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Two Minds on Spirituality

While I am in between blog posts, I thought that I would interest my readers by showing them a conversation that I recently had with fellow wordpress blogger, Sagacity Plateau.

While in search of a new and interesting blog, I stumbled onto Sagacity Plateau’s and the first post I read immediately sparked my interest. With my interest came a simple question that turned into an interesting exchange of ideas, much like the kind of exchanges I hope to provoke in many of my posts to come.

The discussion I am about to post looks at spirituality, with a focus on the question: Can one be truly atheist, and spiritual. I am not sure if we came to agree with eachother completely by the end of this, but the discussion was definately enjoyable for both of us.

For those of you looking for some interesting posts that will give the mind plenty to ponder, I encourage you to read his blog here, http://sagacityplateau.wordpress.com/.

I will begin by posting the post of his that sparked the conversation, followed by each of our comments word for word. Enjoy!

The Truth

People always want the quick fix for life problems. It is in our nature. So many turn to books to try and gain a solution. This is why we have religion. Confusion is the lack of understanding. They scour the pages for words to provide a quick fix by comprehending someone elses understanding and using it as their own. Normally once satisfied, time passes and the problem reoccurs. This is because your nature to not want to have to think has prevented you from filling the void of your questions in the first place. You have become unknowingly self defeating; no thinking required.

See, as a single being, you are who you are and nothing from the outside can change that; it could influence, but never change it. So the answers to your own happiness doesn’t fall with the text and ect. of someone elses understanding, but within the understanding of ones self. I believe the path to God; we all believe in the same God; but the path to God is in no book for you to gain insight, but is within understanding. It is within true self enlightenment that we find the true keys to life. From within…………..thats jus how I feel about it lol

Comments:

Mind Conscious:

I am still left a little curious after reading, are you religious?

Sagacity Plateau:

Yes, I am spiritual above being the lesser “religious”. Are you religious?

MC:

I am not religious. I am an atheist, However, I do believe in spiritual experience. I just do not believe that the experience is “mystical” or outside of the purview of natural order.

SP:

I do understand. You know than you can reach a level of spirituality that is beyond what “religions” teach. To me, no one is truly “atheist”, but just do not accept the training programs of “religions”. There is no way to be truly “atheist” and spiritual at the same time. I do respect your beliefs. Being spiritual, I do have friends that are Atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Wiccans, and more (Except Satanist lol, though I have known some and have even read parts of their “bible” out of curiosity). I am able to go to cathedrals, covenants, mosque, temples and ect. without guilt and all. I do not worship of course, but I can be there and get invited often to many religious events. Engage that spiritual side of you, lose the titles and be what we are all meant to be; free. Sorry for the long reply.

MC:

Not a problem. I think for the sake of experience, attending a church service can be interesting. I am curious about what you mean when you say that there is no way to be truly atheist and spiritual at the same time, because at face value, I disagree. We may be defining each term differently. Could you elaborate on that?

SP:

Buckle up. Well per my understanding, Atheism is the “belief” of no deity or like you said “mystical” beings. Yet you said that you believe in “spiritual experiences”. Spiritual experiences is the result of the existence, or acknowledgement knowingly or unknowingly of the theological “heart” aka “soul” aka many other things lol. You can not have one without the other. Atheism rejects mans created and general training of “religions”. What mans training doesn’t do is tell humans who they truly are.

Did you know that everything in the known universe is made from the exact same base products…everything. Did you also know that there is an energy that moves Everything in the known universe. Now take away ambitious mens desire for control and religions. If we are all
“creations”(humans,stars,animals,dirt,ect)(which we are) via evolution which has many facts or other chosen beliefs, and ALL things require and use this SAME energy, then one must assume that the energy is “God” and we truly ARE a piece of God. “All things were created in Gods image”; not physically, but in Essence.

Embrace that spirituality that you feel and embrace God and there will be no need for human titles….if you choose

MC:

I hope that you are buckled up and ready because after my response, I would like to guide you to an article on this matter, so you should have plenty to read here.

You claim that spiritual experience is the EXISTENCE of the theological “heart”, “soul”, etc. This is not true.

Let us not forget the meaning of the word spirit which comes from the latin spiritus, which is derived from the Greek term pneuma, meaning breath.

Throughout history, the term spiritual has been held hostage by the religions of the world to take on supernatural meanings. This does not need to be the case, as you appear to think that it does.

Spiritual experience does not require the mystical, or the “theological heart” at all. I have a great passion for science and the universe that I am apart of. Simply with my knowledge and understanding of my conscious experience in the universe (thanks in large parts to my learning from theoretical physicists and those of the like), something as simple as looking into the night sky, even a sun rise or sun set (really any point in the day), feeling a breeze flow around me, I can feel so incredibly connected to the everything that I can be just about brought to tears. None of these emotions need the aid of the supernatural, or any hope of anything more than what is.

