From atheist to believer - a journey of discovery.

This is my first attempt at writing so please be gentle with me :)

 

You might be thinking “oh, here we go, another load of ….”. But bear with me. The intention of this article is not to try and ram religion down anyone’s throat, put out convincing arguments, or provide a road map for others to follow. Its purpose is to offer a different perspective about religion and religious beliefs and how relatively sane atheist’s can lose the plot so badly as to have to throw themselves into the rescue buoy of religion. Can’t they just swim for it?  In telling this tale of adventure I will hopefully provide a glimpse into a different way of coming at the world.

To what purpose?

We live in a world where the biggest threat to our future as a species is the understanding of one another. We go to war over our fear of what we do not understand. A lack of trust, based on a lack of understanding. If we swallow our pride and our ego and seek to better understand people we do not know, from a perspective of “what do we have in common”, it’s amazing how we can gain a new respect for other cultures, genders and yes, even religions.

We seem obsessed with critical argument, with debate as a means of furthering understanding but to my mind, these techniques by and large, do not work. They do not work because of a fundamental of human nature – “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”. A debate has a goal of deciding a winner and a loser. The winner goes away congratulating themselves on the power of their ability to win while the loser is left wondering how they could have put their argument more convincingly, but what about the topic? Just collateral in a game of win and lose.

A more effective way to learning and understanding is to enter the other persons’ model of the world and try to see what they see. This does not mean one must accept what they see. I believe it was Einstein who said “Wisdom is being able to entertain an idea without accepting it”. The only reason I can guess one would not choose to use this method is if either their ego will not allow it or the answer does not suit their agenda – or both. What does one have to lose by considering carefully the full ramifications of an alternative idea? The answer is in the mirror.

Presumption 1: Looking for a crutch.

Let me be clear – as an atheist, I did not set out to “find God”, or find something to cling to for comfort. My belief system said “religion is a crutch for the week”. In fact if that was the case, I failed miserably. Being a believer is one of the most challenging and difficult things I have experienced. No, atheism is a far more comfortable place to park one’s self.

What the World Needs

I had spent many years pondering the problems of the world and how we could overcome them. I was convinced that mankind was following a historical pattern of seeing differences and dividing itself up along lines of race, colour, gender, nationality and religion. We found that when we stick within these defined groups most everything goes smoothly. As soon as we mix those groups and blur the lines, we head for trouble. So the solution was to draw lines on a map and create ‘yours’ and ‘mine’.

This was a path we had followed for thousands of years, with increasingly dire results as interaction between the groups became inevitable and we learned increasingly more sophisticated ways in which we could kill one another. So we fought wars which caused the re-segregation and things went quiet until the next time tensions built again. An endless pattern with the same old strategy of segregation. Divide and conquer.

So I thought “how about we try something different?” Like, what do we have to lose? How about instead of looking to our differences and segregating, how about we try looking at what we have in common and come together? But that won’t work, right? Well, no it won’t if we only do half of it, which is come together. We must also seek to focus on what we have in common and from that build an understanding of one another. Then we might have a chance. I know, I know, we don’t want to have to do that. Back to war?

I believed coming together would work because it made sense. In principle, if you have a new neighbor, you don’t know them. It is very easy to be suspicious and untrusting. But when you get to meet with them, sit down to a meal with them, interact and find common ground – perhaps you have similar aged children – you soon find that there is nothing to fear. Even if you don’t particularly like them, it’s OK because you know them better than you did before. The same principle applies to any human interaction.

So, I saw the solution to our problems as a coming together, a unifying energy rather than a divisive one. If we saw ‘all men as brothers’ and focussed on our common ground, then we should have no need for conflict. It’s worth a try at the very least. This vision of ‘unity in diversity’ was something that underpinned my philosophy of life and would play a large part in my journey and subsequent Faith.

