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.

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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?

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.

Favourite Religious Quoutes gathered by Michael B.

Some of my favorite religion quotes:

“I have no faith in Faith, and don’t believe in Beliefs.”
Neal Peart

“The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God. I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do to their fellows, because it always coincides with their own desires.”
Susan B. Anthony

“One’s religion is whatever he is most interested in.”
J.M. Barrie

“Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses.”
Arthur C. Clarke

“Die Irreligiösen sind religiöser als sie selbst wissen, und die Religiösen sind’s weniger, als sie meinen.”
Translation: “The irreligious are more religious than they themselves know, and the religious are less so than they think.”
Franz Grillparzer

“The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him a ride.”
H.L. Mencken

Is religion defunct in this day and age?

The three Abrahamic religions started up way back in the dawn of time – in a time of medieval ignorance.

Judaism has its roots 3000 years ago.

Christianity 2000 years ago.

Islam 1500 years ago.

They originated in nomadic tribes of Arabs in a small area of the Middle East renowned for its many sects and religious fanatics.

They all claim that ‘God’ spoke to their originator when they were alone in a cave, up a mountain or in the wilderness – with no witnesses.

None of the originators wrote anything down.

The writings in the holy books were either accumulated from the prevailing genesis stories or myths or written down generations later from accounts passed down by word of mouth. Yet the adherents claim they are the exact word of God (despite the inconsistencies, obvious social context pertaining to that Arab culture, ambiguities and contradictions).

These holy words have been used as excuses to wage war, destroy the environment, justify all manner of obnoxious behaviour – including torture, misogyny, slavery and murder, and used to persecute whole races and vilify anyone who does not believe the same set of words.

These religions claim all manner of strange things from paradise/heaven, angels, cherubs, Satan/devil and Djinns to Hell – without a shred of evidence for any of it.

They used to say that the world was flat, that the sky was a black dome with holes in letting the light of God to shine through, that hell was under the ground, all plants and animals were created, that the universe was created for human beings, and that the earth was the centre of the universe. As our knowledge grew these notions were modified or abandoned. Religion moved the goalposts. They used to burn people for thinking differently.

I can see that religion is a comfort to many. The bereaved like to think of their loved ones safe somewhere nice after they die. People find death hard to face. There is comfort. The church provides a psychological prop for the needy. There are good things done. People like to believe in a caring God in the face of a world of atrocities and evil. The man rescued from the mine thanks God for his rescue (not the rescuers) while his tens of colleagues who perished had prayers unanswered. It is perverse. What did the perished do wrong? Where is there a shred of evidence that prayer worked? Or that there was a God who cared?

People need support and comfort in times of need. But can’t this support be better carried out by trained social workers, therapists, psychiatrists, counsellors and friends?

Nowadays if a man was to come into town claiming God had spoken to him he would likely not receive a good hearing and nobody would write his ramblings down.

Isn’t it time we left these outdated religions, and superstition, back in the medieval Dark Ages they were spawned in and moved on?

Isn’t religion defunct in these enlightened days?

Now spirituality – that is different.

The Antitheist’s Dictionary – The Age of Enlightenment/Age of reason

Another extract from the Antitheist’s Dictionary:

antitheists-dictionary

Age of Enlightenment/Age of Reason

This is simply the most important thing that has ever happened. It began as a philosophical movement in the mid eighteenth century, gathered pace and has changed the whole cultural landscape of the Western World for the better.

The premise for the Age of Reason/Enlightenment was to challenge ideas based on tradition or religion and move to a system based on reason and scientific method. This inevitably took religion out of controlling people and introduced the present secular states.

As soon as this happened we experienced rapid progress. In contrast those cultures still ruled by religious superstition continued to stagnate.

I do not make the case that everything is hunky-dory. That is far from the case. In many ways the Age of Enlightenment heralded all sorts of moral and social problems that we are still battling to address today. It has unleashed a chaotic state. This needs addressing. Religion gave people structure and purpose even if that was madness and stupidity. Freedom from religion has left many people directionless and aimless with only hedonism to fall back on. I’ve nothing against hedonism but ultimately it is vacuous. What is necessary is for the State to provide purpose and impetus before the fanatics of religion rise up to fill that hole.

