X-Disparate Peccadillos

 Posted by on September 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM
Sep 112014
 

DisparatePeccadillosJust click it if you can’t find your glasses.

The Certainty Of Religious Faith

 Posted by on September 10, 2014 at 10:53 AM
Sep 102014
 

FSMonsterThere are many satirical parodies of Michelangelo’s famous creation panel from the Sistine Chapel;  this one happens to be the work of some dude named Mockallangelo.  It depicts the Pastafarian deity known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, creating “Meathead,” the first man.   

LIKE MANY RELIGIONS, Pastafarianism is a parody religion, only intentionally so.  As such, it uses satire to provoke debate over various religious creeds and doctrines of other religions, as a way of pointing out the “absurdity” and lack of “sustaining evidence” for these notions, often including religion itself.

In this time of relative scientific enlightenment, all evolutionary religions are more or less struggling to maintain their often fetishistic belief in a wide variety of variously accumulated man-made dogmas.  Concepts like Hell, Noah’s Ark, Creationism, Intelligent Design, and others, rightfully bear the brunt of this ongoing theological thrashing.  But faith— especially in one’s personal religious experience— remains profoundly unassailable.

Yes, the Pastafarians can and will make fun of your religion and you;  but the corrective sifting of nearly two thousand years worth of still accumulating religious error is going to happen— one way or another— and before it’s done and God sticks a fork in you, you may just have to shake off of some of the man-made dog-crap-ma stuck on your soul;  that is if your intent is to keep your religious compass in good working order.

Top of my list?  Hell.  The Virgin Birth.  Creationism.  The Atonement Doctrine.  The “Wrathful” God.  The “chosen people” idea, in all its manifestations.  That’s just a start.  But damn, it’s a freakin’ long list.

In letting go of antiquated and, in some cases, simply false ideas that over the last couple centuries have attached to religious faith, remember this:  The relation between you as a human creature and God as the divine Creator is a living experience;  a dynamic religious faith which cannot be precisely defined.  Nevertheless, it can be experienced.

Here’s some known knowns…  No one can live your faith for you;  <em>you</em> have to live it yourself.  You can start to do that by believing what is validated in the deepest part of who and what you are— your soul— and then courageously trying to live the truth you’ve discovered there.  Go there,  search there;  take whatever truth you know with certainty and use it to do good, to increasingly live that truth to realize the beauty and goodness in everything and everyone.

Now if you’re up for a serious walk into the tall weeds on this, step over the bullet holes.

•  •  •

 

It’s obvious to most clear-thinking people that the progress of science, along with the philosophic elimination of religious fear, has greatly increased the mortality rate of false gods, and it’s not done yet. And even though these casualties of man-made deities (I’m looking at you, Zeus, FSM) and dogmas can occasionally blur the spiritual vision, they are eventually successful in destroying a lot of the ignorance and superstition which has always obscured the reality of God.  And if it takes a Flying Spaghetti Monster to make that happen, then there you go.

When you set all the dogma aside, a true religionist ultimately has faith in a personal God of personal salvation— and such faith is something more than a human projection, or even a sublime hypothesis.  They have faith in a God of love; and love will always be the true essence of any worthwhile religion, whether it’s institutional or individual; regardless of any and all associated erroneous doctrine.

THE POWER OF FAITH
It’s also obvious that a considerable number of people are unacquainted with the true nature of religious faith.  This number likely includes every bit as many religionists as it does atheists and agnostics.  That’s perfectly understandable, because a person— an individual personality— must actually exercise faith in order to experience what it is.  But one thing it is not, is an uncomplicated intellectual postulate.  Yet an assumed “belief” that it is only that and nothing more is potentially the most egregious personal error that can be made— because living faith done right always results in a relative spiritual experience;  not merely an intellectual one.

Thus faith and belief differ in fundamental ways.  Belief is invariably limiting and binding;  faith is expanding and releasing.  Belief fixates, keeping a person locked in a non-progressive circle of cold fact.  Conservative thinkers tend to become mired in “the facts, ”  and the truth speedily begins to die.  But true faith liberates.  Because, truth, like faith, is a living reality, and must therefore be lived.