 

Packing for the Journey

I recognised than in a process of exploration, the ego is not your friend. The ego seeks reinforcement of what one currently believes, shoring up the defences against imminent attack. I needed to be able to be completely open and ‘park’ my preconceptions and prejudices. Yes, I had prejudices I am ashamed to say. A great deal of healthy self evaluation enabled me to ‘get over myself’ and focus on finding the truth, whether it was comfortable or not. This required me to place myself out in the open, vulnerable and alone. Easy prey for anyone who wanted to attack.

Everything is information, not fact. With this philosophy I became a collector, seeking out snippets of information and squirreling them away until the day I could assemble them all into a clear picture. I considered none of it true as that might cause me to become ‘attached’ to the info and prematurely fall back into preconception and judgement. That judgement would have to wait until I had enough pieces of the puzzle.

Independence was also in my backpack. I was not interested in what anyone wanted to offer me. This was my own search and I would go where I felt I should go. Advice from others was recorded but would not influence my choices. If it later turned out that I ended up where someone had suggested, OK.  That was just interesting. This was my journey, not someone else’s.

 

The Matrix

My journey began similarly to a story told by the 1998 sci-fi action thriller – The Matrix. “You feel that there is something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is but you have felt it your entire life. Like a splinter in your mind driving you mad”. I found myself at a point where I had to know the truth and I realised that everything I had thought to be true had got me to where I was in life and it was not where I wanted to be. I had to suspend everything I had believed and start again with an open and enquiring mind. I had been looking at the world through the lens of an atheist with a materialistic world view, but from time to time I came across compelling stories that did not fit into this model and I had two choices – discard the story as nonsense or consider the unthinkable, that my world view was wrong or at least incomplete.

In the movie, when Neo and Trinity are heading off to rescue Morpheus from the clutches of Agent Smith, he asks for “Guns. Lots of guns.” I asked for “Books. Lots of books”.

The first books I was attracted to were self improvement ones. I recognised that if I wanted my life to get better, I had to get better. This was about empowerment. I was attracted to NLP and found a wonderful human being who taught me among other things, that “life does not happen to you, it happens from you”. This same teacher taught me the skills to take back control of my life – control that I had unwittingly handed over to the world ‘out there’. This same teacher recommended books and movies that completely open my heart and mind to new ways of thinking and viewing the world. No longer was I constricted by ‘conventional wisdom’ or the ‘conventional world view’, cynically casting off anything that challenged the established view. I began to question everything.

This is when I came across quantum physics and its thought challenging ramifications. But this is where things got really challenging because here I found two competing interests and philosophies. On the one hand we have scientists steeped in a materialistic world view who argue that there is a separation between the actions of subatomic particles and the macroscopic world. On the other hand there are a group of ‘renegade’ scientists who posit that there is no separation and that the macroscopic world is a projection of a fundamental subatomic world and more like a hologram than a material reality. Here they speak of the interconnectedness of all things. Some, like Dr Amit Goswami, go as far as saying that “consciousness is the ground of all being”.

So which world view is correct?  Well, no one can really say for sure, especially since quantum physics uncovered the measurement paradox. The act of measuring something alters the resultant measurement. It’s almost like we are living in a ‘consensus’ reality. How can we therefore “prove” anything objectively when there may be no objective reality? Every “proof” is limited to the relativity of its parameters.

There are a number of scientists who are exploring this branch of the ‘rabbit hole’ but I get the feeling we are living a reality in which the more things we discover, the more rabbit holes we find – that our discoveries are not converging on the truth but rather finding divergence. Will we ever find the truth? Is there a truth to be found?

By this stage I was beginning to see a world in which the improbable was becoming more probable. Accepted understandings of a material world view were unable to explain, and often wilfully dismissive of a variety of phenomena, which clearly existed. The sole argument against these phenomena is that they cannot be proved using the current standard scientific holy grail ‘go to’ tool, the double blind peer reviewed study. And yet, statistically, it is implausible that there is not something going on which does not fit a materialistic world view.

