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Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Free Will and Control

One of the most damaging concepts to human Elolight is the idea of free will. When we are presented with a choice, and have a list of ways we can choose to react, we believe we have some kind of greater power over destiny and life then we actually we have. We did not choose the body, brain, parents, location, or situations that went into making a choice, but the moment we make a choice we suddenly believe we had some external power over the choice we made. Humans will often say things like, “I should of” or “I could of” but these statements are always invalid because what you did is what you would of always done given the same set of variables. These retroactive statements don’t give you any power over the choices you have already made, unless you suddenly gain the power to time travel.

Imagine for a moment we are watching a lion pack from space, based on weather, food, and other variables we can figure out to a decent degree of success what the lions will do tomorrow. The lion however has no idea exactly what it is going to do tomorrow, it only thinks it knows. The only difference with us is we are not aware of all the variables that go into making decisions, but regardless of if we know what they are or not, you had no choice picking them. The idea of free will exists so that we react, and also to let us believe we have control. We are moving towards Elolight whether we like it or not, no amount of religious texts, atheist texts, or any other belief short of complete human destruction will stop us from progressing towards Elolight, the only question is if we will get there.

Why It is Dangerous
Religions use the expression of free will to gain followers for better or worse. A person sitting in a church pew will be told it is their “choice” to convert to a religion, however, they had no power over sitting in their chair, and in order to feel like they have power they will convert to the religion and believe they are doing the right thing for both themselves and humanity. The paradox is that religion has no problem expressing the idea of fate when it comes to miracles and good things. However the moment a religious person is faced with a bad circumstance they begin to pray for things to change.

People are only interested in believing they have no control if the world is acting in their favor. The biggest danger is that when humans come to believe the universe is controllable in a way dictated by free will, their consciousness binds on to this concept and if they are presented with the fact that they are not in control, and can actually accept it, they could have a psychological breakdown.

Don’t Stop Reacting
Life is beautiful, and the biggest beauty is in the experience. There is also a beauty in ignorance, we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, and that is not a bad thing; That in itself is worth living for.

Seeking Truth

In seeking truth I have interviewed different religious converts from various religions and I always found a familiar sequence of events. They would all proclaim that their lives were saved by the religion they were now a part of and then they would give a story about their previous “dark days”. Further, they would proclaim that their faith was validated by their internal change.

I quickly realized that humans long for change and it wasn’t the religion that changed these people, it was themselves. The religion they converted to or in many cases became stronger advocates of were usually a result of either environmental context, or situation context. These people knew their lives were terrible and they wanted to change, religion was just their excuse.

I wish I could say that convert from religion X was better than religious Y but the cold hard reality is that strong believers in every religion talk with the same gleam in their eye as any other convert. It is impossible to be both spiritually objective and religiously objective.

It might sound as if I am patronizing religious converts or that it is unfair of me to speak of “faith” in such a way. However, the unchecked faith and gleam in the eye has lead to literally the death of millions in religious wars based on the fallacious idea that if you 100% believe in something than your truth must be the right truth.

The Modern Problem

modern-society-affects-our-sharing-habits-2In the Bible there is not a single reference to the rejection of slavery. At that time in history slavery was just a normal part of life. As our civilization matured we realized that slavery lead to all kinds of abuses of humanity and that we could rise above it. The modern problem is the fact that religions are increasingly having less answers on not just the universe but also on moral issues. Usually what happens is that the truth becomes so blindingly obvious that the various religions will either adapt or die off.

A good example is cloning, the various issues regarding it are not discussed anywhere in religious texts. Our relationship with how industry should relate to nature is also not discussed in religion. When talking about the modern problem an example I like to use is leprosy. During the time of Jesus leprosy was a pretty big issue, and Jesus could apparently heal it. Today, we can cure leprosy without any type of divine intervention. What we once would of considered a miracle is just business as usual today. Another major issue religion might face in the next 200 years is the end of aging; something else that will have deep philosophical and moral implications.

Standard religious views have changed with time such as the idea that the earth is the center of the universe. The fact that we were not the center of the universe had deep philosophical implications because it would seem to imply that when we were “created” God didn’t give us any preferential treatment, a staple belief of the selfish human. Today of course, the issue is rarely discussed.

