By John O.
The opinions expressed in articles by the author, are his personal beliefs only.
They are NOT necessarily intended to convey what readers must accept.
Each is encouraged to prove all things for themselves.
By anyone's standard, eternity is a long time. In our time-space continuum it would go on ad infinitum, and in the continuum of thought, it simply IS. But it never stops. It just keeps growing.
Rene Descartes was a 17th century philosopher, and is considered by many to be a father of modern philosophy, because - over the years - his thinking has simply proved to be logical, common sense, and what he espoused was stuff we would consider to be "self evident." Like all of us, Descartes thought about God and eternity. "I think, therefore I am," he once said. If we examined eternity, he figured, we'd have to look at God and immortality as well. He wrote a lot of books, and one was called "The Principles of Philosophy" in 1644, and he argued against many established "Christian" attitudes. He said that salvation was not attainable by works and that man progressed ever upwards as he continued to seek the truth by using his mind. It's no wonder the Vatican was continually furious over this guy and his ideas.
Since truth is a product of reasoning, this then would necessitate the use of our minds to focus, think, and reason out problems for ourselves, and not take our minds to the nearest preacher, hireling, or cult teacher for the answers. But Descartes further reasoned that behind all creation there was a power of intelligence and resultant morality that made it all work. His thinking fell in line exactly with what Einstein and his fellow scholars derived over seventy years ago. Namely, there is some intelligence behind the matter/energy that we see, and this thought/intelligence is immortal - since the energy it produces has the same characteristics.
Descartes clashed with the Church on many issues (much the same as he would do today), when he said that our behaviour depended on our thinking will, rather than some form of bestowed "grace." Catholic theology had their theory of God, and Descartes thought differently. This open view of "theology" was also held by Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian. Since they both believed in God and immortality, this led to the conclusion that if we cannot have a perception of these two things, then there's no reason to be moral.
If we want to take that further, then the logical derivative would be if there's no "God" (or however you view It) and there's no immortality, then we can all live as we choose, with the result that there will eventually be total chaos on the planet. The end result of this thinking will lead to the total destruction of mankind and all life, as now, everyone lives for themselves alone. If this happens, then there's been no growth, and we'll start all over again in some distant time, and repeatedly keep killing ourselves in all of the future ages that our mother planet will spawn. Nothing will ever change . . . ad infinitum.
Therefore, if we completely throw out the idea of any moral imperative (or God) and dismiss the idea of immortality, then from the historical perspective we will never have any stimulus to grow or progress, as there's nothing beyond this life. Like Paul said, "If we have hope only in this life, then we're all men most miserable."
From the many I've spoken to about this subject, a good majority seem more agnostic than atheistic. We all know (or have met) decent people who have claimed to be atheists. In this discussion here, and these are my opinions, I'd like to make a clear cut separation between the agnostic and the atheist. The agnostic can have better moral values than some conventional Christians, and they admit that don't know the validity of a higher power or not. Many of us believe in that higher power, while others claim that they simply "don't know." I have wondered if many an "atheist" is - in reality - merely an agnostic or a freethinker.
At one time, religious folks that I knew, regarded me as an atheist, simply because I did not embrace the "Theist" theory. "Theos" is the Greek word for God. This theory states that there is "a" God and He is either: (1) One God - the Unitarian approach, or (2) Two Gods - the duality, JW, Mormon, Worldwide Church of God approach, or (3) Three Gods (in one) - the Trinitarian, Catholic, conventional approach. Since others and myself didn't agree with God being definable, we were all classed as Anti-Theists, or A-theists, or "Atheists."
Since there are undoubtedly many approaches to this philosophy, the only way to judge anyone is by the old, standard test . . . by their fruits. In this subject are many different viewpoints and approaches as well. Check out the atheist websites. The "American Atheist" site claims they're atheist because they don't believe in a God. Well, neither do I. I believe in God (however you view Him), but not in "a" God. Does this make me an atheist? Many people on these websites may indeed be agnostic, and lead lives that are totally in accord with mankind and nature. But, these sites do have something with which I totally agree. They openly expose the hypocrisy in "churches."
Where the problem appears to lie is NOT in the agnosticism, but in the area of where man has totally rejected any higher power and calls the shots himself, and deliberately damages anyone in the path. While many who call themselves atheists do conduct themselves in a moral manner, unfortunately many don't. The perception of conduct here concerns only the latter type of atheists who also professes "no morals" except their own. This is the type of behaviour that has proved damaging in world affairs, as well as in church and cult leadership.