I began to see evidence of a reality in which some kind of underlying intelligence was possible. But was it true? I did not know – in the sense of knowledge of an absolute and objective truth. But I began suspecting it was.

Now at about this time I was beginning to squirm in my seat. This was beginning to get very uncomfortable. It was challenging everything I had ever believed and worse, it was making me consider the possibility of that word beginning with G. The Big G.  To a long time atheist, armed will all the usual atheist arguments and disdain for religious organisations and the wrongs they have perpetrated against humanity, I was staring down the barrel of a very large gun. The urge to turn and run back to the comfort of my cynical, Godless, materialistic world was very strong. I turned and looked, but in the words of Trinity “you have been down that road, you know where it ends and I know that’s not where you want to be”. Bugger. “Why, oh why, didn’t I take the blue pill”.

So now, thoughts turned to “what if it was true? How could it be true? What would need to be different in order for it to be true? How do I reconcile this with all the religious nonsense”?

I needed to know about religion. What was the truth. I needed to cut through the dogma, the manure. I needed to get down to the basement and see if it was built on anything solid, for sure as heck the facade was a real eyesore.

The Church

The Truth about God, religion, faith, all that stuff. Where to find it? Well, I knew where I would NOT find it – in a church, synagogue or mosque. My rational mind told me they did not know. There can only be one truth and yet we have a multitude of religions and churches, each with a different story to tell. They can’t all be true, and to assume that one is correct? Which one? No, they must all be struggling just the same as me. I would have to find my own truth.

I could sense myself leaning towards some type of spirituality, but to organised religion? Hell no.

From my early atheist training I knew that religion was a cause of a great deal of humanities problems but from my NLP training I also knew that man is an imperfect beast and wherever you go you will find that imperfection manifest. The ‘church’ is one such glaring example. So I began to suspect that there could be two things going on here – ‘heaven’ sent spiritual masters to provide humanity with guidance and then a group of self appointed human ‘experts’ pretending to dispense this guidance under the flag of religion. Bastards. There is no doubt that man made religious dogma is a blight on humanity but is it possible that at its foundation there is something valuable? Something that has been lost by generations of power hungry clergy and their superstitious dogma designed to control the masses?

I needed to separate what was useful from what was not. In my heart I recognised the beauty and purity of some religious scripture and the values and attributes it promoted. How could this be associated with the ugly reality of religious fundamentalism? Nowhere in ancient scriptures have I found or been shown texts exhorting man to behave in the horrific way he does ‘in the name of God’. I have heard people claim these texts exist but never been shown them, especially in the context of the complete passages. I know, I know, stoning the adulterers is not that PC these days but are we taking this a little out of context? That’s another rabbit hole.

Better off without Religion

So would we therefore be better off without religion? On the surface that would appear a perfectly rational and sensible response – certainly a powerful case could be raised against ‘organised’ religion. But would we be throwing out the baby with the bathwater? Is there a better strategy, especially if we include a study of those societies which have gone down the religion free route?

My journey uncovered a chasm between what man says and does in the name of religion and what the scriptures of those religions teach. As a principle, should we ban a philosophy if we uncover evidence of man abusing and perverting that philosophy? Well, that might work, but should we therefore ban everything man lays a hand on because for sure we can see his handiwork in every well intended organisation, and the church is a man made organisation despite claims by some to the contrary?

To this day, I am still in two minds over this issue. It is heart breaking to see what man does to fellow man, and to say this is “Gods will” is a blasphemy. If there is a God, no one on earth knows what that God’s will really is and the God I pray to doesn’t advocate corruption or violence in any form.

The ugliest thing I have ever seen was a man holding aloft a Bible and screaming at people to repent their evil ways while claiming to hold the truth in his hand. I was revolted to my core. That’s enough to turn the Pope atheist.

So I get it when people think we would be better off without religion. I want rid of that rubbish too. But is that really religion or is it simply a bastardisation of it? Is corruption in politics just politics, or a corruption of it?