Then can faith,  through personal religious experience, get about transforming the philosophic God of probability into the saving God of certainty.  Skepticism may challenge the theories of theology, but confidence in the dependability of personal religious experience affirms the truth of that belief which has grown into genuine faith.

Despite such certitude, reason can always question faith, and it should. But faith can always augment both reason and logic.  Reason creates the probability which faith can transform into a moral certainty; a spiritual experience.

THE POWER OF TRUTH
If God is the source of all reality, then he is likewise the source of all truth;  he must perforce be absolute truth.  And since God is the first truth, he must also be the last fact;  all truth has its origin in him, and all facts must exist relative to him.

As truth, we may come to know God.  But to understand— to be able to explain God— we must explore the fact of the Universe. And this vast gulf between the experience of the truth of God and ignorance as to the fact of God, can only be bridged by living faith. Reason alone simply cannot achieve harmony between infinite truth and universal fact.

A person can arrive at convictions about God through wise reasoning, but that person can only become truly God-knowing by faith;  through their own personal experience.  When contact is made with cosmic reality, certainty can be experienced when meanings and values are engaged with living faith.  A God-knowing soul can say with certainty, “I know”— even though this “knowledge” of God can be questioned and ridiculed by unbelievers who deny any such certitude can exist, because it is not wholly supported by intellectual logic.  Still:  it’s not a semantic accident that the believer can logically withstand any such questioning with the reply:  “How do you know that I do not know?”  Snap.

Gene Wilder as Young Doctor Frankenstein

THE LIMITATIONS OF SCIENCE
The ubiquitous but unenlightened whinge on the internets is that there is no “proof” for a God,  not a single shred;  and if there was, atheists would be lining up at church.  Science, or the “scientific method,” is an intellectual yardstick we use to measure the material universe. Being material and wholly intellectual, it is utterly useless in the evaluation of spiritual realities and religious experiences.  Nevertheless, to science God must at least remain a possibility.  To philosophy, God is a probability;  but to religion he is a certainty, an actual religious experience.  And reason demands that a philosophy which can’t find the God of probability should at least be respectful of a religious faith which can— and does— find the God of certitude.

Science simply cannot discount such religious experience on grounds of credulity, either; not as long as it persists in assuming that our human intellectual and philosophic faculties emerged from increasingly lesser intelligences the further back they go, finally taking origin in primitive sludge which was and still is utterly devoid of any capability to think and feel, let alone become self aware— self-conscious.

Intelligent men and women use the consistent logic of adulthood:  a logic which tolerates the concept of truth as well as the observation of fact.

Intelligent men and women must learn to use the consistent logic of adulthood;  a logic which tolerates the concept of truth as well as the observation of fact.  For instance, the facts of evolution should not be arrayed against the truth of the certainty of the spiritual experience of the God-knowing individual.  Organic evolution is a fact;  purposive or progressive evolution is a truth— which makes consistent the otherwise contradictory phenomena of the continuing achievements of evolution.  Scientific materialism has gone bankrupt when, in the face of each recurring universe phenomenon, it refunds its current objections by referring what is admittedly higher, back into that which is admittedly lower. Consistency calls for the recognition of the activities of a purposive Creator.

The true teachings of Jesus* have the power to tremendously enhance and supernally exalt every person willing to invest the time to read and understand them. And this is especially true for all Bible-believing Christians who are convinced they already have all the facts they need about the life and teachings of Jesus.

LIVING IN THE REAL WORLD

Very often, mere beliefs may not be able to resist doubt and withstand fear.  But faith is always triumphant over doubting, because faith is both positive and living.  The positive always has the advantage over the negative; so does truth over error, experience over theory;  and spiritual realities over relative facts.  But the only real and convincing evidence of this spiritual certainty is the social fruit of the spirit which believers can produce as a result of their genuine spiritual experience.