Over the years, many of us (ex Cultees) have discussed how cults (and governments) can do the things they do if they supposedly believed in a God. If we are to judge them by their fruits, then the answer is obvious. They do NOT believe in any form of a higher power or moral code, and their conduct is geared strictly toward their own edification, even at the expense of people's stability, finances, comfort, and even lives. By their fruits, these people are atheistic but with a totally immoral agenda. For example, we can see this conduct in the past and present dictators of the world. The past horror stories that have come from Germany and Russia, and the present ones from Iraq and China are legendary. There is not only aberrant behaviour here, but rampant cruelty as well.
If we are to take this type of immoral atheistic philosophy further, then this thinking forms the basis of what's called "Dialectical Materialism," which is the Marxist basis for Communism. If ANYONE has a doubt as to the validity of any immoral atheistic system, then please look at the remnants of Russia, etc., and the human slavery and oppression now in China. This manner of theism acknowledges no higher power than the materialistic one, and that people's minds are molded by the material environment. This eventually leads to national destruction and all the consequent human suffering. Atheistic, totalitarian societies always crumble first.
If we examine many church systems, don't we find the same dialectical materialism in them that's seen in the communist and nazi systems of government? In these totalitarian governmental systems, there's no democracy and authority is always from "the top down." There's always unswerving loyalty to the party leadership, with never any questions asked as to the leader's decisions. We see the heavy burdens of taxes and deprivation of personal beliefs, ideals and individual possessions. There are also, the bullying tactics, the oppression of freedoms, cruelty galore, and the different forms of punishment administered to anyone who does not conform. There is also NO place for independent thinking. And these government systems are admittedly atheistic. These are the fruits of that type of immoral atheism, where man sets himself up to be his own god and acknowledges no higher power than himself.
Shouldn't we then question all churches and cults with the same operational tactics? Can't we then logically derive that, since the fruits are all the SAME, many essential church behavioral characteristics must be the same as any immoral atheistic system? In other words, many churches with all their folderol, and all cults are fundamentally atheistic.
The existence of some form of God cannot be derived from books, preachers, or philosophy. But wise people have always looked to nature to answer the question of whether there's a higher power or not. Like Thomas Paine said in AGE OF REASON, nature reveals the presence of an intelligence beyond ours, and that intelligence formats all creation into a particular formula or manifestation. Granted, that Infinite, Creative, Intelligence is NOTHING like what we've all been taught, and if we are to try and understand It and grow, then we'll all need to continually think on the subject. Although I've often referred to that Intelligence as "It," this obviously embodies all aspects of thought, including male, female, and neuter . . . everything.
If the spirit of atheism is in the hierarchy of churches (and certainly in cults), then does this account for major faults, damage and almost sadistic cruelty that are produced by involvement in many of these organizations? First, there's the delusion that "God" is only revealed by the idea of whatever that particular religion thinks He is - with all their own laws, rules, etc. - in other words, that's the materialistic approach which invents its own God. If a person ever leaves that group in disgust, aren't they all too often so disillusioned that they throw out any belief in a Higher Power altogether? Either way, the spirit of non-belief has won its victory and produced a false concept, or no concept, of any revealed truth which could be derived by one's logic and the moral, common sense thinking that is so condemned by churches.
The spirit of complete atheism has done a thorough job to the psyche/souls of many people, and helped turn away their thinking from the further seeking of a higher spiritual existence. Whether it does that through materialism or religion, the result is invariably the same . . . namely, the instilled belief that there is actually NO Higher Power and there are NO consequences for our untoward actions.
With proper education, as roughly exemplified in the case of some of the Quaker folks, then the concept of God is left to the individual to find for himself. People among this group (and others) find God with their own searching, and look around them in nature for the undeniable evidence of some intelligent power that is the "Originating Thought" behind the physical and vibratory manifestation of "matter" in our time-space universe.
When the "no God" concept is left unchecked, then man reverts to animalistic behaviour and will eventually destroy himself. At this stage of his evolution, man is not equipped to launch out on his own and carve out his own destiny. From past history, he's obviously not yet mature enough. He certainly appears to need some sort of guidance from a higher source, otherwise the planet and its people are going to continue their predictable downslide to annihilation. If man's intellect is the highest thing that we can aspire to, then God help us all, as we've already seen the results of that ignorance. This is not saying that man creates or invents a God to lead his destiny, but only that man probably needs to acknowledge the existence of something higher than himself. Man then chooses to "think" and then walk his way to a better existence by allowing the moral energy of the Highest Source to inspire and direct his actions.