Politicians have so far not been particularly inspiring in this direction. They had better get their act together. The alternative could be religious oppression and the thought of that is dire.

However the writers, artists, poets, dancers, musicians and other creative folk have been doing a great job in making life worthwhile and filling the hole religion used to occupy. Long may they do it!

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Antitheists-Dictionary-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1500821144/ref=sr_1_52?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480180015&sr=1-52&keywords=opher

My other books:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1480180130&sr=1-2-ent

In the USA:

https://www.amazon.com/Antitheists-Dictionary-Opher-Goodwin-ebook/dp/B00MOLZLE8/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480180201&sr=1-5&keywords=opher+goodwin

My other books:

https://www.amazon.com/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1480180201&sr=1-2-ent

I’m An Atheist, But…

I liked this. It explained it well. I go a step further. I am an antitheist. While I do not oppose anybody believing what they like, I do not believe in any of the religions , think religion is harmful in many ways and would like to see these medieval superstitions done away with. I would like a more rational world where laws and ethical codes are globally implemented and subscribed to. I believe in tolerance, love and education, science, empathy and compassion.

Poetry – Embracing Science – a poem about fundamentalism

Embracing Science

 

A fundamentalist is a person who sees everything in black and white. Every word is fixed. It has been written. It must be obeyed.

There is no nuance.

There is nothing to discuss.

Black and white. No doubt. For a chosen people.

Rejecting all other interpretation. Picking and choosing the texts that suit.

Of the thousands of faiths followed by mankind they adhere to one and reject all else.

A seat of intolerance. A message of division. A cause of hatred.

Yet the world is not black and white.

The world is full of colour, wonder and awe.

 


 

Embracing Science

 

We embrace science –

The Kalashnikov

Explosive vest

And the IED.

 

There is no latitude

Or room for doubt,

Or tolerance

Of any kind;

For it is written.

 

We reject the Hadron Collider,

Skylab

And the microscope.

 

We pick and choose

On our trip

Into the past.

 

What use for the Richter scale?

Or vaccination?

When all is God’s will.

 

Opher 18.5.2016

A writer on writing – Why I’m my world’s worst enemy.

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I am constantly told by everyone that I am going about this in the wrong way. If I want to be successful I should do it the right way.

  • I should not be churning out all my books one after another.
  • I should only put out my very best books.
  • I should focus on my best book and seek to get it properly published.
  • I should market my chosen book fully and commit my energies to getting that well know

But I’ve got a head full of books and not that long to live.

I have a whole shelf of my books that I can hold and look at with pride.

I am enjoying writing out my books and feeding my compulsion

It would be nice to have a readership though. So if you fancy trying one. They are up on Amazon.

These are my six books of poetry. They are available as paperback or on Kindle from Amazon – all for under £5 for a paperback. You could buy the whole lot for just £27.62!!

They are not conventional poetry books. They are like you find on my blog with a page of explanatory prose followed by the poem. The prose is as important as the poem to me.

 

Codas, Cadence and Clues – £4.97

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Codas-Cadence-Clues-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1530754453/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460847766&sr=1-4&keywords=opher+goodwin

Stanzas and Stances – £5.59

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stanzas-Stances-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1518708080/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882298&sr=1-9&keywords=opher+goodwin

Poems and Peons – £4.33

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Poems-Peons-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1519640110/ref=sr_1_25?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882335&sr=1-25&keywords=opher+goodwin

Rhymes and Reasons – £3.98

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rhymes-Reason-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1516991184/ref=sr_1_28?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882443&sr=1-28&keywords=opher+goodwin

Prose, Cons and Poetry – £4.60

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Prose-Cons-Poetry-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1512376566/ref=sr_1_35?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882506&sr=1-35&keywords=opher+goodwin

Vice and Verse – £4.15

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vice-Verse-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1514792079/ref=sr_1_36?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882560&sr=1-36&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

 

Science Fiction books:

 

Ebola in the Garden of Eden – paperback £6.95 Kindle £2.56 (or free on unlimited)

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ebola-Garden-Eden-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1514878216/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461831172&sr=1-11&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

