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May 16, 2006


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Tao and Brian

Extraordinary link Tao! Really flags up the dangers of belief structures and the capacity of human minds to develop and impose cultic dogmatic structures that show little resemblance to the scriptures they point to for their origins.

I am currently reading some Robert Anton Wilson around these subject areas. Here are some of his feelings. I must qualify this by saying, 'Do I believe in what Robert Anton Wilson is saying?' If so then I am on my way to being a cultist. If however I say that what Wilson and Gribbin have said resonates with my own deeply felt understanding and development then that seems more integrated and sane.

'This remark was made, in these very words, by John Gribbin, physics editor of New Scientist magazine, in a BBC-TV debate with Malcolm Muggeridge, and it provoked incredulity on the part of most viewers. It seems to be a hangover of the medieval Catholic era that causes most people, even the educated, to think that everybody must "believe" something or other, that if one is not a theist, one must be a dogmatic atheist, and if one does not think Capitalism is perfect, one must believe fervently in Socialism, and if one does not have blind faith in X, one must alternatively have blind faith in not-X or the reverse of X.
My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence. The more certitude one assumes, the less there is left to think about, and a person sure of everything would never have any need to think about anything and might be considered clinically dead under current medical standards, where absence of brain activity is taken to mean that life has ended.

My attitude is identical to that of Dr. Gribbin and the majority of physicists today, and is known in physics as "the Copenhagen Interpretation," because it was formulated in Copenhagen by Dr. Niels Bohr and his co-workers c. 1926-28. The Copenhagen Interpretation is sometimes called "model agnosticism" and holds that any grid we use to organize our experience of the world is a model of the world and should not be confused with the world itself. Alfred Korzybski, the semanticist, tried to popularize this outside physics with the slogan, "The map is not the territory." Alan Watts, a talented exegete of Oriental philosophy, restated it more vividly as "The menu is not the meal."

Belief in the traditional sense, or certitude, or dogma, amounts to the grandiose delusion, "My current model" -- or grid, or map, or reality-tunnel -- "contains the whole universe and will never need to be revised." In terms of the history of science and knowledge in general, this appears absurd and arrogant to me, and I am perpetually astonished that so many people still manage to live with such a medieval attitude. '

I think it was also Wilson who posed the neologism, "sumbunall" to mean "some, but not all." It fills the need for a word that does not impart absolute equivalency, like the now famous, "is," As in, this person is a Christianist, or these people are dangerous. Sumbunall of us are idiots.

Your comment is a good one too Nick...and same for Edward.

Here's another funny one for Edward: " YAAFM "
More info here: http://www.zipperfish.net/toons.php

This may be off the subject but I got to thinking about the above blog and the point that was made, basically if God, by his immensity, far exceeds all human understanding, indeed, how are we to ascertain what His will is? Obviously, it must be written down and promulgated by the church, then you get, "GODS WORD!" which can of course be interpreted any way. The Native Indians made an observation of the white man's holy book; "Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book?".....
And then there is God or rather the Godfather of the Old Testament, who is the leader of mass murders of men, women and children. Which of course is the Biblical god, the god written by superstitious, uneducated, ignorant people claiming to speak for God.
But here is what is just as petty and psychotic which Christians believe:
When God says, 'Love me of your own free will, not because you are being forced to (that would be sour love)... but mind you, if you don't you will fry in hell forever and ever'.. OR: Son, i told you not to ride your bike out in the street. I know you are a child, (as we are all children of God and need guidance, we all attain free will, and have a curious nature which is healthy)but do not ride your bike out in that street again. Me, being your 'father' am looking out for you and know what is best... Now go play'.... time goes by... 'Son, you rode your bike in the street again, so i must punish you for your own benefit. So let me bring you in the shed and torch your flesh.... and since i love you so very much, and i have a magic wand, im going to keep you alive forever so as to keep a fire burning around you as you continiously FOREVER, get torched.....' Boy, what an AWESOME, LOVING GOD the Christians serve... this hypothetical is simply borrowed exactly from the Bible... and this is what people actually think will happen and what preachers preach... How uninspiring. It grieves me people actually believe that, cause the Bible says so.. you can never win with a Christian, cause they have, THE WORD... So i stopped going to church altogether... the same old pitch. These are the same people if they knew they could get away with it would still burn women as witches! And all is either God/or Satan.. that as i have said is an over-simplification. chris

Yeah, but -- don't be so complacent that you, as a progressive, know what "God's will" (or, what is right) ISN'T.

Andrew Sullivan says that "religious doctrines need to be translated into moral arguments, applicable to any citizen with good will and an open mind." Without any traditionally religious background (I'm as churchless, synagogue-less and guru-free as you) --


(I call it being a spiritual nomad)


-- I made a moral argument against abortion based on the golden rule (you wouldn't have wanted your mother to do that to you) and "our civic religion, individualism."


(No, I don't think early abortion should be illegal. But I think the culture needs to change about it, and religion is not required -- only awareness, gratitude and wonder.)

Wow - that was a mouthful. Your title is what caught my attention, and content kept my intrigue. I do not doubt your statements that Sullivan is "clearly a nice guy" His choices in lifestyle are not to be judged by anyone walking this earth at present. I agree- we as humans have "limited, fallible human minds and souls." But, that is NOT what keeps anyone from knowing God. I do not refer to a Catholic God nor an Islamic God. Each soul is led to their choice of religion, and is not to be judged for said choice. All religion teaches tolerance and love for one another. I agree with Borse, -- belonging to the Church-- and not it belonging to me. To clearly understand that statement, one must look further. A doctrine of a church is not up for debate. It is not comparable to the by-laws of AAA or an Eagle's Lodge. A religion is a formal Doctrine which is to be believed and followed. That is why it is a choice to belong to a church. We as members don't get to vote on which commandments we choose to uphold- it is not debateable. That is faith. Blind faith - the belief in what is not seen nor tangible. Sullivan and others may be missing something wonderful by missing faith.

Now I can tell you that I have been a student of religion for the past twenty years and have sat at the feet of great theologians to gleen from their knowledge. Would that make my thoughts any more or less thought-provoking than if I were a teenager just coming into a new religion?

We have many gifts in life - one of these is faith.

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