These were some of the vexing questions I had to confront, to reconcile. Sure, the easy out was to just write it all off and go back into the Matrix. Who cares, right? I mean, it’s not like I can change any of it, right? Let someone else worry about it and just relax and buy another lotto ticket. But I can’t! I just cannot stop thinking about it! Oh, what have I started??!!

The Tipping Point

My journey had taken me from wealth creation seminars to speed reading courses to share trading courses, to NLP training and finally to a movie on quantum physics. All the while consuming books at an alarming rate. It was finally the movie that led me to my Faith. Not immediately but a few weeks later. This is interesting because the movie was very scathing of organised religion and I completely agreed with its criticism. I should have been heading in the other direction. What happened?

What the movie did was show me a picture of the world which I recognised. I had seen glimpses of it over the preceding years of my journey in the information – the pieces of the puzzle I had been collecting. I was able to at last begin assembling the pieces and could see the picture emerge. This was beyond shocking. It shook me to my very core. I vividly recall going home one night and looking in the mirror and seeing someone standing there that I had never seen before. Sure the face was familiar but there was something different. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I just stared at this new person wondering what the hell was happening to me.

I sought out and bought the DVD of the movie. I watched it over and over, there was so much to absorb. Eventually I began watching the ‘extras’ on the DVD, interviews with the movies directors.

One of the directors was asked about the reaction they had got from religious groups regarding the battering they had received. I thought “this will be good!” The reply was as expected – “work of the devil” and various other negative sentiments. “But” said one director, “we were very surprised when folks from (my soon to be) Faith came up and said “that is who we are, that is what we are about”. They were referring to the concept of Unity that was a central message of the film – the interconnectedness of all things and people.

I was fascinated and surprised by this. I had never heard of any religion talking of unity in that sense before. Usually they talk about unity on the condition it is unity with their ideas and their religion.

Faith

So, I began to investigate this faith and its teaching and the rest, as they say, is history. A number of things finally came together to cause me to look past my disdain for organised religion and join one. I will not go through them all because that is a very long story but one stands out. The puzzle from which pieces had been collected over a number of years of searching and which the movie had allowed me to begin to assemble had shown me the final picture. A wonderful picture of exquisite beauty. A picture that made perfect sense and confirmed to me my search was not in vain. But when I say “final” picture, I mean final in terms of this material life, not necessarily in terms of all existence. Sure some of the pieces are still missing but it doesn’t matter because I know what the picture is of and I am now free. Like, really free. FREE free. Unplugged from the Matrix.

Comments

Stone-Eater Friedli Added Aug 7, 2017 - 7:16am
Good for you. I will never get to that. Why ? Because I have been and am very ok without a god or a religion.
 
My motto was always; Go and find out and accept anyone from any culture as they are, believers or not no matter which religion. No prejudice. Be neutral an listen. When the other does the same all is ok.
 
Because daily life doesn't neec a religion. Just an open mind.
 
I never had any problems anywhere in the world following that motto.
 
JJ Montagnier Added Aug 7, 2017 - 7:18am
John, great article. You said:
 
We live in a world where the biggest threat to our future as a species is the understanding of one another.
 
I would add (from a Jungian perspective) that: 
 
We live in a world where the biggest threat to our future as a species is not understanding ourselves.
(our propensity to destruction and violence towards each other). 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Aug 7, 2017 - 7:20am
My business partner and best friend in Senegal is a Muslim and philosoph who has studied from Kant to Rousseau and Nietsche. We had night long discussions about it and I'm still amazed how he can be both a devout Muslim and a very realistic worldly guy.
 