One of the last standing vestiges of religious “theory”  is of course creation. Despite the tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence for evolution, the fact that macro evolution cannot be produced in the lab yet is the last string of hope for people who require a creation myth story. If we can produce macro evolution in the lab and or show the creation of some more complex proteins in the primordial soup, smarter and younger generations will not buy into any creation myths. Of course religions will adapt, the creation myth will become a metaphorical story instead of a literal one and people requiring religion will use a combination of tactics including pseudo logic to justify their beliefs.

“You would not get angry at a record player for not being able to play a CD.”

Unlike many critics however, I see religion as a catalyst for scientific progression. This might sound completely absurd, but let me explain. Religion in many ways has forced science to go above and beyond to prove points. Without religion there would be very little value in aggressively trying to show macro evolution in the lab. Further, I believe religion had a very small part in pushing scientists to find other means of acquiring stem cells for research.

For many religious adherents, there is a point of no return. It is a point when there beliefs are so integrated into their personalities that no amount of data will change their minds short of methods we have yet to realize as a society. A good metaphor would be a record player trying to play a CD, at a certain point new data becomes incompatible with previous modes of thought. This isn’t a characteristic restricted only to religion, it happens in science as well. Keep in mind, that we don’t necessarily want a record player to play a CD because the record player acts as a historical reference.

As Architects of order we do not limit ourselves because of change, however, this cannot be reasonably extended to the rest of the human population. Only so much effort should be exerted in an attempt to gain compatibility of thought because ultimately characters with archaic forms of perception will die. There  is a separate issue of perception transference from parents to children, but the modern problem will resolve the majority of that issue. It might be easy to get angry at these people who do not seem to grasp certain modern concepts but anger and hate is not only frivolous, it is irrational. You would not get angry at a record player for not being able to play a CD. In the same way an architect should not get angry at a religious adherent for being incapable of accepting certain lines of modern thought.

Indirect Manslaughter

love2012One of the easiest ways that we as architects can shape the best possible future for ourselves is to figure out the things that indirectly kill people. Whether we like it or not every action we do could potentially kill someone. How responsible we are for death is linked to how many “hops” there are to an event. If you do an action which causes a series of 15 connected events that leads to someone dying, you can’t really be held responsible. You also can’t be held responsible if you’re not really aware that what you’re doing is killing people. If you are aware that an action is killing someone, you are responsible.

Recently there has been a lot of commotion over gay marriage, particularly in the states. On one side of the issue you will have Christians who recite scripture saying and believing that this issue can lead to the downfall of civilization. On the other side of the issue you have people requesting equality. Generally I would not waste my time talking about civil issues because I believe most civil issues get resolved democratically. That said, I believe this is a special case scenario that can be utilized to show how lack of moral objectivity can lead to the death of humans.

So the church by not supporting homosexual marriage is by proxy not supporting homosexual monogamy and therefore is contributing to death by proliferating HIV.

A core concept in Christianity is the idea of monogamy. Monogamy has actual biological benefits that extend far beyond simple religious ideals. Monogamy decreases STDs, birth rates, and also contributes to having a proper framework in place for raising children. Monogamous relationships are by no means exclusive to Christianity but Christianity plays a role in supporting monogamy. From a general Christian perspective there is little difference between a homosexual who is monogamous and a homosexual that is promiscuous. So if you happen to be a homosexual looking for religious guidance you will quickly discover that if you cannot repress your homosexuality, you will be considered purely evil. What I mean by this is that to a lot of conservative Christians you will have no redeeming characteristics until you “free” yourself of homosexuality. This is hypocritical of course because Christian don’t do this with other types of sins, homosexuality is treated like leprosy.

A certain percentage of these homosexuals will be compelled to become promiscuous because a large group of people indirectly tell them it doesn’t matter. This promiscuity leads to all kinds of terrible things including the proliferation of HIV. So the church by not supporting homosexual marriage is by proxy not supporting homosexual monogamy and therefore is contributing to death by proliferating HIV. This is not the first time the Church has taken actions that contribute to the death of humans. The Catholic church has refused to send condoms to Africa before believing that doing so is promoting premarital sex but completely ignoring the fact that many Africans are not Catholic. In this way the Catholic church attempts to push their ideological views on other humans by allowing them to die.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I think homosexuals are perfectly capable of monogamy without any religious intervention. However, the reality is that humans draw strength from social groups and can also be devastated by social groups that reject them. If homosexuals were allowed to be both married and part of the church they would have a support group that they might not otherwise have and this in turn would contribute to better humans behavior such as monogamy.

