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Andrew Zak Williams discusses this week’s New Statesman article in which prominent atheists told him
Tags: Secularism Atheism Religion
I regularly thank my parents for bringing me up with no belief systems; so for me the idea of whether 'god' exists or not just doesn't come up - so I can't call myself an atheist, because that would define me by my relationship to theism.
Looking wider, it might be useful to separate out the concepts of god, faith, ritual and religion; which appeal to different individual and collective real human needs:
* 'god' fulfills a need for an explanation of how and why the world is the way it is and where it came from; starting from ignorance and terror in the face of the wonders of the cosmos. Open-minded study can and does answer these needs far more plausibly than a god-creator.
* 'faith' responds to the need to belong to something greater than oneself, especially in the face of the utter meaninglessness and puniness of any individual person.
Human societies have invented and invested in faith as a hope that if we do X, then Y will happen; and then saying '...well, Y happened, therefore doing X made it happen'. er, no... I derive deep and powerful joy from the sense of deep time and deep space, the inter-connectedness of everything and my place in it (what is more amazing than that the materials of our bodies were made in the hearts of stars?). Don't need god for this.
* 'ritual' serves a group-cohesion role, providing comfort to the members of a group that they are safe and are 'on of us'. It reaffirms the obligations between and within groups (I'm inside, I feel safe, you're outside, you're not one of us). But the focus of ritual doesn't have to be god.
* 'religion' is the organisation and interpretations that build up over time like silt around the cryptic and clearly-human written statements made in every religious (or political) belief system...all the bizarre panoply of rules, words/clothes/foods etc that people have to use or to avoid, instructions etc - these are all about expressing power and conformity within groups and against other people outside the group. These interpretations can grow around any belief, not just religions.
So we're left with the need for belonging, solidarity, collective engagement and communion with others; and we certainly don't need religious belief systems for that - trade unions, community groups, choirs, youth clubs - anything is good!
The enemy is not religion or god or belief itself...it's the belief that YOUR belief is the only / true one and that you have a right to impose that one anybody else.
Might your potential role as 'sexy gorilla' not be wishful thinking? People often misrepresent themselves, if not others. Most people do it every day, at least once. The view that sexual partners are prone to say that they do not want sexual activity, when they actually want it, but are trying to find out how eager is their partner, is the stuff of popular legend. The emotive subject of religion, that affects not only one's sex life, but also one's pocket, in fact, one's whole life direction, is much more liable to misrepresentation by personal opinion. So any religious comment that contains a personal pronoun is very liable to be misrepresentation. That is symptomatic of the very fallible human nature that religion is premised upon! The book says that the human heart is 'utterly deceitful', and people go right ahead and prove it correct.
What is presented here the classic false argument of appeal to authority, argumentum ad verecundiam. But the authority quoted is authority not in the field of expertise of the person quoted! In a more sensible and sane age than ours, a certain Charles Darwin wrote privately that his opinion on theism was no more valid than anyone else's. There is no reason to suppose that a certain Albert Einstein's view of same is any more qualified. In Einstein's day, his personal view on religion was not taken very seriously, because it was then widely considered that science and religion did not even impinge on each other's fields of study. Nothing at all has happened in science to alter that view, no matter what anyone may say. It is modern doltery, to be honest, to suppose that they can conflict. The idiocy of asking "Who created God?" was never seen in those days- people supposed that deity was outside time and space. They still do, but stubbornly pretend that deity has to belong within space-time. Circularity reigns today.
The opinions of people like Hawking and Dawkins when they venture outside their own fields are no more valid than those of your hairdresser, or yours or mine. But the media, and the capitalism that supports it, lap up these 'expert' views, and we lemmings run after them, squeaking with delight. What is not publicised is the high incidence of ordinary scientists, usually biologists and physicists, ironically enough, who are believers. Believers of advanced education are more likely to be scientists than arts people, in my experience. Maybe some find that embarrassing?