Green – paperback £9.98 Kindle £2.56 (or free on unlimited)

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Green-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1514122294/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461831333&sr=1-17&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

Rock Music books

 

In Search of Captain Beefheart – paperback £6.91 Kindle £1.99 (or free on unlimited)

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Search-Captain-Beefheart-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1502820455/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=146183144

3&sr=1-1&keywords=opher+Goodwin

 

Other selected books and novels:

 

Anecdotes-Weird-Science-Writing-Ramblings – a book of anecdotes mainly from the sixties and other writing.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anecdotes-Weird-Science-Writing-Ramblings/dp/1519675631/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461832001&sr=1-9&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

More Anecdotes – following the immense popularity of the first volume I produced a second

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Anecdotes-Essays-Beliefs-flotsam/dp/1530770262/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461832001&sr=1-5&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

Goofin’ with the cosmic freaks – a kind of On the Road for the sixties

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Goofin-Cosmic-Freaks-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1500860247/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461832001&sr=1-13&keywords=opher+goodwin

The book of Ginny – a novel

 

 

In Britain :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1461306850&sr=1-2-ent

 

In America:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=opher+goodwin

In all other countries around the world check out your regional Amazon site and Opher Goodwin books.

 

A writer on writing – Why I write.

61GLyKHJF9L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

I write for three reasons:

  • I am compelled to
  • I enjoy doing it
  • I want to make a difference (in a positive way)

Perhaps you would enjoy reading one of my books?

These are my six books of poetry. They are available as paperback or on Kindle from Amazon – all for under £5 for a paperback. You could buy the whole lot for just £27.62!!

They are not conventional poetry books. They are like you find on my blog with a page of explanatory prose followed by the poem. The prose is as important as the poem to me.

 

Codas, Cadence and Clues – £4.97

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Codas-Cadence-Clues-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1530754453/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460847766&sr=1-4&keywords=opher+goodwin

Stanzas and Stances – £5.59

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stanzas-Stances-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1518708080/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882298&sr=1-9&keywords=opher+goodwin

Poems and Peons – £4.33

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Poems-Peons-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1519640110/ref=sr_1_25?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882335&sr=1-25&keywords=opher+goodwin

Rhymes and Reasons – £3.98

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rhymes-Reason-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1516991184/ref=sr_1_28?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882443&sr=1-28&keywords=opher+goodwin

Prose, Cons and Poetry – £4.60

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Prose-Cons-Poetry-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1512376566/ref=sr_1_35?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882506&sr=1-35&keywords=opher+goodwin

Vice and Verse – £4.15

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vice-Verse-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1514792079/ref=sr_1_36?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460882560&sr=1-36&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

 

Science Fiction books:

 

Ebola in the Garden of Eden – paperback £6.95 Kindle £2.56 (or free on unlimited)

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ebola-Garden-Eden-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1514878216/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461831172&sr=1-11&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

Green – paperback £9.98 Kindle £2.56 (or free on unlimited)

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Green-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1514122294/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461831333&sr=1-17&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

Rock Music books

 

In Search of Captain Beefheart – paperback £6.91 Kindle £1.99 (or free on unlimited)

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Search-Captain-Beefheart-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1502820455/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=146183144

3&sr=1-1&keywords=opher+Goodwin

 

Other selected books and novels:

 

Anecdotes-Weird-Science-Writing-Ramblings – a book of anecdotes mainly from the sixties and other writing.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anecdotes-Weird-Science-Writing-Ramblings/dp/1519675631/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461832001&sr=1-9&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

More Anecdotes – following the immense popularity of the first volume I produced a second

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Anecdotes-Essays-Beliefs-flotsam/dp/1530770262/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461832001&sr=1-5&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

Goofin’ with the cosmic freaks – a kind of On the Road for the sixties

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Goofin-Cosmic-Freaks-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1500860247/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461832001&sr=1-13&keywords=opher+goodwin

The book of Ginny – a novel

 

 

In Britain :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1461306850&sr=1-2-ent

 

In America:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=opher+goodwin

In all other countries around the world check out your regional Amazon site and Opher Goodwin books.