While I am picking on the Church, this same idea can be applied to anything that needs moral direction. Humanity is the most important thing humans have. If we give up humanity for perceived morality, it is not actual morality.

Jesus: Architect of Rational Morality

April 1, 2013 1 comment

jesus&harlotWhether you believe Jesus was a prophet, messiah, or a myth he remains one of the most influential characters to date in the human race. As a brand Jesus has influenced every form of media. Jesus is one of the most obvious architects I could think of but I had difficulty actually figuring out what his primary characteristic was. Each religion has a fundamentally different view of Jesus and this made it difficult to evaluate, but after deep though I discovered that the trait that made Jesus, Jesus was his direct opposition to existing norms by means of supporting rational morality.

In Christian theology Jesus is the messiah who opposed what is called the old covenant or the 613 mitzvah (rules). In Islam, Jesus was a prophet who foresaw that the future messiah was not Jewish. In both these cases Jesus was a messenger who opposed current existing religious thought. His opposition to stagnation and non progressive thoughts, as a side effect, made Jesus a marketing genius. Unfortunately the very essence of what Jesus stood for is all but forgotten by every modern Jesus based religion. Jesus’s common sense approach to morality has been traded in by all modern religions for rule of text. During Jesus’s time being holy consisted of how you groomed yourself, what you ate, and even what you wore. Jesus justified the only true basic tenet of all morality, loving your neighbor, and this made him incredibly popular.

This very simple truth apparently was not enough because almost all the religions that were based on him engaged in bloody warfare at some point. Christianty vs Islam, Catholic vs Protestant; it would almost be comedic if it wasn’t horrifyingly sad. If Jesus was real, and was a prophet, when he said “forgive them for they know not what they do” he was surely talking about us in the future. He despised what we would consider Bible thumpers today, following rules for rule’s sake instead of being rational. Nothing was more evident of this when he stopped the stoning of the harlot by saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

All religious theology and miracles aside, the core concept of Jesus I agree with. We must oppose anything that is not rational and that hinders the progress of the human race. Following rules simply because we think they justify some divine entity does not benefit us. Human progress should come first and above any text that any human claims to be a divine rule book that we must follow.

Conversation with an Atheist

March 15, 2013 1 comment

1319049368159_ORIGINALHe sat across from me, a little confused, “You’re telling me you believe in God?” I nodded and I knew where this conversation was headed, “So you believe all that stuff in the bible, you think it is all true?” I shook my head, “No I do not.” I could tell the common line of arguments were already lining up, the common atheist rhetoric that is used mostly to target those with a belief forged by the necessity of human capacity. I began to speak, “I don’t have a common belief in God I…” as if to try and catch me off guard he quickly interjected, “easter bunny.” I sighed and he continued, “God is no more real then the Easter Bunny or a flying spaghetti monster.”
“You forgot Santa Clause.”
“Exactly! how can you believe something that could of so easily been made up?”
“To assert that God is as real as a flying spaghetti monster is to assert that if God were real that God would be tangible. Theoretically if the flying spaghetti monster were real I would be able to reach out and touch it, this does not apply to God in my opinion. You could compare an intangible concept such as God is as real as karma, or love, or anger. However using fictional physical tangible entities to disprove an intangible one is a little silly.”
“This still does not prove that God is not fictional.”
“True, but my belief system does not have the necessity of God actually existing. While it would be nice, it by no means is a requirement for me.”
This was clearly not what he was expecting but none the less, defiant, he continued, “Well if God is so great why does he let suffering happen?” I laughed a little, “Why should he stop it?”
“Because God can.”
“So you assume that if God existed he has to be good or conform to some human trait that you have defined. You clearly admit that you don’t believe in God yet you seem to have a clear understanding of what its personality should be if God did exist.”
“It doesn’t make any sense though, why would God create something to let it suffer?”
“Well first, you’re making the mistake that I believe that God created us as a completed entity, which I don’t. Even if God did create us in the current state we are in right now, truly that cannot be a final state, but let me get back to your original question. Suffering is freedom. If we were incapable of making bad choices we would be no different then anything else, we would be complete automatons without any freedom whatsoever.”
“So you believe God created evil,” he said frustrated.
“No, we created evil as a way of defining things that make us less progressive as a race. Even if there was some kind of supernatural forces in play, it would be the same thing, a force stopping us from progressing as a race.”
“But there is zero proof of God! We are figuring out everything! We used to think we were the center of the universe. Surely you don’t think evolution is false?”
“Where I believe we came from does not factor at all into any belief I may have about God. While there may not be proof that God exists, we have circumstantial proof in the form of microcosms. Everything we don’t think God could be possible of, we’re doing. We’re creating artificial universes and intelligence. Despite the fact that we are a combination of multiple independent personalities, we are capable of working as a group to create a cohesive universe. If we were to create a universe with life, how would they fathom us?”
“So you believe God could just be some hyper intelligent entity or race that created us?” he said with a laugh.
“That is possible but, honestly, impossible to know. There is something more important then that though. It is how we relate to God that is important. You see everything we are trying to accomplish is represented in God as an epitome. Science is a way of gaining knowledge, God is all knowing. Art is the discovery of the meta physical, God is perfect meta. Philanthropy is represented in God as love.” his demeanor suddenly changed, he became curious, “do you think there is a correct religion? Do you think everyone is worshiping the same God?”
“This is where I disagree with Oprah. Every religion is not worshiping the same God, they are worshiping aspects. Further each religion we have today is characterized by primary traits. Christianity is love, Islam is majesty, and other religions are tradition. Each of these characteristics when combined make a singular personality. Of course they don’t see it that way, each system believes they can exist without the others. That would be like a warrior incapable of disciple or compassion. So what we get is war.”
“I still don’t believe in God, but you have done a better job convincing me then anyone I have met, but I just don’t feel it is reasonable.”
“That is understandable, what is reasonable is affected by time. If I could time travel 5000 years into the past it would be fairly unreasonable to ask those people to build me an airplane. What is truly unreasonable is that many atheists are completely aware that it is a logical impossibility to prove a negative yet they will write entire books on how something doesn’t exist. At the end of the day if God doesn’t exist that doesn’t bother me because it means we have something we can build.”

