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“The Golden Compass” December 27, 2007

Posted by sel4592 in atheism, belief, morals, religion.
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I just finished reading “The Golden Compass” and liked it much more than the movie. It does have some pretty heady comments on the value of religion and the power of an organized church (in this case the Catholic church). But more important I think are its arguments condemning poor parenting and the idea of “original sin.” Lyra’s (the main character) strength as a positive force in the story is in difference to very bad parents whose agendas go against the moral fabric of her own moral compass (interesting tie in to the title). It is because of their actions for the negative that at the end she decides to take a course to rectify things for the good.There is a direct correlation in the story to the idea of original sin as promulgated by the book of genesis. In this case the sin is directly related to the idea of puberty and the change from innocence to worldliness-or a sexual being. The idea of daemons in the book is an outward metaphor for this idea as once a child in Lyra’s universe reaches puberty, their daemon settles into one form. A direct correlation to our idea of childhood vs. adulthood. In Lyra’s world, a child knows little of sin, but once they reach adulthood and the power of the elemental particle called “dust” gains more strength, then they have become more of a sinful being. The overall search by Lyra’s father to discover the source of this “dust” is in a way a metaphor for us to find and destroy this idea of sin, an idea put forth by most organized religions and philosophies world wide.

All in all I think Philip Pullman should be commended for writing a story of such depth and insight and thinking that children are certainly smart enough to understand these arguments. I can see why the organized churches are upset–why on earth would they want children to think critically on the their own? It would be a death-knell for the church’s doctrine and hold on future generations.


The God Delusion December 19, 2007

Posted by sel4592 in atheism, belief, morals, religion.

I just finished the book.  Bear in mind that Dawkins is preaching to the choir here-I pretty much agree with everything he says.  A  salient point that he makes though, that I appreciate, because I don’t think many people have the guts to mention such things, is the fact that religious indoctrination is indeed a form of child abuse.  He is not talking about the fluff here-such as follow the ten commandments or go to Sunday school, but the fact that telling young children that if they sin they will go to hell and the ONLY way to be “Saved” is buy accepting JC as your saviour.  That stuff is cult brainwashing and most fundy churches do it.

The important point is that it is their privilege to decide that they shall think, and not their parents’ privilege to impose it by force majeure. And this, of course, is important when we reflect that children become the parents of the next generation, in a position to pass on whatever indoctrination may have moulded them.

I couldn’t agree more!

The first one. A manifesto of sorts. December 2, 2007

Posted by sel4592 in atheism, belief, morals.
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I believe that “belief” isn’t necessary to lead a healthy, happy, fulfilling life.  To me the word “belief” evokes the idea of trying to know something that has no basis in reality.  I prefer to use the word “know.”  Either I know or I don’t know.  My existence is determined on what is observable in the natural, existing universe (I look in the mirror, see myself, and know that I exist-I don’t need to believe that a god made me, because I don’t know that it exists, because I can’t observe it.).  If something is unknown, then it can be knowable if it is observable.  If it is not observable, and considered unknown or unknowable, then it can’t exist-for example: a god or gods.  

I must admit, I have been struggling with the concept of belief and religion my whole life, as I am sure most people who have a brain, and ask questions do.  In the past couple of years the struggle has consistently filtered and focused down to one thing-that the struggle is just that-a struggle, and that it is unnecessary because, the truth is: that the truth is.  I can’t honestly believe in anything that I can’t know or observe and that the concept in believing in something that is unknown or unknowable is anathema to my very existence.  Constantly walking around, asking why this or why that, has NOT helped me, because there is no why-there just is.  Confusing I know, but the fact is, that the wonder of life far exceeds anything that any religion could try to explain.  And trying to find an explanation through belief in some silly unknowable concept, pales in the explanation that it (existence) has come about in such a wonderfully complex set of knowable circumstances trumps anything any religion has to offer. 

What I mean by atheism:

So, I am an atheist: which means that I do not believe in a god or gods.  As opposed to a theist, which is someone who believes in a god or gods.  Simply put that is all I need to be to be an atheist, but I will take it a step further-I also do not believe in the super-natural, which means that I simply know what is in the natural universe and what is observable to me or anyone else in this universe.  Science is the medium by which we can determine the existence of something, and until something is said to be observable and can be subjected to the scientific method then it does not exist.

Ok, you may say: the universe is a big place, some say it is infinite, therefore there must be lots of things in the universe that I cannot observe, therefore much of the universe does not exist.  And I might agree with that.  Until I can observe something, for me it does not exist.  But what I can observe-a galaxy 100 million light years away, for instance, does exist, because it is observable.  This is an old philosophical argument, of course, but none-the-less, true.

What is religion:

Religion is a man-made philosophical and moral construct used to provide many different needs for a pre-scientific society.  Simply put it is a method by which humankind tries to provide reason for its existence.  Religion is an old construct that has no place in a society that now employs the scientific method.  Religion is also used to artificially codify our moral laws and provide a framework to exist in society.  One need not have religion to have morality, as true morality is a construct of conscience and is part of our evolution.

Of course, you can agree with me, disagree, I don’t care.  Actually I do not pretend to be an expert on anything.  I would even invite you to help me clarify, if that’s what you want to do.