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From the Mailbag: A Call to my 'Divine Mission'

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I know I said I wouldn’t be posting as much, but I just couldn’t resist sharing this gem of an email exchange, which once again summarizes just about every weak straw man argument which has ever been used against atheism or against me personally. The correspondent is very, very far from rational, and repeatedly mangles and disparages knowledge. He proudly asserts his rejection of “carnal logic.” Oh, the humanity.

Sean, good to see your photo up on the site. Your parents were and are spiritual giants, and the reality of God can never be rationalized out of existence. If you really believe there is no God, why spend even 1 second attacking something that does not exist. That is the illogical stance of the Atheist.

We have had this conversation before: it seems to me one of your real issues may be with the abuses of organized religion, not the concept of God itself. I would agree, abuses in Churches have and still happen in many circles, such is the nature of human organizations, human karma. Be at Peace.

A Haiku for the human condition: Pride of the Ego. Broken Eventually. A Soul in Waiting. Remember, “Absense of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence” The Spiritual and Scientific Revolution in Higher Conscioussness is upon Us. Please carefully consider your Reason for being and your Divine mission. Destiny, not Dust! David

Hi David, We had a cordial exchange a year ago, now you are labeling me “illogical” and calling me to my “divine mission.” I would submit that you yourself are caught up in unreality and idolatry.

Atheism does not attack anything, it comes from the Greek atheos, meaning simply “without gods.” With the exception of “strong atheism” it does not positively assert that there is no god. It says that the concept of gods is unprovable, and for the ignostic, even if a god exists, it is irrelevant to the conduct of human affairs.

Atheism primarily asks people to adhere to rationality. If you admit there is no proof for god, then you should refrain from making any comment about what “it” is or may be and instead be willing to make peace with the unknown. I have written extensively about this question. You should read this article if you are interested in my true stance.

Personal subjectivity does not a spiritual path make. (Say something a little like Yoda I might).

Right now, your position toward me is rather condescending, and your call to “higher consciousness” is an echo of the vague and meaningless statements that I heard too much from too many irrational people during the first 29 years of my life.

May you come to find rationality, and live long and prosper in reason, Sean

Hey Sean, I was not calling you illogical, I said the stance of the Atheist is Illogical. A-Theos(anti-god)…a stance that opposses the concept of God. My point, if Atheists are at peace with no God, why attack something they are claiming does not exist. In my view, everyone has a divine reason for being, or divine mission. I don’t see how that implies idolatry. It seems to me the Atheists have idolatry for their own carnal logic, human ego, intellect, and system of “belief” and defense of a materialistic philosophy. Behind that, Atheism in general vibes of a disconnect with the heart, fanaticism, fear and anger…kind of like a fundamentalist Christian…ok, so it seems like by your definition, true “atheism” is more like agnosticism. I’m cool with that, however why can’t the agnostic allow for other view points and philosophies about the nature of the universe? Who defines how one “proves” God anyway? The people that say there is no God are the ones that are going to set up a system to “prove” God? Kind of silly…

I’m not defending those who are claiming some “special” connection with spirit that is obviously a fantasy. It seems to me much of the new age movement feels disconnected to me, but not all of it. I hear where you are coming from, and if you are at peace in that box of materialism then so be it. Onward Always in Brotherhood, David

A-theos is WITHOUT god. Not anti-god. Does not oppose, as I said, merely holds that it is incoherent and therefore not useful. If atheism is against anything, it is the abuses and contradictions posed and perpetrated by believers in the name of their god(s). The plural is useful because although some 85% of the population professes to believe in god, there are thousands of official definitions and millions of individual definitions of exactly what that means. So to say “believe in god” is not only meaningless, but also confusing.

If someone could assert a provable concept of a single universal deity, then atheism would cease to be tenable. So far this has not happened. The burden of proof is on the person asserting it. For example, if you said there was an invisible apple on the table and I said there was no evidence of the apple, you would be forced to either prove there was indeed an invisible apple or drop the assertion. Or admit to being intellectually dishonest.

I told you I wasn’t attacking god. How many ways do I have to say it? Go back and read what I wrote. What do you mean “divine reason for being?” What is that? How is a person supposed to know? And please don’t say “tune into their heart.” No. That’s vague nonsense.

Idolatry is looking at someone such as myself (or anyone) and thinking you know what my “divine mission” is. Idolatry is elevating anything in the universe to god-like status.

Carnal logic?? Logic of the flesh? Come on, do you ever think about these phrases before you use them? Disparaging intellect as idolatry? How do you expect to be taken seriously when you say things like that?

Again, please go read my article. I’ve addressed all those points in there. Why can’t you allow that there may be no god? I allow that there may be a god, but it can’t be proven, and therefore the concept is confusing and divisive and should be ignored until someone comes up with a better way to express and/or prove it.

If you want proof for a God figure, in a nutshell, prove that there is an entity not bound by the laws of time and space or the laws of the universe, that can also capriciously suspend the laws of the universe, and can have an effect on the affairs of men. Then I will believe you. Ask any rationalist and you will get the same answer. Ask a religious person, and all they have to offer is their personal subjectivity and that they “know” there is such a god.