If anything counts in this otherwise silly project of quoting scientists, it is whether great scientific minds can be religious, as well as the less exalted yet very competent ones one finds in laboratories and educational establishments. And they plainly can. Darwin corresponded at length with botanist, evolutionist and convinced Presbyterian, Asa Gray, who likewise saw no conflict in science and faith. Darwin had this life-long friend in mind when he wrote: 'It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent theist and an evolutionist.' The Einstein who is so adored by skeptics hung on his lab wall portraits of three of his heroes- Newton, Faraday and James Clark Maxwell. As well he might (and as well we might, as all our lives would be very different without their findings). Newton was the first great unifier in physics; Maxwell the second; and Faraday was probably the greatest experimental scientist of all. And all three of them were theists, and very convinced ones, at that. If today's prominent scientists are not often theists, that may be much more to do with patronage and funding. Just a bit sinister, maybe.
As Sting says, "Be yourself, no matter what they say." Be an Englishman in New York. Not a lemming. Though maybe a gorilla, if you're lucky.
"A drunken, violent husband who becomes sober and peaceable. A 'Kevin' teenager who becomes co-operative and useful. A prison inmate who gives up crime. Happens every day."
Are you honestly claiming that God must have altered their personalities for the good of everyone else, thus interfering with their free will?
The claim is that God alters their personalities for the good of everyone else by making use of their free will.
I don't wonder why atheist "choose" not to believe in God. http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/
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Flashbuck, you are dead wrong. Einstein did not believe in god. This is what Einstein said about people like you who lie about his beliefs:
"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
We are all agnostics. Not one of us knows whether or not there is a god. But what seperates an atheist from a theist is what they believe. We atheist believe there is no god based on the lack of evidence, and a theist believe's in god because they were brainwashed froma very young age. See the difference?
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What on earth are you talking about? Einstein was very clear about what he meant when he talked about the God he believed in.
Einstein believed in a God who created the universe, and he said as much many times. Basically, his God is the author or the architect of the universe, responsible for its existence and design...
Einstein was not an atheist:
"I'm absolutely not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books." (Interview with G.S. Viereck in Glimpses of the Great, 1930)
So... according to Einstein, who explicitly states he's not an atheist, the universe is like a library filled with books, which of course must have had a conscious author. Geddit?
Game, set and match to Flashbuck.
God: the ultimate placebo.
Keir, perhaps the irony was your intent? You appear to think you're being clever, but all you did is make my point for me.
The word "god" is so infinitely elastic and all-encompassing, yet simultaneously arbitrarily specific, that its intended meaning cannot be clearly understood on a simple reading.
What does Joe the Plumber mean by the word 'god'?
How about Shirley MacClaine?
Flashbuck, the sad thing is that you think this is a game at all, not to mention that you think you've won something. lol
I challenge you to point out where I said Einstein was an atheist, and then to explain to me why you're so eager to respond to me as if I did say that.
What I actually did say is that you're being utterly disingenuous by pretending that Einstein used "god" to mean anything even close to how most laymen use it. They're not even in the same galaxies together, much less the same ballpark.
(Incidentally, while I don't claim Einstein was an atheist "by any given standard", he did, in fact, describe himself as an atheist from certain perspectives---e.g. a Jesuit priest. So, don't pretend all the quotes are on the god-belief side. Einstein was seemingly some hybrid sort of agnostic/deist/pantheist; he definitely was not a theist. (I suppose that *technically* would make him an atheist ("not theist"), simply by word form---but not by traditional meaning.))
To help out some of these commenters.
Atheist. Theist. An atheist is not a theist. A theist is one who does believe in a theistic God. An atheist is one who isn't that.
Doesn't mean he believes there is no God. Simply that he doesn't accept that there is.
"The word "god" is infinitely elastic and all-encompassing, yet... arbitrarily specific... its intended meaning cannot be clearly understood..."