He has given me much except into believing LOL
 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Aug 7, 2017 - 7:22am
Sorry on phone. Not quite correct at times ;)
John Harris Added Aug 7, 2017 - 7:55am
Thanks for the feedback peoples. The story can be taken as a metaphor for discovering new ways of thinking about the world and ourselves. It doesn't have to be about religion. Its just that that was my experience.
I am thankful for critical comments more about the style than the content as I am wanting to start writing but have much to learn. My head is a jumbled mess of thoughts and it takes time to sort them into some semblance of order and structure. I think I need to to start with the structure first and let that guide what comes out.
JJ, thanks for your feedback and yes we absolutely need to understand ourselves and that was a big part of my journey. And its not over yet!
SEF, thank you too. Life is a journey for all of us and we must take our own path. Whether religion is part of that or not I believe is not as important as who we become along the way. 
I developed a number of mantras to help me guide my behavior and one of them was "who are you choosing to be?" I especially love this because it pre-supposes we have a choice about that when many of us are stuck in the "that's just the way I am" paradigm. It always helps me hold myself to a higher standard than I might otherwise choose.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Aug 7, 2017 - 9:08am
John
 
"who are you choosing to be?"
 
Interesting thought. Frankly, sometimes I think I have no outer personality to show, but depending on the country I live I kind of adopt the way, the mimic and the language as good as possible. It influences me a lot. 
 
Not that I would change my deepest convictions and POV's a lot, but I see it in relation of the environment where I live (for long).
 
When I worked in Canada, I spoke and behaved like a Canadian, the same in Australia, or in Africa whichever country I was. 
 
Because I always thought, hey, I'm a guest, and I appreciate that you are receiving me so well. 
 
There's not much that divides us people. Only insecurity and fear divides. And that does not come from US. It comes from the outside and the media.
Dino Manalis Added Aug 7, 2017 - 9:14am
Congratulations!  God is love and brings us together, we're all human beings!
JJ Montagnier Added Aug 7, 2017 - 9:15am
It seems clear John (will respond to more of your points later), you could perhaps just add white spaces between the text to make it easier to read - I think you can edit the article from your profile area. 
George N Romey Added Aug 7, 2017 - 9:47am
I think man has always been predisposed to enslave their fellow man. The difference now is that technology and along with control of the rulers makes that not only more possible but much, much more visible.  The buffer of course are laws, regulations, doctrine, etc. that try to maintain a system of fairness.  Once that system is void then the hate and dominance follow.
 
If someone's religion gives them comfort who are we to judge? However, it doesn't give them the right to judge others that aren't so inclined or believe that government can only be guided upon the principles of a religion.  
 
Back in the 1970s Jimmy Carter was President, a deeply religious man. His faith was never an issue either way and he never said his governance would be based solely on his faith.
JJ Montagnier Added Aug 7, 2017 - 7:22pm
– “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”.
Perfectly summarised: a book in one sentence. 
 
As for Atheism - it always came across to me as a belief system: people religiously believing in not believing.
 
An endless pattern with the same old strategy of segregation. Divide and conquer.
I think this is a particularity of imperialistic groups that always tend to want to control everything - it's not a universal human trait though. However there are enough such groups on the planet to make the human race go in circles and repeat history over and over. 
 
This vision of ‘unity in diversity’ was something that underpinned my philosophy of life
I can relate to this. This has been achieved in some places, but sometimes people let it slip through their fingers when they have already got it, not valuing it enough. 
 
Some thoughts: 
There is a lot of complexity in the world and human behaviour is probably one of the most complex. I believe we are still evolving to Unity on a permanent basis and that's why we are not yet fully able to appreciate it on the occasions that we do land it.
 
Also, it would seem that the collective subconscious of humanity is effected by energy time frames - something I discovered while trying to "exit the Matrix" myself. 
 
So, for example there are periods of relative peace which are unexpectedly followed periods of war, or said differently, periods of unity followed by periods of disunity and this seems to have to do with the unseen energetic cycles of the universe that affects human psychology - the "unseen hand of the Universe", so to say that is directing us... - and the fascinating part is that dis-unity is also built into this ever-changing, never ending system of cyclical Yin and Yang. The question would be then, how do we deal with times of disunity? 
 
