and that you should therefore do as they wish. You do not belong to any of those three, individuals belong to themselves. You own you, and only you. My last point in the first paragraph is that taking into account that you own yourself, and realizing that we only have each other here on earth to trade with, and so on, is the foundation of any real social order. That is to say that we need to work from the basic building block of a society to create order, which is the individual, not god, the group, or the government.
Secondly, your first sentence, in which you wrote: "Respect everyone's life and how they want to live it!"
I would like to point out that I did not say what you said above. I said that we should respect each other's right to live our lives. You added on the "and how they want to live it!" The difference between what I said and what you said is vast.
What I said is that we should respect the idea that "you own yourself, and only yourself" as the basis of the social order. What I said is that you cannot justify making slaves of others through God, Groups, or Government, because to do so would presume that the lives of those people belong to something other than themselves.
What you said is that we should respect everyone's life and how they want to live it. This would mean that if someone chose to live their life by making slaves of others, that we would have to say "Oh, but how unfortunate they are a tyrant, we must respect their choice to enslave though." That is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that if you do not respect the idea that a person belongs to themselves, and only themselves. You cannot truly expect others to do the same for you. That is, if you choose to become a tyrant, or a murderer, you should not expect people to extend you the respect of the social order. Why? Because your actions are not in line with the basis of the social order.
Now I would like to address what I believe you see as the implication of my writing. As I am an atheist you might think that I believe that if you believe in God that you should be refused the respect of the social order, or killed. That is not what I am putting forward in my two paragraphs.
If you choose to believe in God, Goblins, or Green Men of Mars, I would not care. I would not agree with you. I would argue that you were absurd. But I would never argue that you should be killed, because that would not respect the basis of the social order, the idea that you own yourself. If you used your belief in God to enslave or otherwise infringe upon others right to the same thing... then, as I said above, you cannot expect the same respect.
01/21/06 10:55 - ID#22028
We Only Have Each Other
Ignoring other individual's right to live their life, by believing that they are a slave for you, God, or Society; is believing that there is ground where there is only air. It is most likely that you will hit the ground one day soon, and as you lay dying by the hands of your former slaves, you will open your willfully ignorant eyes to find that you have actually been falling for some many years. You might ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" The answer is that you have forgotten the simple truth, that we only have each other, and that we only have that much so long as we prudently respect each others lives.
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