Strewth! Talk about wriggling! You take the biscuit. You really do.
The word God, as used by Einstein and many others, including theists & deists, clearly denotes that we're talking about the creator of the universe. In other words, some kind of super-duper supernatural all powerful or at least very very powerful conscious being: The Grand Architect, Designer, Author, Creator and Sustainer.
Stop wriggling, loser.
atheism and theism refers to BELIEF
agnosticism refers to KNOWLEDGE
Agnosticism is not some middle ground between belief and disbelief. You are either with belief or without belief, just as one is either with cancer or without cancer--there is no middle ground. I'm not sure why people cannot grasp such a simple concept.
I BELIEVE there are no gods, but I do not KNOW that there are no gods.
I believe that my old babysitter is still alive, but I do not know that she is still alive. I also believe that Barack Obama ate breakfast today, but I do not know whether he did or not. Pretty simple, if you ask me.
How many gods do non-believers who choose to identify as agnostics believe in? Zero. A big fat zero.
It baffles me how theists can say they believe in god but don't know for sure, but if an atheist says he/she believes or disbelieves but doesn't know for sure, that person, oddly enough, isn't really an atheist.
These semantic games are really immature red herrings, imo.
Great article, btw.
At everone saying Einstein was an atheist or agnostic...Einstein condsidered himself a Deist. Dawkin's likes to take Einstein out of context and make him look like an atheist but nothing could be further from the truth.
@ FLASHBUCK....that statement really doesn't say much towards the argument posited by Sam because Einstein also didn't believe in a personal god and stated theis emphatically. And his belief in "spinoza's god" was completely void of any religious literature.
Wish this article was longer as I'm sure between all those people more meaningful points were made.
I prefer to use the term "new athiest" for my baby.
There seems to be a general confusion of what "agnostisism" means. An Agnostic isn't nessesaraly a person who havn't yet decided what to believe about God. Agnostisism is the position that one can not know whether a God exists or not. Agnosticism deals with claims about knowledge, while atheism deals with belief(lack of). Hence, one can be an agnostic theist(or deist) or agnostic ateist.
@ RICARDO...what you stated is a case of semantic gymnastics. Until evidence is shown for a position, one isn't required to believe in another's statement. So I'm an atheist it's not that i "believe" there isn't a god or gods etc. I don't believe in any gods or myths put forward because of lack of evidence. So can you see now how your statement is just a semantic issue?
Existence is not a creation by anybody, there is no need for anybody to begin it, because there is no beginning and there is no end.
And remember, if it had any beginning, then there would certainly be an end.
Every beginning is a beginning of an end.
Every birth is the beginning of death.
Have you ever thought that God will not solve the question?
On the contrary, the question will be pushed a step back: who created God?
If there was somebody already to begin it, then you cannot call it the beginning, somebody was already there.
Do you see the simple arithmetic?
Any hypothesis that does not destroy the question is absolutely useless.
Any answer that keeps on pushing the question further back but does not touch it at all, is not the answer.
There is no need of any creator because that creator will require another creator, and you will fall into an absurd regress.
Existence is autonomous, it exists on its own.
It is not limited in any way; it is unlimited, infinite and eternal.
There is no beginning, no end.
The whole existence is intelligent, caring, compassionate, loving, but it is not a person.
You don't have to worship it, you don't have to pray to it.
Existence does not write any scriptures and does not give any commandments.
Existence does not tell you what to do and what not to do.
Existence is absolutely non-judgmental.
It is as compassionate to the sinner as to the saint, it makes no difference, because in the eyes of existence everything that is natural is beautiful.
It is continuously evolving towards higher peaks and higher peaks; it is continuously fathoming depths beyond depths.
There are skies beyond skies; there is no end to existence, it has no boundary.
When you were not here, it was there.
When you will not be here, it will be here.
We come and go; we are just waves in this vast ocean of existence.
We come and go, existence remains.
Existence remains always in the present.
