Anecdote – Buddha and god

Anecdote – Buddha and god

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Buddha and god

As an antitheist I do not believe there is a god, certainly not one who has created man in his own image or who is concerned with the lives of men. I see no evidence of the universe having been created by some super being; neither do I see evidence of intelligent design around me. If man is made by divine hands then they are clumsy hands indeed. I myself can think of many great improvements to the human form – perfection it isn’t. No. The more I learn the less I am convinced. What I see is religion of all types constructed by man.

Yet I do perceive the possibility of some mystical force at work, some force present in sunsets, rocks, trees and majestic views that I would call ‘wonder and awe’. I do also sense a force at work within the psychology of people creating synchronicity. I, much to Andrew’s disgust, refer to this as the prevailing zeitgeist. I tend to think that this mental emanation will at some point be recognised by science. But maybe I am wrong. Science is in its infancy. It has much to discover. The field of consciousness and psychology is too new to have yielded all its secrets. The future will likely reveal a lot more.

Even as a young man, when I was a spiritual zealot, eager to follow in Kerouac and Ginsberg’s wake, to gain satori and see the universe through the eyes of Zen, I was sceptical of god and derisory of the god of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. His many faces seemed absurd.

I was greatly moved by a tale told to me by a Thai monk called Vorosak Candimitto. As a young man, besotted with Kerouac and Ginsberg, I was on a personal exploration into spirituality, the mind, mysticism and the void. I tried meditation and tried to still my mind to discover that truth within. I enjoyed it but soon moved on. Eastern meditation seemed inappropriate to the life I was leading. I wanted instant nirvana or nothing. That’s Western mentality for you. As for religion and god – this is what Vorosak told me: –

‘One day the Buddha was sitting with a number of learned men. One asked of him:

‘Is there a god?’

The Buddha thought hard before replying.

‘If you were shot with an arrow which had pierced your side, before having the arrow removed by a physician and the wound treated, would you first enquire who had fired the arrow? To what family did he belong? To what caste? Where did they come from? How many members did the family have? From what trees were the bow and arrow fashioned? From what animal were the guts for the bowstring created? Where the metal for the tip had been mined? Who had shaped the tip? From what bird had the feathers for the flights been plucked and who had manufactured them? Likewise the glue to hold them secure?’

The Buddha looked at the wise man intently.

‘Before you have the answers to your questions you would be dead.’

I liked that parable.

At the end of the days it is not about what you believe, how you’ve prayed, whether there is a god or not – it is about how you’ve lived your life, whether you’ve lived it to the maximum and whether you’ve been a force for good or evil.

No sane person would believe that any god would build a wondrous universe and then expect his creations to bore themselves to death in prayer and ritual, hate others and kill in his name. That is straight out of men’s warped minds (men – generic). If there is a god (which I do not believe for one minute) he would want you to live, love, build and enjoy.

So ISIS and all religious nutcases, indoctrinated fools and evangelical idiots can go hang – I’m for life.

My beliefs – Faith Schools – How about if we had Fascist and Communist Schools?

My beliefs – Faith Schools – How about if we had Fascist and Communist Schools?

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I do not believe any faith schools, Sunday schools or madrassas should be allowed by law.

I believe indoctrinating children with religion or politics is an abuse. It should be a crime.

There are many religions and institutes that are dying to get their hands on our children and fill their heads with dogma. As the Jesuits used to say ‘give me a child until the age of seven and I’ll give you the man’. Unfortunately that is true. Once the impressionable minds have been poisoned with pernicious ideology they can never break free. They are stuck with it for life.

I believe children should be free to develop. They should not be indoctrinated.

I believe parents should bring up their children in a moral background with love, tolerance and equality as the basis. They should be taught to respect all people, races, faiths and creeds.

I believe schools should concern themselves with educating children, not indoctrinating them. Religion should be taught as a subject which covers all religions factually, never giving credibility or weight to one over another. I believe atheism and humanism should be part of that curriculum and given equal weight.

I believe assemblies should never be religious. They should be moral.

I believe that when a child reaches adulthood – I would suggest at sixteen- their brains are sufficiently developed for them to handle concepts as weighty as belief. Only then should they be subjected to religious belief.

I think that is people substituted politics for religion and we had communist or fascist schools set up to instil their dogma into our children we, as a society, might have a view. For me religion is even more pervasive and pernicious.

Poetry – The fanatic with no doubt – a poem against hatred.

The fanatic with no doubt

If it is written it must be true. It justifies everything.

All you have to do is select the correct texts.

With a little effort you can justify anything.

It is written down. It must be true.