You can define the rules and prove it in whatever way you want, as long as it’s repeatable and not subjective. But in reality, it’s virtually impossible. If it could be done, it would have already been done, given the intense focus of humanity on the subject [of religion] for its entire recorded history. While acknowledging that someday someone might come up with the answer, the law of averages says it is not likely to be you. So since you almost certainly can’t do it–why not give up the charade?

The “Box of materialism?” Blech. Define what’s “outside the box” and how you know, then we can talk. Otherwise you’re just asking others to live in your own solipsistic dream world. You are commenting and basing your life and belief on the universal unknown, which is the ultimate fools’ paradise.

With best and sincere regards for your humanity, if not your belief system, Sean

Perhaps one day you will experience subjectively & objectively (as the experience transends these limiting terms) a union with the Holy Spirit, a union with the presence of Jesus or another Master, and all of your vain arguments will come to not. I could take the time to research all of the codification of spiritual experiences that mankind have had throughout the ages and come up with a scientific hypothesis to explain these experiences or prove them (it will be done anyway, not my dharma), however for those who are not open to the spirit realm, it is a virtual waste of time. Entry into the Kingdom is not available through intellectual and material knowledge only. I can still appreciate your fighting “spirit” though…. would you agree it is all about a personal/collective example anyway?

Best to your Humanity and Divinity, as it is a Spirit/Matter Cosmos, David

David, Not a single answer to the points I’ve raised? That the best you can do? “You’ll find out someday, you’ll see.” “I’d research it but it’s not my dharma.” How convenient. You basically conceded the argument by default.

I’m surprised how easily you fold your tent. Thought you might actually engage your mind with me. Nice talking to you anyway. I’ve been finding out more and more lately that’s basically what theists do. Even when they see the argument is undeniable. You were never interested in a discussion, only to preach to me–the whole thing’s just too painful for you to face.

There ain’t no spirit world, the rescue boat ain’t coming. So make the most of the life that you have, David. And learn to face the unknowable and your inevitable and final death (as we all must do) with courage and fortitude. That’s the true spiritual path. Cheers, Sean

“ain’t no spirit world, the rescue boat ain’t coming…” I thought you have repeatedly claimed that you are open to the possibility of God, even though you feel it has no relevence in the world of men? So here you go again, “preaching” an atheistic dogma. You’ve won an argument in your own mind, now that’s delusional! I do not consider us arguing anyway, just sharing points of view…

I really do wish you all the best. You may dismiss this idea, however for the record Hilarion had mentioned that he has chelas who are Atheists and Agnostics who have rejected the nonsense and peversions they have seen in organized religion over many lifetimes, yet are students of truth and science, etc., and he works with them, as they often have a high level of attainment, etc. I am not “against” people who call themselves Atheists. I am a free thinker, and “found” the spiritual path on my own without having someone trying to convince me of anything. It would be most agreeable if “Atheists” would operate in the same spirit of openess to infinite possibilities that “Theists” allow them. Until then, happy trails- David

David, You’re so into dogma that you can’t tell the difference between a hypothesis and proof. You are clearly familiar with the impossibility of negative proof. So you take a comment I expressed as opinion or hypothesis (admittedly unprovable, but directed to your specific psychology) and use it to accuse me of being dogmatic. Of course there might be a spirit world. But I clearly don’t think so. And I certainly wouldn’t base my life on the possibility. After all, if it exists other than as fantasy, it’s just as likely to be hell as heaven. You have evidence of neither.

In the very next paragraph, you quote the dogma of Hilarion, a make-believe persona, as if it had special authority. In actual fact, you are simply quoting someone’s human writing and opinions.

You believe you are a free-thinker, but you are blinded by your own desperate desires for eternal life and your flirtation with imaginary perfected beings.

You continue to misstate my position. Once again, go read the article I directed you to. It’s clear you haven’t. Of course you don’t think you are arguing, because you don’t have any evidence to argue with–so like every other theist from the beginning of time, you rely on baseless assertions and false certitudes. If you want to remain remotely in the spirit of debate, knowledge and fair play, put up some evidence or concede.

Make peace with the unknowable. Accept the inevitability of your own death. Have some courage.

If against all odds and evidence you wake up on the other side, consider it a bonus round. You will live better and more fully if you act as if this is the only life you will ever, ever have.

At this point, you are clearly not open to evolving your position. Until that changes, this will be the last you’ll hear from me. I like to concentrate my energies on people who actually are interested in deep introspection, self-evaluation, and ultimately change. Right now, that doesn’t describe you. Sean

“deep introspection, self evaluation, ultimate change…” these points I can agreee with you on.

Go for it Sean, the Kingdom Within is where you will find your way back home. Not a God without, be it rock stars or scientific saviors or money or the approval of others, sex, drugs, etc.