Suffering

March 14, 2013 1 comment

tears10Suffering is responsible for every accomplishment, happiness, and transcendent experience imaginable. The suffering of boredom, lack of success, or lack of quality of life drives us to do the things we do. Almost every spiritual system that currently exists revolves around reducing suffering. We are constantly trying to reconcile the fact that our entire reality is shaped by suffering but at the same time try to avoid it as much as possible. Our success at life really revolves around our pain tolerance for life in general. The lower our tolerance for suffering the greater our drive will be to try to escape it.

We don’t usually think in these terms, instead suffering is considered wholly evil. The world tells you that if you’re not happy there is something wrong with you and you should get the problem “fixed” through any means possible. This is not to say I don’t believe that people can have true biological sicknesses that can make them depressed but mental illness doesn’t seem to be declining. The people that manage to break free of restraint though monetary gain will often times become like fish out of water flopping around on a deck hopping from one religion to another. The others who have freedom but don’t do spiritual or religious jumping jacks instead achieve by creating a new level of personal suffering for themselves that they can beat.

Spiritual leaders of old have mislead the world. What they either don’t know or hide from the world is that suffering can be as addictive as joy. People will plunge themselves into suffering because they are drawn to it. People in perfect relationships will destroy them. People with empires will burn them to the ground. When these things happen we dismiss them, call them crazy, and then move on. Teens will often test the waters of suffering which will make them act in ways that seem completely irrational to their unfortunate parents. Since we have classified suffering as evil, people who are drawn to suffering will often times consider themselves evil and may incorrectly feel the need to do evil acts.

What we must understand is that the reason people are drawn to suffering is not because they are insane but instead it is because their lives have lost purpose and it is only through suffering that they can regain purpose. How deep they go into their personal suffering is really how far they are from their objective. We have created systems that monopolize on this in the form of religion. Humans will constantly plunge themselves into suffering drugs, violence, and criminal acts where they will then get to a breaking point where they will become “seekers”. Once they are in seeker mode the first religion to get to them with the most community support will usually be the religion they convert to. The religion will then, of  course, take credit for changing that person’s life when in reality they changed their own life through self-inflicted personal suffering.

Suffering is necessary for progress but what is not helpful is when people are destructive and pull us backwards. The idea of constructive suffering needs to be explored and we need to give people the opportunity to suffer in a way that will not permanently damage them or society. We must embrace the fact that people pursuing suffering are seeking purpose and not simply dismiss them or get them to go on drugs.

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