On the other hand, man does not need a church or group (which has been our past history) to dictate a God to him, and for them in turn to start teaching as to what this God demands from us in terms of obedience, offerings, and loyalty. If, as we've discussed, there is that Creative Intelligence behind all matter, then we don't have to worship It. We simply synchronize ourselves with It, and align ourselves to It's principles. It'll do the rest.
Many concepts of atheism like to conveniently ignore many things with regards to the working of a Higher Intelligence. Just to mention a couple . . . how about life, logic, and karma? We don't breath ourselves, we don't conjure up our thoughts, nor do we function our bodies. Something breathes us, thinks through us, and works our bodies. If some atheists believe that this is all done from one's own intellect, then let them ask where the thought came from originally that gave the intellect? Once again, the Infinite, Creative, Intelligence doesn't punish you if you don't accept It's working. That's why many uncaring people, who lack any respect for others, don't believe in anything higher than themselves. Since there's no almighty power to immediately "zot" them, they continue to think that their illogic is sound. The Infinite, Creative, Intelligence only exists to be recognized. Without that recognition, nothing is possible. But with our acceptance of It, anything can happen.
When it all comes down to it, the whole concept of a Higher Intelligence (or God) Vs atheism boils down to plain, simple common sense. This is why we have minds. These minds - in one sense - connect us with the Divine Mind. Both are self aware, both can think, and both are capable of forming creative thoughts. This mind is the ONE thing that distinguishes us from the rest of our planet's creation. We have the ability to be "self aware," and as such, we can reason for ourselves. While it's NOT good just to believe in something because of emotion, it IS proper to accept what's logical. We must decide.
The opinion that we all sprang from nothing and no intelligence whatsoever doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Common sense dictates that something always is initially produced by an intelligent thought. But what about that Intelligence and where did it come from?
The immortality concept now gives rise to the question of where that Infinite, Creative, Intelligence came from. Since this cannot be answered with our view of the time-space continuum, then we must revert back to the only other (and most possibly) LOGICAL answer. We're dealing with more than one continuum, and, from what we've said, that originating, intelligent, creative continuum knows no time or space. It can exist only of Itself and that's something we've called the continuum of thought, for want of a better definition. And in that continuum, time and space can only exist if they are "thought" about. Otherwise, everything else is in the present tense with no past or future, i.e. eternal. This - in one way - explains eternity, and that all creation can only be the outbreathings of some type of originating, intelligent, Divine Thought, or any other way that we might wish to view It.
God cannot be viewed from anything we can conjure up in our minds. God, must be "sensed." And that type of sensing comes from a different level of reality. Many past writers like Walt Whitman, Jacob B"hme, Roger Bacon, Richard Bucke, and many, many others (see Bucke's book on "Cosmic Consciousness") have revealed, that in their experiences, that God must be "experienced" rather than discerned in any way that we know. That's why so many have said to me: "I cannot visualize a God, therefore He doesn't exist." But, I don't think God works that way. God belongs to another type of thinking, and that's way beyond what we can envision.
No one is holding out some type of "God image" here, as that's impossible. Neither am I suggesting the conventional form of "begging" prayer. All that's being suggested here, is that if we are self aware at all, then it stands to reason that there must be some type of Intelligence BEHIND all things, and that Intelligence has the originating thinking ability to conceptualize, form, create, inspire and sustain.
Granted, it's impossible to put a label on "God," but men have tried and that's where the problem comes in. I think that many atheists (so called) are really agnostics or freethinkers, and that's healthy because it shows a continued searching. Let's face it. None of us have arrived, and we're all on the path - each in our own way. But the complete atheist thinks he's already arrived. We can always look at the arrogance of cult leaders, and what they THINK they know, if we need an example.
I DO think many "atheists" have a moral code, and maybe sub-consciously they believe in the karmic principles and they do live in peace with others. These comments are NOT pointed in that direction. They focus on the "atheist" with no morals, no scruples, no concept of karma, and no love of fellow man. It is focused, not only on world leaders (plus whatever politicians), but on religious leaders who have damaged lives, ruined peoples' finances, begotten cruel and perverse behaviour, and destroyed people physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. THESE atheists, or antichrists, are the ones who ought to be wearing the big red flags.
It's my feeling that cult leaders and their minions who stay in their positions of dominion over people, are nothing more than tares who have no concept of any type of god or the universal principles of love and decency. They conduct themselves in the worldly spirit of cruel atheism with no regard for human feelings and no thought for the consequences of their personal actions. The inhuman behaviour that has been well documented on this site reflects the diabolical fruits, and that's how people judge them.
My opinion: All tares are atheists, but NOT all atheists are tares.
Like Jesus said: "Judge righteous judgment."
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