And to find that which remains is the ultimate truth.
Open your eyes!
Live it, love it, enjoy it.
There is nothing beyond it.
There is no person as God; all personality is human projection.
God simply is not there, so there is no question of atheism or theism.
When you come to reality there is no negativity, no positivity.
The whole world of polarities is transcended.
But the mind cannot conceive how contradictions can meet, how polarities can be one.
But in existence they are meeting, they are one.
Reality is herenow.
Life is all there is.
Osho – The God Conspiracy
Speak for yourself. I don't say I believe there is no god, I say I know there is no god ... just like I say I know there are no leprechauns, I know there is no santa claus, I know there is no tooth fairy, etc. etc.
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@ Jason - this is a comment piece. The article which it's commenting on is in this week's New Statesman - that's where the atheists give their reasons why they don't believe in God.
I like the author's line - "if you have blind faith, what are the chances you're going to see the light?" Yet evangelical Christians, fed on an intellectual diet of pure faith, claim that very thing.
'It baffles me how theists can say they believe in god but don't know for sure'
That may not be the case. A theist may be merely unable to prove that a deity exists, while being personally convinced. The reason for this is that 'knowledge', such as it is, is ultimately personal- and ultimately, nobody else's business. One can only say that there is experience, and there is a choice of making sense of it, or not.
'but if an atheist says he/she believes or disbelieves but doesn't know for sure, that person, oddly enough, isn't really an atheist.'
That isn't at all odd. Anyone who says that there is no deity must be able to prove it. That's impossible, so in formal terms, everyone is agnostic.
But theism is possible in informal terms (that cannot be proved by formal means checkable by all) because personal experience may give cause for it. Atheism, otoh, is impossible in informal terms. One cannot experience the absence of deity. One can only lack experience of deity. Absence of experience is not experience of absence. This latter logic may well be annoying, even infuriating, for those who would like to lay claim to atheism; but it is unavoidable.
Those who wish to oppose theism must apply logic and data to the rationale of theists. The ball is their court, should they choose to play. This task can be a very difficult one. If a family member reforms morally overnight, with cause stated to be adoption of a faith, there may be not much that other family members and friends will accept as a cause other than that stated, and may take that change as sufficient reason for theism. The proof of the pudding tends to outweigh every theoretical consideration.
@Keir - I'll skip over all of the compounding negatives, which makes reading your post extremely awkward, and get right to your silliest comment - "Those who call themselves atheist do nothing but prove themselves angry theists".
You're not the first person to falsely claim that atheists are angry, but you take it to a new level when you claim they're not even atheists after all, but actually theists. Stunningly nonsensical.
Your next not-quite-as-absurd-statement-but-pretty-darn-close is that "theism is based on personal experience". The decision to believe or disbelieve is certainly "personal" since it's your one and only brain doing the believing, but it's not based on any "experience". What experience out there makes the case for theism? There is nothing to witness, nothing to test, nothing to verify, which only leaves one with personal bias. That is pretty much where religion is today - billions of people who simply want to believe. Religion is based on personal superstition, not personal experience. Big difference.
'all you did is make my point for me.'
Only if your point was that scientists can believe in a very non-nebulous, personal deity. Western atheists might like to get pencil and paper and go around their homes noting down all the applications of theist Faraday's discoveries in their possession.
The science vs. debate is truly crass and infantile- not to say mendacious. It's time to move on.
A man of meditation knows there is no God.
God is a need for the mind, because the mind cannot conceive infinite, eternal things.
It can only conceive very limited things.
The mind cannot understand that which is beyond words; it can understand only that which is linguistically, logically right.
It has no intelligence of its own; it is a memory system.
You feed it certain information, it will keep it on record.
Whenever you want, it will supply it.
An intelligent man's mind is capable of containing all the information that is in all the libraries of the world - it is almost infinite.
Mind is simply a collection of memories of the past, and - out of those memories - imagination about the future.