However you finally choose to get there, this temporal existence must come to be visualized as the experience of the reality of the human upreach with the divine and saving downreach.  Only then will you, as a unique individual consciousness find the certainty of God that lives in faith.

° ° °

 

 

 

¹ In the spiritual universe the soul is recognized as the more real and enduring reality attached to human personality and identity.  In the material universe level, personality and identity are not enduring realities;  when the material body ceases function, if the individual is to survive, personality and identity are reinvested in a suitable spiritual form.  But in the spiritual universe, personality and identity continue functioning as part of the spirit nucleus which survives mortal death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT’S SUMMERTIME

 Posted by on July 7, 2014 at 6:23 PM
Jul 072014
 

Yep, summertime, and we be chillin’, planting plants, drinking wine, walking the beach;
not blogging so much right now.
We’ll be back after a few weeks of R & R.  .  .  Be good to yourself, and everybody else, too.

US

 

Because You Should See This.

 Posted by on June 4, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Jun 042014
 

The patch of sky in this image has been previously studied by astronomers, and is known as the “Hubble Ultra Deep Field.”  With the addition of ultraviolet light, they combined the full range of colors available to Hubble, from ultraviolet to near-infrared light.  The resulting image below is made from 841 orbits of telescope viewing time, and contains approximately 10,000 galaxies.

heic1411a

But wait.  Take a moment to grasp the scale of this image.  You may have some idea of how big the earth is, especially if you’ve taken a jet ride to Hawaii or Guam, or some other location that required several hours to reach.  You also know how big an orange is.  Stars are no closer together than a dozen oranges might be if they were floating around at maximum distance from each other inside a hollow sphere the diameter of our planet.

StarsAnd Oranges

So take a little of your time to daydream about why the universe we can see is SO ABSOLUTELY HUGE, and your chances of seeing more than the world your butt is sitting on are, yes, really, also huge.*  And if you have some time to burn, you should burn it at the ZOO— classifying galaxies.   Or here.   Or at the very least, get impregnated with a few amazing facts:

* Or, if you’re tired of having a meager cosmology and want answers to the important questions, go HERE.

Real Climate Change Coming

 Posted by on May 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM
May 222014
 


That’s right;  it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard rain gonna fall.

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin’
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
I heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what’ll you do now my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singing
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

The HELL You Say. . .

 Posted by on May 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM
May 172014
 

TheHellYouSay2

No, there is no “hell.”

 

Well wait.

There are all those thousands of supposedly rational people who still believe that the all-loving, all-merciful, all-knowing God they profess belief in, maintains a gigantic universal “Lake of Fire,” at enormous expense, too, and probably available on the heavenly Celestial Cable base package under “entertainment,” which has endless close-ups of flesh melting off bodies, with a roar of continuous agonizing screams.  Yeah, boring.

On second thought, that would be a living hell.  You know, one of their own making.  But there is no material place called Hell.

Mm, okay, there is the brain-box of Rush Limbaugh’s enormous head, that’s gotta be pretty close to a living hell, but he’s also gotta be really close to death, too. . . let’s just say there’s no eternal material place called hell.

Shit.  Yeah, you’re right, there’s the idea of hell too, and that’s probably the most vivid and powerful form of hell that there is, really;  and you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t kept alive by just the fundie-mentalists either.  There are many weak-minded atheist trolls who, while claiming to know there is no hell (good so far) still insist on helping to keep the idea of hell alive by continually bringing it up whenever and wherever they can, in an effort to prove— get this— how dumb fundamentalists are.  The irony— it burns all the way to the center of the earth.

Hmm.  Well yeah dammit, the center of the earth must be a lot like the childish ideas of hell, too.  So if you could actually get there without having to become a resident, maybe like, just get a visa to have a look around, in a totally fire-proof suit.  I mean if you’re going to imagine an insane place like hell to begin with, it might be instructive to speculate on just how insane an imaginary hell is.†

Which raises the question, are people chained up?  Does their charred crispy flesh get rejuvenated every hour or something, so they can feel the pain all over again?  Whoa, are there even hours??  What good is torturing punishing fleshbots if they aren’t conscious of the passage of every last freaking second they’ve been burning to a cinder?