It gives sanction to your every whim, every hidden urge.

It frees the psychotic to act.

How they flood to become involved, to get a slice of the action.

Public executions were ever most popular. The more agony the better.

There is a part of us that delights in the pain of others. If it wasn’t so we would not have invented bear-baiting, cock-fighting, badger-baiting, hare-coursing and snuff movies.

We are a cruel species.

We have a lot of civilizing to go through.

We find it so easy to justify our baser instincts. We wrap them up in religion, sport and entertainment.

What we love are screams and blood.

We have a lot to do to become more humane.

But if it is written it must be true!

I want a better world for my children. One that is less savage, less hating, more empathic and with much more love, peace and kindness.

Less fanatics would be a good start. Doubt is good.

 

The fanatic with no doubt

Line them up

Shoot them in the head.

Lie them down

Shoot them in the back.

Kneel them down

Saw through their throats.

Put them in a cage

Burn them.

If they are young

Rape them.

If they are old

Bury them alive.

 

There is no doubt.

It is written.

 

Opher 24.11.2015

Belief? What is it? Where does it come from? What use is it?

Belief? What is it? Where does it come from? What use is it?

Zeus.

Belief

What is this thing we call belief? Where does it come from? Why do we need it?

 

I cannot help thinking that if I had been brought up in Saudi Arabia I would be a Sunni Muslim, if in Iran a Shia Muslim, if in India a Hindu, if in Brazil a Christian Catholic and if in Mississippi a Protestant Christian.

 

If I had been born in Greece a few thousand years ago I would have worshipped Zeus as the god of all gods. If I had lived in Britain three thousand years ago it might have been the Green Man or the Sun. If in Egypt it might have been Isis.

 

I could list a thousand Gods and Goddesses that mankind has worshipped, sacrificed to, prayed to and beseeched. The forgotten Gods and Goddesses are ten times as numerous.

 

Belief is built into our genes.

 

I am fortunate. I was brought up in a loving family with no attempt to indoctrinate me into any religious belief or political persuasion. I was left to investigate myself. My adolescent obsessions with mysticism and belief were tolerated without opposition or ridicule. I was left to think.

 

I went through my ‘religious phase’ and came to the belief that all religion originated in the minds of men, prayer was pointless and worship a psychological prop.

 

I believe that religious belief is mankind’s attempt to come to terms with an infinite universe, the mystery of life and death and a purpose for what we do. It comes from a psychological need and a brain that is hard-wired to seek patterns, purpose and a reason. We cannot understand a system with no beginning, no end and no reason.

 

Do we need belief? No I don’t think so. We can create our own purpose and appreciate the wonder and awe around us. But I do think that belief has played a large part in our development as social beings. It has enabled us to live together in large groups – much larger than that of tribes. It has provided the social cohesion that holds large numbers of people together. I think that is its primary aim. So perhaps we do need belief?

 

We certainly do not need religion in order to have morality. We can make a far better code of human rights without the hypocrisy and contradictions present in all religions with their obscure pronouncements. We can make a clear code of ethics without the ambiguities.

 

We can do without belief. Perhaps we have evolved enough to start to do without? Or perhaps we can create some belief system that we can all subscribe to that is based on awe and wonder, contains a strong moral cohesion with aspirations and something to strive towards and is not divisive, fear-ridden or prescriptive? Maybe a cross between the UN Charter of Human Rights and a love of nature?

My Granddad’s notes – Chief White Eagle’s lessons Pt. 5

All the while I am typing this out I am thinking of the grandfather I knew and wondering how he managed to recite this. It is nothing like the man I remember – but I was only fourteen when I last saw him. He was probably in his sixties – I’ll have to check on that.

All the while the spirit is energising the body the field is kept well inflated and is your means of attraction to material life. In fact it is a most essential factor to life for according to the mineral cells your body holds so the field corresponds in light bodies. For instance if your earthly body has a 1000 cells of chalk or lime then the field will possess a corresponding number of cells to match.

 

The growth and expansion of your body can only take place through your mind. When you are sick your mind is the healer. If you attract to your mind a thought of dislike to any food or mineral then the body is upset and the stomach is made to vomit. If you like a thing by your mind then your body is in harmony and thrives upon it. Sickness, man’s greatest sin, is always from his mind unable to work with the field because it is choked with colour that does not belong there. If your mind is true and vibrating proper thought then and then only sickness cannot prevail. The spirit, the minds, the body are individually yours and your responsibility in all that they do. Reaching out from its own self to sow its own seed and reap its own harvest; to trespass, to steal another man’s seed can only bring sickness and unhappiness in the long run. How often have we heard the Lord’s Prayer forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us? Every brother and sister trespasses against each other through lack of understanding.