That is just a brief example. Many of my other “spiritual experiences” comes from a greater understanding of what is. There is a lot to know about the universe and everything in it. I will never understand it all, but I continue to grow, and it is moments like that for me when I truly have the feeling of what the religious might consider “ascension.”

In closing, I would like to quote physicist Lawrence Krauss; “Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.”

It is things like this that I find my spiritual experience. And that is just the tip of the iceburg. I don’t need to call it God, I have a passion for knowledge and what is. That is what I consider spiritual experience.

Here is a link to an article on this subject which adds another two cents but worth reading:

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/a-plea-for-spirituality

SP:

I definitely will read those two articles. When I say “spiritual” I do not mean spiritual as in supernatural, but spiritual as in a level of deeper understanding of the universe and the place of all beings in it. When I say “God” I do not mean “God” as in a supernatural God but “God” as in where all things get their essence as I mentioned. Science still has a long way to go in understanding the dynamics of the human mind and I realize that through the continued advancement in neuroscience we will ultimately figure out the “magic” of the human mind which for all intensive purposes is what makes up what can be considered the soul. When I say “we” I mean we as in scientist as I am a biotech major with the ultimate goal of a focus in genetics and steam cell research. The soul, regardless of beliefs, scientifically speaking could very well be considered the “mechanism” of cognition or vise versa. Yes, simply put we are stardust, and that is what I mentioned as well when I said that ALL things are made up of the same base chemicals. To sum up all that I am saying and have said; it is the energy that is the essence. It is the energy that I consider “God” or “the source”. And it is this energy that scientifically moves everything. If time and space is truly infinite, then “God”/”The source” is indeed the Alpha and the Omega.

I would like to make a post of our conversation in a question and answer format. Do you mind? If you would like me to not use WP handle let me know. If you don’t mind me using your WP handle let me know as well.

MC:

Yes, I was hoping to be able to do the same on my page. I think this was a great exchange.

I would like to point out that even with your interpretation of God and spiritual, my arguement that one can be truly atheist (which I am) and spiritual still stands.

I would also like to put this onto my page, I would like to post your original blog that sparked this conversation in order for readers on my page to have a fuller understanding of our discussion. After that I will simply apply each comment word for word from each of us. Are you okay with this?

Lastly, I really enjoyed this sharing of ideas. I think that it still has room for continued pondering, yet was satisfying in the conclusions that I believe one can draw from the conversation. Thank you.

SP:

Yes, it has been a great exchange of information and you may use the conversation for your blog.

MC:

Thank you 🙂

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Religious Tolerance

The subject of religious tolerance is unique. It is maybe the only topic that one can find differing religious philosophies and even atheists teaming together on. The spectrum is typically as follows; Passionate religious people may be against religious tolerance, except when it comes to their own beliefs of course. Passionate atheists, like myself, will say that religious tolerance is simply a way of smuggling a social time bomb further into the future. Then, there are the light-hearted religious folk teamed up with the agnostics of the world saying live and let live. The idea that all philosophies should coexist as everyone is accepting of all ideas.

Like I stated above, I am against religious tolerance. I hope to show you that while the argument that religious tolerance is the most peaceful means of functioning as a society is appealing at face value, it does not take long to see the hate and suffering that this argument condones.

Before going further from here, I would like to preemptively end a potential argument that could arise quickly. I in no way support any forceful measures being taken to rid the world of religion. What I mean by that is violence is in no way part of the solution. I believe that education, knowledge and honesty is the only way that we can truly reach this goal.

Is this by any means a realistic dream? Not really. I highly doubt religion will be gone before I die. But what I am trying to persuade atheists of all levels is to be critical of people’s opinions and be willing to discuss topics that you disagree with rather than letting someone babble on about absurdity. Simply put, call bullshit when you see it. There are very respectable ways to have intelligent conversation that progress thought and enlighten others to what many of us would view as a better tomorrow.

Christianity

The value that many hold, ‘live and let live’, is actually not as peaceful an idea as one may assume. Christianity sells the naive a beautiful picture filled with love thy neighbor and eternal bliss. However, before you even read on, I am sure you already know that there is plenty of evidence that there is much more to their picture.

Christianity breeds simple, stubborn, and judgemental minds. Where’s my evidence of this? For starters, it is in the bible. The link provided here is but a brief of example of the support of slavery. Slavery is thankfully far in our past but during the time of slavery in America, those in support of slavery turned to the Bible to defend their rights to own another human being. I can only imagine how much that alone slowed the progress of man.