The mind can succeed only as far as science is concerned, it cannot succeed in religious consciousness.
One has to understand that the methodology that works for the outer cannot work for the inner.
Simply because the inner is the opposite dimension, the same methods will not be applicable.
You will have to find new methodology for the inner.
And that is meditation.
Understanding this whole process, one thing becomes certain: why the mind avoids the present, which is the real, and why it tries to get
involved with past and future, which are not real.
Intelligence is of the being, not the mind!
It is Intuitive, No-Mind.
Intuition is given by your own nature, from inside.
Intuition cannot be translated into intellect.
It is your innermost core.
It opens up only in deep meditation.
A bridge between the intellect and intuition will give you a tremendous clarity, understanding, a new kind of intelligence of which you are absolutely unaware.
You have your guide within you.
If the West creates any religion, it can never be more than theology.
In the West you give arguments to yourself to prove God.
Arguments to prove God!
But the West has become completely deaf as far as the reality of consciousness is concerned.
Consciousness has always been here, is here, will be here.
Consciousness is the source of all.
You cannot go beyond consciousness.
Nobody has created it, and nobody can destroy it.
But there is no source of consciousness.
Consciousness itself is the very foundation of the whole existence.
And existence has always been here.
Up to man, evolution is an unconscious process.
With man something absolutely new opens its wings: evolution is no longer dependent on the blind forces of nature, man has to take it into
his own hands.
When consciousness becomes awakened, you are enlightened.
And all the people who have become fully conscious have all agreed on the point that consciousness is the stuff the universe is made of -
different forms, different stages, but it is all consciousness.
It is not just a philosophy or an imaginary idea, because thousands of people have become totally conscious.
Those who have become totally conscious have been our highest flowering.
In them is the argument for our evolution.
But the West has not known the experience of enlightenment.
It has created great artists, but unfortunately in the West there has been no atmosphere for enlightenment.
Osho - Light on the path
Wonderful article. Wow an article that isn't a hit piece on rational people. Shocking! The funny thing is that reigion could die the death it has so long deserved if only faith werent bizzarely considered a virtue. Then we wouldn't be bothered with the likes of Michelle Bachman or Jeremiah Wright and all the other innumerable shades of charlatan which populate our politics(for one thing...)
That should be 'science vs. religion debate', obviously.
'What experience out there makes the case for theism?'
A drunken, violent husband who becomes sober and peaceable. A 'Kevin' teenager who becomes co-operative and useful. A prison inmate who gives up crime. Happens every day.
@ Kier, responding to your second post...
There you go again with that “personal knowledge” thing. Facts are not personal. If that were the case we wouldn’t have science. Gravity either exists or doesn’t exist for everyone and whether or not everyone believes in it is irrelevant.
And yes, whether or not something is true IS everyone’s business. That is how societies evolve and how cultures advance. It’s important to human survival that we agree on certain things, like the cause of infectious diseases, and that pollution can ultimately harm us and not just the sea, and that praying over the little girl with leukemia is not effective so we as a moral society get into one another’s business all the time. Sorry, we can afford to tolerate people with stupid beliefs just up to a certain point.
As long as religion is benign, then we’re fine. When we stop caring about global warming because Jesus is coming to take us home to heaven, then rational people need to intervene.
With regard to data to disprove God, you would need to first describe the kind of God we’re talking about. If it’s an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent entity that loves us and wants good things to happen for us then we don’t need to go very far. Nine million children under the age of five die each year. 20,000 children die every day from preventable disease. 25,000 people die every day from malnutrition. The earth belches and tsunamis drown hundreds of thousands in Indonesia. The secret of infection and its causes are kept from us for hundreds of thousands of years causing enormous suffering, and even death for eons from things as simple as tooth decay.
Maybe a good God isn’t the God that exists. The case for an evil God would be easier, but alas even the logic for that God would come up short in the end.