 

It is only through lessons that you are enabled to unravel the great weaving of life and that which appeared to you a mystery is clearly shown. The Great Spirit is omnipresent, ever waiting to help you and guide you, to comfort you in your every task, but remember you must attune to him and allow the real you to be guided by him for without him we are lost.

 

Beloved, I have built for you a picture of man according to my awakening, man as I perceive him upon my own consciousness. Each man is different from each other, some are near alike but not identical, even to the prints of his flesh you will see there is a difference. Yet we shall all progress to like one day, for we shall all pass through the same states of evolution to the same thought, the same love and light.

The Truth – a poem

The Truth – a poem

 

Boko Haram, ISIS, Taliban –

The name changes

The crimes are the same.

 

Religious fanaticism

Goes by many names

And is always the same.

 

Holy books and word of god

In many different forms

With Kalashnikov and HE.

 

Righteous fury,

Bottled hate,

Promise of reward.

Tomorrow never comes.

 

Opher 28.10.2018

 

 

The world is full of fanatics.

Spirituality is a personal thing. Inflicting it on others is deplorable!

Murder is murder.

I wish I believed in god then I know they’d be punished.

They promise heaven but they deliver hell.

Heaven is always tomorrow and that never comes. Ain’t that the truth!!

The Story of Religion

The Story of Religion

Once upon a time there was god. He came from nowhere spontaneously, or was always there. He existed, all powerful, in the midst of nothing for all time. He was powerful beyond all human understanding. He was also inherently kind and loving.
He decided that he would make the whole universe of more galaxies than the human mind could comprehend and so he did.
He thought it and it came into being out of nothing, just like he himself had done before.
He made the whole universe, with its zillions of galaxies, each made of trillions of stars, just so that he could place some humans on a small planet in an average galaxy that was in itself completely insignificant.
These humans were the focus of everything. They were the purpose for the existence of the whole universe and gave god a purpose too.
He gave them free will but warned them that if they did not obey his instructions and commands to the letter, (despite the fact that he was loving and kind), he would cast them into everlasting agony. But then he told them that if they did obey his every demand to the last full stop, they would have everlasting joy in heaven – for god had a purpose and a plan for them that was beyond their understanding.
Then god proceeded to allow different versions of his often confusing and contradictory instructions to be distributed to different people in different parts of the world all purporting to be the only truth – the holy word of god.
It created fear and confusion but god did not interfere.
Some people believed that god was manifest in rocks, trees, sun and moon, while others believed that he was a series of gods and goddesses living in the sky, while others thought he was three and some that he was one.
The only thing they all agreed on was that all the other versions were wrong, heretical and evil and had to be eradicated; that any deviation from the word of the script was to be punished with death.
The different tribes fought and killed in the name of their own god. They fiercely brought up their children to believe in their version and fight fiercely in his name. They were determined to enforce the version of the rules they had been given.
God watched as they butchered, slaughtered, sacrificed and tortured.
He had an unknowable plan.
Perhaps the suffering and death was all part of it?
It would all work out in the end. All the tribes had faith – different faith – but faith none the less.
God did nothing to intervene – not a word.
He had given humanity the universe, a place of wonder and awe, created out of nothing, but he was nowhere to be seen, doing nothing.
This is the story of religion.
It all makes perfect sense to me.

The Purpose of Life – Religion and Hardwiring.

I believe that to an extent religion is hardwired into our brains through evolution. We have evolved intelligence. Our success is our ability to see patterns and solve problems. There is a purpose to everything. That works great with hunter gathering. It enables us to work with the patterns of seasons and weather, to see the patterns of behaviour in predators and prey, to find water, to seek out fruits, berries and plants, to make tools, invent things and develop knowledge and technology.

This problem solving ability has enabled us to become masters of science and technology to the point where we are actually not only the predominant species but we are actually changing the whole planet. This is now the Anthropocene. Science and technology, stemming from our intelligence, our ability to see patterns and solve problems, has brought us control over our environment and all creatures. It has brought us agriculture and civilisation and enabled us to prosper in huge numbers – now pushing 8 Billion.

It falls down when confronted with the big questions that there are no answers for. Such as what is this immense universe? Where did it come from? What is life? Where did it come from? Am I immortal?

As I said at the beginning – we are hardwired to provide answers. We do not have answers to these and other such questions. They are too immense for our puny brains. Those brains have evolved to solve more mundane, practical problems. But that does not stop us from searching for answers and providing answers.

