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?

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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.

 

Muslims in Britain – 4.8% of the population – are the scare stories with foundation?

2.7m Muslims in England and Wales – 4.8% of population

  • 33% aged 15 or under
  • 68% of Asian descent
  • 8% are of white ethnicity
  • 47% born in Britain, 36% in the Middle East and Asia
  • 6% say they are struggling to speak English
  • 37% of Muslims live in London
  • 20% are in full-time employment (compared to 35% of the general population)

 


The report shows that while 47% of Muslims in England and Wales were born in the UK, 73% state their only national identity is British, and only 6% of Muslims say they are struggling to speak English.

Support for the research was provided by the race equality think tank the Runnymede foundation, whose director Omar Khan argues the report is important in making it clear to the public that Muslims do not have a problem with “British values” or identifying with Britain.

“It nails some significant myths about Muslims,” said Mr Khan, “The number of Muslims – which is often exaggerated, how proud Muslims are to be British, how well they fit in and the narrative around British values. They’re proud to call themselves British, don’t have allegiances to other countries in any major way and they don’t have any confusion around where their identity lies.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31435929

Male Circumscision – is it Child Abuse?

We have no problem whatsoever in declaring that female circumcision is child abuse. If a parent allows their female child to be mutilated then most civilised people would shout loudly that it is wrong.

It does not matter if the parents erroneously believe that it is a religious practice.

Religious practices are not above the law.

Some religious practice declares that it is not only alright, but an absolute mandate from god, to take the life of a nonbeliever. It is never right.

Some religious belief declares that it is right for a wife to throw herself on the funeral pyre of her husband.

Female circumcision is an abuse. It is wrong. It is illegal. It never should happen.

Neither should male circumcision be allowed. It is nowhere near as bad as female mutilation but it is the same principle. A child should not be subjected to such a mutilation unless there is a sound medical reason.

That child should be free to make that decision for themselves when they are old enough to understand. I would suggest that sixteen is such an age.

Under the age of sixteen I believe that imposing religion on children is wrong; I believe that mutilating children against their will is wrong.

The Religious Madness Merry-Go-Round.

So another religious Muslim fanatic leaves a bomb on an underground train with the intent of blowing up innocent Christians. They planned it and put the bomb together with the intent of murdering and maiming as many people as possible in the name of god.

The Myanmar Muslim Rohingyas are being massacred by militant Buddhists in a new bout of ethnic cleansing with hundreds of thousands driven from their homes, the torching of villages, shooting, rapes and pillaging. There are bodies lying in the rivers.

The Sunni Muslims are blowing up Shia Muslims and vice versa, targeting mosques and markets. Hundreds of thousands have been massacred and they all believe in the same god.

Religious schools, Madrassas and Jewish and Hindu and Buddhist and Christian schools take in the children to indoctrinate.

Atheist bloggers are hacked to death in India for suggesting religion is nuts.

The Jews and Muslims in Israel are shooting and knifing each other on a daily basis – year after year.

The fanatical Hindu extremists are attacking Muslims in India with clubs and machetes.

Christian priests abuse young children.

Saudi Arabia and Iran continue their power struggles to establish their version of Islam through proxy wars and terrorism.

The fanatical Muslim Taliban are attacking other Muslims in Afghanistan.

The fanatical ISIS are practicing genocide on the Yazidi Christians, taking sex slaves, killing and raping.

The Christians are, or have been, bombing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Sudan.

Fundamentalist Islamic Boko Haram are on the rampage in Nigeria.

There are many more examples of persecution, intolerance, violence and evil. They all claim to have the only truth, to serve the right god and that all the others are wrong. They claim they have divine right to kill, maim, rape and pillage, to take land and impose their beliefs on others. They are all mad. They are all part of the great Religious Madness Merry-Go-Round.

Buddhist, Jew, Christian, Hindu and Muslim – all on the never ending merry-go-round of hatred, revenge, genocide and ethnic cleansing – all wanting to impose their views on the world – all insisting they are right and all others are wrong. Where does it end?

Well it seems to me, from outside as an atheist, that they can’t all be right. If there is a god, which I do not believe, there is surely only one and she would be the god of all. So why do some believe that she demands fasting, costume, diet, prayer and rites, while others insist of a totally different set of costume, rites, diet? Doesn’t it make a stupidity of it all? Isn’t it obvious that all these religions are man-made?

We need to get off the merry-go-round. Spread the love.