For the record, I faced death early in life and have no fear of it. It is more of a joke. You can claim an intellectual win if you wish, I’m not in a competition. That stuff is empty. “We live and breath it” is one of your tag lines.

Is that not self evident proof of an intelligent force, living and breathing? See you on the road.

EPILOGUE: That’s typically the best theists can come up with. That’s how these discussions always end. Agree to disagree, declare they’re above the fray and immune to argument (which they, of course, started and then lost). Note the inevitable condescension toward the very spirit of debate: “That stuff is empty,” because they know they can’t compete on that playing field. I really wonder why they bother to write such letters at all. The answer must be that the dogma just rattles around their brains in the well-worn groove of a self-referential circular track paved with spiritual pride, and preaching it grants them some relief from that tedium. A temporary sense of superiority. But it can’t last–and no doubt must soon be preached again–for such is the effluvial nature of dogma.

I guess it’s also because the god-pushers “pity us” so much. We’re all supposedly lost and need the help of their sacred texts, rituals, and grandiose fantasies to find our way “home.” For the record, I AM home and my home is what I have previously termed “the vastness, reality, sufficiency, and spectacular physical transcendence of our natural universe.”


Comments (8 comments)

Jeff / November 30th, 2007, 11:55 am / #1

Very interesting and amusing. My highlight reel:

David: “Entry into the Kingdom is not available through intellectual and material knowledge only.” (He defeated you there, Sean :))

You: “You are commenting and basing your life and belief on the universal unknown, which is the ultimate fools’ paradise.” (nicely stated.)

AND this gem: “Of course you don’t think you are arguing, because you don’t have any evidence to argue with…” (the nut shell, IMO)

Burk / December 1st, 2007, 10:29 am / #2

This was a rather pathetic exchange, like many I have had as well. Theists know in some deep way that their position is intellectually empty, but of course that is not its original motivation anyhow. Yet they have been infected by the enlightenment and its criterion of reason for all knowledge, and thus their “truth” needs to be defended by reason, as best they can muster. Luther was ultimately more honest when he said simply that reason is the devil’s whore! This non-position leads to insecurity, which can be addressed several ways. One is increased devotion and abasement (e.g. Mother Theresa), but best of all is missionary work, getting others to agree with you. We all want others to agree with us, but among theists it really becomes pathological, and the more so the more extreme the system (e.g. Mormonism).

For my part, I am beginning to agree with David Sloan Wilson, that religion is so bereft of intellectual merit that we should just go on to the next level, treating it anthropologically, analyzing its evolutionary rationale and psychological motivations, while ignoring its theological bleatings/apologia. Religion is a fascinating subject, and shows that humans are truly a group-oriented species and a prime example of group selection in evolutionary terms. Whether the cohesion of the group has a rational foundation is of course immaterial, a long as it promotes functional ends. That is why I am so fascinated by your project to document the CUT shelter movement- it is going to be an amazing study of what animates a group like this, on the edge of human credulity.

Blessings – Burk

Infidel753 / December 2nd, 2007, 11:11 am / #3

If human reason is “carnal logic”, then is the knowledge attained by means of it “carnal knowledge”? :-)

the chaplain / December 3rd, 2007, 12:02 pm / #4

Thanks for sharing this exchange. I’m becoming more and more convinced that it is futile for atheists and theists to “debate” each other, as they cannot agree on the terms of the discussion. Nor should atheists allow theists to define the terms. This was illustrated beautifully in the exchange over the word, “atheism.” What gives theists the right to define us? The mere fact that they have controlled society for millenia? Tough cookies.

The arrows in the theists’ quivers have been shot so many times, they have disintegrated. They have no new arguments and, when the old ones fail, as they do every time, theists fall back on the subjective “witness of the spirit” dogma. Pretty pathetic fall back position for the dogma that’s supposed to provide objective bases for human morality, purpose, etc.

BlackSun / December 3rd, 2007, 1:12 pm / #5

Good points all, thanks. I agree this type of exchange is flogging a dead horse. But I keep getting the emails, each sent as if it was a completely original and devastating critique of atheism.

I like to respond to see if engaging them will at least spur some thought. Sadly, it usually ends up degenerating into something like this.

John Evo-Mid / December 5th, 2007, 12:55 am / #6

The “debate” is only futile if you expect the theist to have a sudden epiphany from the information you provide. You are adding to their knowledge. Maybe some day….

Ben Stone / December 8th, 2007, 11:19 am / #7

Thanks for sharing this with us Sean

Misha Vargas / December 12th, 2007, 7:03 am / #8

BlackSun, I really like that you use the term “our universe”, rather than “The Universe”. That small difference is very important, in my opinion.

“Our/this universe” leaves open the possibility of multiple universes and infinity. The term “The Universe”, in my reckoning, can lead to time-wasting assumptions during scientific debates. It is often used casually to mean “all of existence throughout all time and space”.

Oh, gosh. I just realized the etymology of universe. We really jumped the gun on naming and defining that time.

I’m blathering.

Kudos Sean.

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