We’ve Moved!

November 5, 2007 at 6:49 pm (Death, Featured Poems, Featured Prose, Graduation, Journal, Marriage, Naked Proverbs, Poetry, Prose, Religion, Uncategorized, Web Sites)

We’ve moved to theNakedAtheist.com

Please change your bookmarks/favorites accordingly.

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A Few Broad Strokes

September 8, 2006 at 1:44 pm (Death, Featured Prose, Prose, Religion)

Religious atheism can be seen as an attempt to fix religion’s flaws and eliminate its untenable assertions. Most of those flaws revolve around the concept of a spiritual world separate and remote from the physical world of bodies we inhabit here on earth. Out of this mistake spring Gods and miracles and afterlife.

I can paint the religious revolution I am proposing in a few broad strokes.

Religion is not a spirituality-based enterprise, but a body-based one. Its proper object of worship is here and now, for what is bodily is inherently sacred, mysterious and—as we experience it—eternal.*

In order to understand this new religious orientation, it’s necessary to abandon the dichotomy of soul/body and replace it with a new dichotomy: experiencing/behaving. Importantly, it is necessary to declare both worthy of worship. If we do so, it follows that the sacred is right at hand, not separated from us by the chasm of death or lost in the distance of some kind of spiritual realm.

Such realm is at best an illusion of thought, the result of incorrectly drawing the categories of our existence.

By using the dichotomy of experiencing/behavior instead of mind/body, we get a clearer picture of our nature. Experiencing is easily understood as something bodily, created by the brain, and this makes our mind comprehensible as a bodily phenomenon. If a word like “spiritual” refers to something beyond or transcending the body, it becomes an unnecessary fiction. We can now see it as a fundamental misunderstanding of our existence. Pertinently, it follows that religion needs to be body-based, not hinged on the fiction of spiritual entities.

We must never forget that to refer to a beyond devalues life and ruins religion. How much better a religion real and palpable, than a fiction in the stars.

Even heaven is a stillborn vision. A “paradise” without sex or food or body is more akin to death than to life. To be worth anything, life must be bodily. The alive body is the annunciator of our existence.

Now as we all know, the objection to bringing religion down to the body, to imagining life bodily, is that we die. Our bodies die.

We don’t want to die. So we invent afterlife, we imagine heaven or summerland or nirvana and populate it with bodiless souls. Bodiless us, as if that were somehow possible.

By reformulating ourselves as something bodiless, essentially lifeless, we think we can avoid death. Define ourselves as something devoid of life and presto! we are death-proof.

So we think. But it is nothing but the worship of death by another name. The denial of life. The embrace of anti-life, which is the one evil there is.

In embracing death, afterlife, nirvana, heaven, bodiless souls—the religions of the world have betrayed all of us, betrayed the life that we are. They have turned the bow of our human ship toward nonexistence.

They have the gall to call those of us who don’t go along non-believers. When it comes to worshipping what is after life, we are indeed heretics. But their non-belief is aimed at life. Their non-belief is aimed at sex and food and pleasure and everything that is precious and wonderful and worthy of real worship. It is aimed at us.


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* Since our experiencing of the world began with birth and will end at death, it follows that we have never experienced a time before being alive and will never experience a time after we die. Put another way, we will never know our own non-existence. Others will experience our death, but we will not. Nor does experiencing take place in fixed time, in seconds, minutes, days or years; it occurs in subjective time, moments of indeterminate and varying lengths. Fifteen minutes on the clock may “feel” like an hour; or a clock-hour may seem to whisk by in a flash. In short, our experiences occur in the unexplainable now, and are the essence of what we are; we know nothing but what we experience.

In a valid sense then our experiencing self is us, and it is therefore a remarkable observation that just as we never experienced the beginning of our experiencing, so we will never experience its ending. You can’t experience the cessation of experiencing. Therefore life as we experience it will be eternal. This is surely the source of that iridescent feeling we all have that life goes on forever. It is not untrue. But it is also true that we will die and death is final.

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Here or Elsewhere?

May 29, 2005 at 10:38 pm (Prose, Religion)

The first great question of life is: here or elsewhere?

All our hungers, emotions, fears, inclinations, perceptions, desires, urges, obsessions, wants, instincts and needs answer here. Yet the answer of all the great religions is elsewhere.

It wasn’t always so. The earliest human religions were here religions. True, archaeologists point out that the practice of burying the dead goes way back in human prehistory, but it is flawed to interpret ancient practices based on modern bias. Contrary to popular assumptions, there are strong practical and emotional reasons for burials, reasons which don’t themselves point to belief in afterlife. Dead bodies decompose and stink, and become extremely unsanitary. It is emotionally disturbing to see dead humans lying around — quadruply so when it is the body of a loved one. Imagine the emotional impact of seeing animals and vultures clawing and pecking at your dead mate or child.

It’s easy to understand the human desire for burial, quite apart from the question of afterlife. It is merely a modern bias to conclude that burying the dead demonstrates belief in afterlife. It demonstrates only the belief that the dead should be buried. Beyond that we must look for other clues.

The earliest religions were here religions. Their spirits were nature spirits, their gods nature gods; their magic and shamanism were efforts to tap into the unknown powers of nature. Only later did the more sophisticated notion of a separate spiritual world, a world wholly other to everything we see around us, a world of elsewhere come into being.

The more sophisticated religions developed by alienating spirit from body. They developed by associating the mesmerizing azure blue of the sky and the mysterious regularity of the stars at night with the world of spirits and gods. Nature spirits became sky and star gods and goddesses. Eventually the even more sophisticated idea of God arose. And with God, the concept of elsewhere became dominant.

Our urges, emotions, perceptions, desires and instincts answer in unison here, but our intellect began to scream for elsewhere. And that is where we stand today.

Our intellect has made an understandable mistake — but it is a mistake. Splitting spirit from matter, soul from body, supernatural from natural made intellectual sense for thousands of years. But no longer.

Science has now taken us beyond that point. Natural selection and our modern biological understanding of the brain and mind (rudimentary as it is) make it clear that the splits were artificial. We thought they were necessary, but they were not. We were tricked by our own mental processes, the manner in which we must perforce think, into assuming that the world matched.

Science tells us it does not.

Religion is freed to return to its roots: the here and the now. No more alienation. No more elsewhere.

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Are You a Sinner?

March 24, 2004 at 8:02 am (Prose, Religion)

Christians talk a lot about Sin.

They say we are all Sinners.

Sin was the moon god, worshipped 2000 years BC .

In the the ancient city Ur of the Chaldees (located on the Euphrates near its point of entry into the Persian Gulf, in present day Iraq), there is — if it has survived the present war — the remains of a zuggurat (a pyramid-shaped tower of brick) built around 2100 BC to worship SIN.

If you worship the moon-god Sin, you are a Sinner.

And Christians talk about you a lot.

I'd like to see this zuggurat myself. Like to bow down at its crumbling bricks beneath the full moon rising in the darkness and worship Sin.

Maybe do a little Sinning myself there on the moon-spilt ground. Be a Sinner.

Sinning with other Sinners under the beacon of the cloudless moon.

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