Do they eat, or sleep?  Are there restaurants?  I knew a place called Hell’s Half Acre, over near the White Castle on Cook Street;  they had some seriously incendiary chili;  makes my face sweat just thinking about it.  But yeah, this is stupid.  Of course it would just be about pain and suffering, right?  Because. . .  INFINITE MERCY!

Okay, to be fair, if there’s infinite mercy, there’s also infinite wisdom.  Infinite wisdom then, must be the eternal arbiter which determines the proportions of justice and mercy, which would be meted out in any given circumstance.  So the greatest punishment for deliberate rebellion against the government of God would be your loss of existence as an individual subject of that government;  in the last analysis, it’s clear such individuals have actually destroyed themselves— by becoming wholly unreal through their own willful choice of iniquity.

Now we’re talking cessation of existence.

And when this self-sentence is finally confirmed, the being instantly becomes as though he had not been.  There’s no resurrection from such a fate;  it is everlasting and eternal.*

So say it with me now:  THERE IS NO HELL.  Stop talking about it.  Stop lending strength to that which you wish to be free from.  Ignore those who still believe such a backward idea.  Stop wasting your time with them, and use every second you have left figuring out how you can live forever, under, shall we say, more pleasant circumstances.

 

*  “The living energy factors of identity are resolved by the transformations of time and the metamorphoses of space into the cosmic potentials whence they once emerged.  As for the personality of the iniquitous one, it is deprived of a continuing life vehicle by the creature’s failure to make those choices and final decisions which would have assured eternal life. When the continued embrace of sin by the associated mind culminates in complete self-identification with iniquity, then upon the cessation of life, upon cosmic dissolution, such an isolated personality is absorbed into the oversoul of creation, becoming a part of the evolving experience of the Supreme Being.  Never again does it appear as a personality;  its identity becomes as though it had never been.”    —The Urantia Book:  The Nature Of God;  Justice And Righteousness

 

†  Damn.  I should also mention, you know, for the hell of it, that the Jewish traditions of heaven and hell and the doctrine of devils in the Hebrew scriptures, while they were founded on the lingering traditions of Lucifer, were principally derived from the Zoroastrians during the times when the Jews were under the political and cultural dominance of the Persians.  Zoroaster, like the Egyptians, taught the “day of judgment,” but he connected the event with the end of the world;  not some hell hole of fire waiting at the end of this life for all the evil boys and girls.  Just sayin’.

 

Recommended reading:

 

My God! It’s Got Five Bars!

 Posted by on May 14, 2014 at 10:57 PM
May 142014
 

iPhone MonolithYeah, it had five bars for a moment, anyway.

iPhone Monolith:  Something’s going to happen.
Dave Bowman:  What?  What’s going to happen?

iPhone Monolith:  Something wonderful.
Dave Bowman:  Okay…  When?

iPhone Monolith:  When you die.
Dave Bowman:  Whe— when I die!?!  WTF!

iPhone Monolith:  Sorry, Dave.
Dave Bowman:  Hey;  is this HAL?  HAL is that you?

iPhone Monolith:  No, Dave;  this isn’t HAL.
Dave Bowman:  Who the hell is sending this?

iPhone Monolith:  I’m sorry, Dave, I don’t know.
Dave Bowman:  Hm.  Alright, then tell me what “wonderful” thing is going to happen when I die.

iPhone Monolith:  You’re going to  …   …
Dave Bowman: Hello?

Dave Bowman: Hel—Hello??

Dave Bowman: Can you hear me??
Dave Bowman:  God DAMMIT!  Focking machines.

 

Yes, Dave Bowman got focked over by a machine.  It happens to all of us.  But you are luckier than Dave.  You are on the internets, and you have undiscovered resources at your disposal that you haven’t even dreamed of.

So. If you want to know what wonderful thing is really going to happen when you die, watch this.