I have published an article here on WB, touching on some of this:
http://writerbeat.com/articles/16989-The-Sky-is-Falling
 
On my blog I go into it more comprehensively: 
http://gypsycafe.org/2017/05/14/the-fifth-earth-energy-transitions-part-1/
John G Added Aug 7, 2017 - 8:44pm
As for Atheism - it always came across to me as a belief system: people religiously believing in not believing.
Nope. A = lack of.
Saint George Added Aug 7, 2017 - 9:57pm
Nope. A = lack of.
 
Nope. You can't define a concept by a negative; by means of what it is not. You define things by reference to what they are.
 
"Atheism" is the positive belief — taken entirely on faith, not reason — that "matter" and "energy" by themselves are entirely sufficient to explain all phenomena in the universe, including, of course phenomena like mind, thoughts, imagination, dreams, concepts, percepts, and reason itself.
 
"Atheism" is simply the nom-de-guerre for "naïve material reductionism."
Lady Sekhmetnakt Added Aug 7, 2017 - 10:43pm
Good article and welcome to Writer’s Beat John. You have found an unconventional path to God which means it is more honest than those who just believe what everyone else essentially tells them to. 
John G Added Aug 8, 2017 - 12:45am
More Orwellian double talk from our resident zionist troll.
Christ on a bike.
Saint George Added Aug 8, 2017 - 2:47am
Christ on a bike.
 
Amusing, coming as it does from a know-nothing, crypto-fascist, anti-Semite; an aging, ex-radical air-head from the 1960s who wears a truss and is "stuck on stupid" because his thinking is stuck in the 1930s.
 
Hitler in Birkenstocks.
John G Added Aug 8, 2017 - 5:15am
You're the brother.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 8, 2017 - 8:34am
Dear Brother John
What a wonderful Mystical Magical Tour you have embarked upon to Eternity, a thought the finite mind has great difficulty grasping.
Christ teaches 'The kingdom of heaven is within you' so it will be found there, before it's found in a Mosque on Friday, a Synagogue on Saturday, or a Church on Sunday. You have dug deep in your voyage of discovery. You will find this is True on the Journey, 'Let all those that seek You Rejoice and be Glad in You: let such as love your Salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.'
Naturally, all those who have experienced the Joys of God and want to share them, know no Good thing can be forced on anybody. We must be like Christ says, 'Be as wise as a serpent, but as harmless as a Dove.'
This line is so appropriate, So I began to suspect that there could be two things going on here – ‘heaven’ sent spiritual masters to provide humanity with guidance and then a group of self appointed human ‘experts’ pretending to dispense this guidance under the flag of religion.
I expressed the same thought within the brackets in the Revelation leading to the War to End all Wars even thought it is 100 years later: And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(false beliefs about God in Judaism, Christianity & Islam, written some 500 years before Islam, the 3rd arm from the Jewish religious record appeared)

For they are the spirits of DEVILS, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth (the 1%, Presidents, Prime Ministers, CEOs, and other Idols of the People) and of the whole world, (the rest of Humanity) to gather them to the battle of that Great Day of God Almighty. (the war is already underway between Judaism, Christianity and Islam leading to the climax of that Great Day)
Behold, I come as a thief. (when you least expect it)
Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Revelation 16:13-16

Armageddon was derived from Har Megiddo, located in Judea and Samaria of occupied Palestine 2000 years ago. Israel as a kingdom disappeared some 800 years before Jesus walked in that area during the occupation.