"A drunken, violent husband who becomes sober and peaceable. A 'Kevin' teenager who becomes co-operative and useful. A prison inmate who gives up crime. Happens every day."
Not a single one of those makes the case for theism. Perhaps the husband realized what alcohol was doing to his family. Perhaps the inmate decided that he didn't really like prison. Just because something is good and you can't explain it doesn't mean it can be attributed to God
That which is understood via the heart, is not understood.
There exists no evidence for any God, and no theologian in the whole of history has been able to give a single proof for the existence of God.
The truth is that God himself is a creation of man’s imagination.
But Fanatics are just blind people.
A fanatic will not see the truth; he will try to continue his belief in a lie, will make all kinds of excuses.
Fanatics don't understand logic, don't understand argument.
There is no person as God; all personality is human projection.
And God being a fiction, your prayer is false, and your religiousness is imposed.
Anything imposed from outside destroys you, your freedom, your individuality.
God is an insult to existence, to intelligence, to man, to consciousness, to everything!
God-oriented religions are a disease of the soul, a sickness of the mind, because God is only your fear, your dread, your anxiety, your
The God-oriented man lives in ignorance and believes that he knows.
The Bible says God created man in his own image.
The reality is just the opposite: man has created God in his own image.
And he has been trying to refine the image of God, finding explanations for all kinds of absurdities.
It is mere theology, it is all mind-projection.
Religion is a con game.
It is all a psychological sickness.
And God is not the cure.
God is not a solution for any problem.
In fact, God creates more problems in the world and he does not solve anything.
There are over three hundred religions in the world and all are fighting with each other.
These are all created because of the concept of God, because they have all invented their own concepts.
Religious organizations are nothing but sophisticated ways of hating others who don’t belong to your organization, to your herd, to your
They have crippled everybody, poisoned everybody; their destruction is uncountable.
What divides all the religions? Just small details, meaningless details, about their idea of God.
But if there is no God, all those differences disappear.
All God-oriented religions are simply fiction.
Only people who have a childish mind, can believe in the fiction of God, can believe in heaven and hell, can pray to the empty sky.
The ordinary masses whose average intelligence quotient is not more than seven years. (their bodies go on growing to seventy, eighty, but
the mind stays somewhere between seven and fourteen; very rarely a man passes beyond fourteen)
If God created the world, and if he is behind nuclear weapons and the people who are creating them, then no effort on man’s part can prevent the destruction of the whole planet.
To give the creation of the world into the hands of a fictitious God is very dangerous.
It makes us absolutely impotent. We cannot do anything.
When I say there is no God, I am not saying that I disbelieve in God; even for disbelief, God has to be.
I am simply saying there is no God, has never been – all definitions are inventions.
God is simply the poverty of human consciousness.
God exists because you are not aware of yourself.
The moment you know yourself, there is no God and there is no need of any God.
Truth is uncovering yourself from all lies.
Osho - The God Conspiracy
So using your prison conversion for theism argument we have this:
1) God stands aside as innocent person A is killed by sinful person B.
2) innocent person A's family is changed forever. orphaned children, grieving family never fully recovers
3) Sinful person B goes to prison and has "conversion" from sinful ways and becomes a Christian.
4) God is praised. God is honored
5) The only logical explanation for that turnaround is the influence of an invisible deity who wants us all to be good and live full rich lives.
6) innocent person A is still dead
Is that your case?
Would have been nice to see some balance in this piece by actually interviewing some intellignet Christian such as John Lennox, William Lane Craig, Alister McGrath.
'There exists no evidence for any God'
That's insufficient reason for saying there is no God, even if it's true, which it plainly is not. 'Atheism' itself is proof of belief in deity, because it is a lie.
'But Fanatics are just blind people.'
Something makes their spelling wonky, anyway.
Atheist does indeed mean someone who believes in 'no-God.' It is derived from the Greek 'theos' (God), which and 'a' (without, not, no): a theos; without God, atheist; one without God.
