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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The world's largest religion

Someone on the local scene wrote a post in Smirking Chimp about an upcoming appearance by erstwhile "leftist" and "neo-con" apologist Christopher Hitchens in Madison. Hitchens has been invited to speak at the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s fall conference.

I don't have much interest in either Christopher Hitchens or the Freedom From Religion Foundation, but the post called for a response, which promptly got lost in the shuffle of other responses. The article received a lot of comments, predominantly from the materialist or what is known as the empiricist view of belief in religions, or of a Supreme Being. I take a different view:

He who thinks he knows

I live in Madison also, but won't be attending the atheist fest. I find atheists boring and arrogant. That is independent of their beliefs, or lack of same. They are just boring people.

The problem of both religion and atheism is that adherents believe and disbelieve in the same anthropomorphized conception of "God." Living in empirical reality, the human mind cannot conceive of a "God" beyond material form. So the human mind settles for what it can conceive: an individual being, like us. "God" is made in the image and likeness of "man."

Religions, of course, are more about control than anything else, at least the "desert religions" - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Buddhism, Taoism, and at least the yogic practices of the Indian philosophical traditions, are more about inner experience, of finding higher levels of reality within oneself.

You can even be an "atheist" and practice yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, shamanism, paganism, witchcraft (also called "Wicca"), and any number of other non-authoritarian methods of spirituality. A word of warning, though: You might be confronted with the revelation that eventually all practitioners face: He who thinks he knows, knows not.
JAH | Aug 6 2007 - 1:51am |

The supposed "issue" of religion raises some concerns that bear on other "issues," and on our common predicament in general. The first problem I see with "atheists" is that they have no, or little sense of priority. Since many "atheists" also consider themselves "leftists," they share the common flaw of seeing all "issues" as equally worthy of rancor, ire, hysteria, and paranoia. Thus, the crimes of the Bush regime are on the same level as the "religious right."

From this perspective, the invasion and occupation of "Iraq" is the equivalent of fundamentalist Christian encroachment into public policy, especially in regard to women's reproductive rights, prayer in schools, and the rights of same-gender attracted people (I have had enough of the word "homosexual." It just sounds creepy, and biases perceptions toward sex acts only. Not inclined towards such acts myself, I find that supposed "homosexuals" exhibit a wide variety of behaviors that are other than sex acts. How about a new name?).

What "leftists" and "atheists" fail to realize is that they share a common predicament with their perceived "opponents" on the "religious right." The entire country suffers under the criminality of the Bush gang. Without any hard statistical data, I believe it is fair to say that Christian fundamentalists have lost as many or more family members to Bush's military adventures than the public at large. They have fallen for his lies more than anyone. They also are in the same predicament as the rest of us when it comes to health care, job loss, and standard of living. They suffer from pollution, tainted food, corporate criminality, and collapsing infrastructure as much as the rest of the country.

But that's not enough commonality for "atheists" and their Venn diagram intersect of "leftists." The "religious right" is a "they." In modern "American" perceptual capacity and discourse, there has to be a "they," whether one sees oneself on the fictional "left" or the fictional "right" of the fictional "spectrum" of human presence on this planet.

As I said in my comment to the Smirking Chimp post, He who thinks he knows, knows not. This applies to both "left" and "right," as well as to "theists" and "atheists," "religionists" and "anti-religionists." In seeing "otherness" where commonality and oneness should prevail, we enable the Bush gang to fuel the frenzy. Just as they are arming both "sides" in the "Iraq" civil war, the Bush crime family is laughing at the "American" people all the way to the bank.

It will be amusing to watch as the date approaches for the "atheist" forum. Madison being what it is, fierce debate ala Life of Brian will intensify as the event draws near. There are a few "fundamentalist Christian" preachers in the area who will likely seize the opportunity for a little limelight. Maybe Fred Phelps will show up. Of one thing we can be pretty certain: nothing will be accomplished by this meeting. The real winner will be the religion of "otherness," the largest denomination in the world. Only the sects are different; the essence is the same for all.

Here's an appropriate song.


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