Early man was subjected to the vagaries of nature. If they could not find food through hunting or their crops failed because of unseasonal weather they starved.

They worshipped things such as the sun which gave life. They thought they could control it, appease the god they had created and performed rituals to please her. They performed rituals to produce rain, to have a good hunt, to harvest crops, for fertility, health and prosperity. They had holy men who could converse with the gods they had created. They invented explanations for the world, the sequence of life and death, creation myths and morality stories. They created reasons for when things went wrong and how they could put them right. They created fascinating tales of the afterlife to remove fear of death – death that was so prevalent.

They held great ceremonies, pageants and developed elaborate sacrifices and costumes. They built pyramids, temples and powerful spectacle.

The bigger and more lavish the greater the ease in believing in the story.

Through time these religions grew in sophistication and adapted as our knowledge of the universe and life grew. We see this with Christianity. In the beginning Hell was under the ground, Heaven was just above the firmament, the heavens were a dome. The stars chinks in that dome letting through the light of god, the sun rotated around the earth. As our knowledge grew these concepts were changed. We no longer look for hell under the ground or burn people for saying the earth goes round the sun.

We still cling on to the supernatural explanations though. Our minds have evolved to require answers. We still need to believe there is a purpose. Even in the face of no evidence we cling to the supernatural answers we find satisfying. They give us the assurance of order, purpose and answer our questions. They are much more psychologically satisfying than to accept there are no reasons, no order and no purpose. The universe just is. Life is an accident. We have a life and that is it. The only reasons we have are the ones we sort out for ourselves.

But I reckon that it is best to face up to the truth and accept it as it is. I see no evidence of god, an afterlife or a purpose for life.

Best to get on with it and enjoy it while we can. All we have is now. Let’s try to make this wonderful experience as good as we can make it, wring as much love, fun, creativity and pleasure out of it as we can and make the planet as good as we can make it for everybody else and all living things. That’s fulfilment enough for me.

Is there a God? Some thoughts and questions.

Is there a god who created the universe? Perhaps one who created the big bang and then left it to get on with things? Or one who created the universe and life and is involved with how it develops?

Now that is the nub of the matter. Put aside all the religious books that were so obviously (to me) written by man and one still has the major questions about creation. How did the universe come out of nothing? That is something that is beyond our comprehension (not surprising really with our tiny brains and limited intelligence). Did god create it? Is there a god?

For me it is obvious – there is not.

For me the very idea of a creator is such a human concept and merely kicks the can further down the road. It creates more unknowns than it answers:

We humans cannot conceive of something coming from nothing.

We solve this by having a superbeing who is capable of creating everything from nothing.

What does that solve? Nothing as far as I can see!

How logical is it? Not logical at all to me!

Is there any evidence for this superbeing? None whatsoever in my view.

We still have a universe created out of nothing.

We now have a superbeing who has come from nowhere with the ability to create whole universes. How much more incredible is that than what we had in the first place? It just poses a whole series of other questions:

Where did this superbeing come from?

Who created him?

Did he arise out of nothing spontaneously?

He has to be even more incredible than the universe doesn’t he? How can that happen? – – The spontaneous creation of a amazingly complicated god with stupendous powers out of nothing?

Or has he always been there forever? Just think about that for a moment and see if that makes sense.

What was his motive in creating the universe?

Where was he before the universe was created?

It certainly doesn’t make any sense to me. It sounds like a human construct to explain the unknowable, nothing more.

What do you think?

My Best Antitheist Books – Please Take a Look!!

I have written a number of books about religion. I do not think religion has been a positive force in human history. I believe it to be a fiction created by man to try to explain the mystical, spiritual and unknown aspects of the universe, life and death.

They are, in my opinion, mysteries that are not captured by the dogma of any religions. All religions have been used for power, hate and accruing of wealth. They are not among man’s best ideas.

These are my best Antitheist Books:

 

In the UK:

 

The Antitheists Dictionary

 

A humorous set of definitions of religious terms.

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/books/book-detail-page?ie=UTF8&bookASIN=B00MOLZLE8&index=default&pn=irid82031849

 

The Book of Ginny

 

A novel about a religious cult.

 

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/books/book-detail-page?ie=UTF8&bookASIN=B00MW8IHUS&index=default&pn=irid82031849

 

In the USA:

 

The Antitheist’s Dictionary

 

A humorous set of definitions of religious terms

 

https://www.amazon.com/Antitheists-Dictionary-Opher-Goodwin-ebook/dp/B00MOLZLE8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531382684&sr=1-1&keywords=Opher+Goodwin

 

The Book of Ginny

 

A novel about a religious cult.