To the gentleman discussing Einstein. The entire problem with this is placing your discussion on 'belief' in the hands of someone recognised as 'cleverer' than yourselves. In terms of an unknowable, omniscient, omnipowerful entity, 'the world's smartest man means no more than the world's smartest termite.' The whole notion of belief is that it is 'personal,' not found in the authoritative Catholic tradition.
To everyone else, ask what is gained by disbelief. Is it realisation or a desire to impose your own unique blend of ideas?
Why does that prove theism and not polytheism or guardian fairies or dual souls (peaceful and violent) living inside everyone and constantly fighting with each other?
You're assuming way too much about a deity--that it would be interested in our personal affairs and behavior and even take action to change our behavior.
You know what happens every day? People change. They no longer wish to harm people and themselves, they're tired of going to jail, they watch American History X, etc., and they change their behavior. We know enough about our species to explain changes in character. Your examples are not evidence of a deity any more than they are evidence of microscopic insects who go around injecting people with a type of chemical that alters their behavior and makes them more peaceful.
Has it ever occurred to you that all the clarifications you seek clarify only thought?
Thought can never, ever help us to understand anything that is beyond mind, that is no mind.
Truth is always alive, eternally alive.
It cannot be confined in words; the message is wordless.
The true religion has no name, it cannot have any name.
Buddha lived it, Jesus lived it – but remember, Jesus was not a Christian and Buddha was not a Buddhist, he had never heard of the word.
The truly religious people have been simply religious, they have not been dogmatic.
The mystics have always experienced that they are one, but nobody has listened to them.
Perhaps man was not mature enough to understand the depth of their declaration.
Modern physics, in the hands of Albert Einstein, has turned almost into mysticism.
Nobody has noted the fact, because mystics don't understand modern physics and the physicists do not care about the mystics.
The mystics have simply expressed the oneness of all.
Only one energy remains in the whole cosmos.
It is the mysterious experience of the unity of time and space.
And whenever you find it, it will be always here and always now.
The moment you know, change occurs.
The man who has encountered truth itself, suddenly finds himself changing into a new man, and he is the awakened one.
There is no effort involved.
If you try to interpret this intellectually, you have missed the point from the very beginning!
The fifth gospel of Thomas was written in India.
It has not been included in the Bible, it was not available to Constantine, who was compiling, and who was deciding what was to be included and what was not to be included.
It was because of Constantine that all these ideas and mythologies and fictions have been added to the life of Jesus.
Thomas, is the disciple closest to Jesus.
Jesus sent Thomas to south India.
But his sayings are not included in the Bible, because the real Jesus and his closest disciples have to be excluded – they are too dangerous.
JESUS SAID: IF THOSE WHO LEAD YOU SAY TO YOU, 'SEE, THE KINGDOM IS IN
HEAVEN,' THEN THE BIRDS OF HEAVEN WILL PRECEDE YOU.
IF THEY SAY TO YOU, 'IT IS IN THE SEA,' THEN THE FISH WILL PRECEDE YOU.
BUT THE KINGDOM IS WITHIN YOU AND IT IS WITHOUT YOU.
IF YOU WILL KNOW YOURSELVES, THEN YOU WILL BE KNOWN AND YOU WILL KNOW
THAT YOU ARE THE SONS OF THE LIVING FATHER.
BUT IF YOU DO NOT KNOW YOURSELVES, THEN YOU ARE IN POVERTY AND YOU ARE POVERTY.
The Fifth Gospel of Thomas
The kingdom of God has been preached as if it is always somewhere else: in time, in space, but always somewhere else - not here and now.
Why has this happened?
Why is the kingdom of God not here and now?
Why in the future, or why somewhere else?
It is because of the human mind.
It is not anywhere else, it is exactly where you are this moment.
You have completely missed Jesus, because your mind goes on interpreting.
What have you interpreted?
A master is not a man who teaches you, a master is a man who awakens you.