A quick turn to Mormonism and you will find the most blatant support of bigotry. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is clear about their belief that when Cain killed Abel and was given a mark by God, the mark of Cain was black skin. They proceeded up until the late 70’s to consider dark skin a curse before finally allowing blacks the right to “the priesthood.”

Ask any atheist, and even Christians, and you can become completely educated on the ongoing struggle in the schools between teaching evolution vs. creation in our schools. In a later blog I plan to discuss what sickens me about this but for now I allow you, the reader to research this conflict. What I will say about this is how much I am angered by the religious using their own fear of what reality is showing to hinder the very progress of science. Science is what will keep humanity alive. And in a very real sense, religion can destroy the world with their ignorant, fear fueled drive to combat the progress of man towards what is, rather than the selfish fantasy of the followers. Again, more on this another time.

On to the most recent news. Perhaps the most blatant in today’s society, gay rights. Again I plan to go into more depth on this subject in a later blog, but here is my two cents for now. Because we (as a whole) continue not to be critical of people’s beliefs by allowing people to believe what ever they want to believe, we in turn hurt many other people. Discount the past for now and it is still obvious. Homosexuals have fewer rights than the rest of the world merely because of religions control over society. They not only withhold their rights, they degrade and attack those who are different from them for a reason I would consider to be fear. The Westboro Baptist Church has continued their reign of terror, not only on the LBGT community but beyond as well. Most recently, Chick-Fil-A has openly advertised their anti-gay beliefs. They have even created a hateful sandwich, and what sickens me the most is that this controversy netted Chick-Fil-A even more support from the Christian community. It is this blatant disregard for the well-being of our fellow man that leaves me in awe of the pedestal of peace the Christians have been placed upon.

Muslims

This is another religious power, with grips held strongest in the middle east, that I believe can be even more dangerous than the Judeo-Christian community. I believe this because they have text that translate to “kill the infidel” and to many of the extremists, find it a life’s goal to be a martyr. This is why suicide bombings are worth being afraid of.

I believe it was in Richard Dawkins book, The God Delusion, that I realized that these people who are responsible for suicide bombings, most notably 9/11, were not and are not crazy. These people, outside of their strict and literal interpretation of the Quran, are loving and, by all medical standards, normal people. It is their unwavering faith that this book is true that motivates them to attempt the acts much of the world views as so vile.

Conclusion

I could continue on but I wish for my last sentence to resonate within you for a moment as you should realize that this is what religious tolerance leads to. When bad things happen in the name of God, we are not always seeing a mentally insane person. We are seeing sane people with the whole-hearted belief that what they are doing is right. Of course religious tolerance does not always lead to the extreme. And I don’t believe that atheists need to go door to door telling the world of what we believe. We all have friends that are Christian or Muslim etc. and we know that they will live a peaceful life without really hurting anyone. But this tolerance is not always for the better. We should be willing to discuss views that we believe will lead to a better tomorrow, and not allow underlying wrongs to go uncorrected. The true key to peace is through knowledge and understanding of what is. Not being coddled by our crutches to hide us from our fears of the unknown. To believe that tolerance of religious beliefs is the key to a peaceful society, one is neglecting to recognize not only the facts that I’ve listed above, but also the truth that is begging to be found. Many people will suffer as a result of religious tolerance, and nobody should stand for that.

Welcome

Hello everyone and welcome to Mind Conscious. The blogs to come will cover a few subjects that will primarily fall under the subjects of religion and morality. If this is something that interests you, I hope you will continue to return to this page to see updates and be willing to contribute progressive ideas that in the end can benefit all those who read and participate.

I also encourage thought-provoking comments on my posts that further discussion. Something that I notice people tend to do when discussing sensitive topics is their mind becomes clouded in winning the debate. While I expect the occasional “heated” debate from time to time, I hope that we set aside our ego’s and look at these topics with open minds because in this way, no one can lose.

To be clear, I am an atheist, and being very much intrigued by science and the scientific method, I have found that the key to finding the truth (or what is most likely true) is by learning to accept what is. What I mean by this is not believing what we want to be true or what makes us feel the most warm inside, because regardless of how something makes us feel, it holds no weight as to whether our belief is actually true.

Lastly, I hope that this will be a place where minds can come together and discuss topics that will enlighten everyone that takes part. If you are a theist, or disagree with my position, I hope that it will lead to respectful discussion. I will never belittle someone as a person, however I am sure that I will come off as critical and people will inevitably be offended from time to time, but that will never be my intention. Before closing this initial post, if I see comments on this page that have the intent of belittling others, I will simply delete the comment in order to promote beneficial discussion, and if it continues I will simply block the commenter. Through honest discussion, the truth will present itself, and everyone can benefit. Welcome.

-MC