A master is not a man who has some information to give to you, a master is a man who is going to give you a glimpse into your own
You can only change yourself, and the moment you are changed the world starts changing, because you are a vital part in it.
Self-knowledge happens only to a wordless mind - not knowledge that you gather through the mind, but knowledge that you come to possess when you encounter yourself.
Self-knowledge is a transforming force, nothing else is to be done.
Knowledge itself is transforming; it is not that first you know and then you do something to change.
Knowledge is not a method, it is not a means; knowledge is the end in itself.
Accept life as it is, and be thankful for it as it is; have a deep gratitude - that's what makes a religious man.
And once you accept the whole, you become whole.
All divisions disappear, a deep silence ascends in you.
Osho - The Fifth Gospel of Thomas
Incidentally, what makes the case for theism?
Traditionally, a Christian will tell you that it is the resurrection of Christ (a definitively 'miraculous' event), a Muslim will tell you that it is the revelation of the Qu'ran to Mohammed (and the list goes on).
No doubt there are those who have doubts about the veracity of these events (unsurprisingly) but the point is that you cannot refute them on their own merits (unless you are very, very old) and you're automatically drawn into circular, faith based (in the sense of acquired 'infallible' knowledge - infallible because cleverer people than you say it is so) arguments to disclaim these events in your terms rather than their terms.
I have enough faith to be a Christian. I have not got remotely near the amount of faith you need to be of the atheist religion.
This question strikes me as so absurd that I'm not sure I understand it.
I don't believe in something that shows no evidence of existing, and have not since I was nine. Why should I? And even if God exists, who cares? S/He would not be me, and only I can experience my life.
I see no reason to do the kind of mental calisthenics that I see believers doing, "believing" whatever it is that they "believe." Nor can I do double back-flips. Who cares?
What other words can we make up for nonexistent entities to ask these faux, pointless questions about as well? Believers, why don't you believe in quierderistic brantapimarphisms? After all, "how do you know that they don't exist?"
Simply put, and the way I always explain my atheism is, "I lack the belief in any gods due to the total lack of evidence."
This gets rid of all that symantic BS, "it's a belief just like the belief in a god."
there is no god. end of story. come on people - evolve.
@No God is Good
I repeat: Einstein and many others like him believed in God, and compared to him you're just a speck of dandruff, if that.
My issue is not really religion but irrational thought and belief without evidence. Religion is just the most evident, and for some reason respected, irrational belief system on the planet. If you really analyze religion, it's all about accepting the unprovable and non-existent as a matter of course. You would readily scoff at someone who worshiped a giant flying space pickle, so why is your particularly strange deity immune from that rational examination? Have you examined homeopathy, power balance bracelets, new age, alchemy, astrology, tarot card reading, ghosts, UFOs, paranormal, mind-reading, tea leaf reading, remote viewing, spirit guides, bigfoot, etc. and made conclusions about those things? Why not examine the rest of things you "know" in the same way? Not to keep flogging a horse, but what I like about science is that it makes no claims without backing them with evidence. And the fantastic discoveries that it makes in every field are so much grander and more astounding than any supernatural conjecture about omniscience, answers to prayer, miracle healing, etc., that people have ever come up with, both past and present. And its brutally honest with itself. No religion has ever passed this test and every preacher pretty much makes stuff up as they go along. And people keep believing it.
I do understand how a person can be "spiritual" and cling to the possibility of a supernatural entity. Especially in tough times its nice to think that something "up" there is looking out for you. But when it comes down to it personal responsibility is the key. Laying your hopes, desires, and life on some invisible unevidenced entity is a cop-out if you don't work to make things happen yourself.
And I must add, your right to your religion end at everyone else's rights to their religion or lack thereof. Again, I could care less what you believe, so long as you aren't trying to foist off your fairy tales as science in the schools, attempting to deny other human beings their basic rights, or expecting everyone to live by your rules and dictates.