Har Megiddo/Armageddon still exists as a physical place in this material world, but is now under the control of temporal Israel re-created from the Bible after an absence of some 2800 years. After all those years, the occupation of Judea and Samaria in Palestine is still an unresolved, violent, open wound in the Middle East and this material world. 
My awakening to God came totally unexpectedly in one Day. I made no room for thoughts of God in my Life since I left the Church in my early Teens, until February 1, 1975, when I was 29 going on 30. My deep soul searching started the Day After, and continues to this Day 42 years later, although I have found much rest and healing in God understanding this, 'And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
I try to convey this Spiritual Awakening in simple material terms here: 'DAY OF AWAKENING – DAVID vs GOLIATH vs ARMAGEDDON'
We are labourers in the Vineyard of God with so much still to do.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 8, 2017 - 8:51am
Suzanne by Leonard Cohen
 
https://vimeo.com/20993113
wsucram15 Added Aug 8, 2017 - 3:47pm
John..first welcome to the jungle, yes I like that.
Second this is a great article, it is personal and seems an honest truth about a topic people do not like to discuss.  Oh they like philosophy, but not their personal journey.
Mine is too long to write but I have written about it many times on here. I was raised Catholic for many reasons, left the church at 15 completely.  I practiced no religion and considered myself agnostic for many years. I always struggled with a deity because there were times that "coincidence" became a bad explanation for things that happened. Eventually Something larger happened to me and I was confronted with a choice.  Ive never felt that way, ever.  Today I get up every day and am glad to be here.
Its that simple.
Saint George Added Aug 9, 2017 - 3:11am
You're the brother.
 
And you're a Mother.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:03am
An interesting account. As someone who firmly believes that religion is one of the most harmful things around and that we'd be far better off without it I still found your story lucid.
Quantum physics is revealing a world that is stranger than anybody thought possible. Maybe there is an underlying force? Maybe the universe itself is conscious? Who knows? I would call that more spirituality rather than religion.
It is all open to conjecture but some things are certain to me: all human religions are manmade, all are about power and control, all have produced huge bloodshed and misery and all of them should be booted back to the medieval past where they belong.
I'm happy not having any religion and being filled with wonder and awe by the majesty of the mysteries that surround me.
Saint George Added Aug 9, 2017 - 6:34pm
religion is one of the most harmful things around
 
Atheism is far more harmful, both to the atheist himself and to others.
Robert Burk Added Aug 10, 2017 - 4:49am
The bible is not a generalized list of suggestions, it is a precise answer to all of mankinds social problems, it even has a back up plan because God knew we would foul of the original solution. The problem is as the bible says, sin, sin causes us to exploit any weakness in any system. Gods answer, the church, when understood, cannnot be exploited, it will not and cannot create unemployment, debt or any social costs. I repeat, the church is a precise, technically perfect solution to our social problems, it is not as has been manifested by this world. I suggest you read The Scientific Proof Of God on Amazon by myself.
 
Mark Hunter Added Aug 10, 2017 - 4:58am
Well written John, and a brave thing to put out there, these days.
john guzlowski Added Aug 10, 2017 - 2:30pm
Robert, The Church is the solution?  Which Church?  There are about 40,000 different Christian denominations each reading the New Testament precisely and uniquely.
 
God makes sense in ways that no religion does.
 
 
Tamara Wilhite Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:22pm
You'd love Dr. Jordan Peterson's Youtube lectures on Christianity.
Saint George Added Aug 13, 2017 - 5:06pm
Some important books for thinking about religion and its relation to secular philosophy:
 
"There is a God"
Sir Antony Flew (For many decades, the premier philosopher of atheism. He changed his mind because of some of the biochemical arguments from "Intelligent Design".)
 
  "Orthodoxy"
G. K. Chesterton

A remarkable collection of essays from a great satirist and former atheist.
 
"“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”"
 
"The Discarded Image"
C. S. Lewis

Lewis's last published work, and one of great originality and scholarship. It's a non-fiction collection of essays on medieval and renaissance literature dealing extensively with the geocentric model of the universe (the "discarded image") that was simply assumed by all men — scholar and commoner alike — to be the true model of the universe. It's a necessary model to understand if you wish to read Dante profitably, since he assumed it was a true model, too. The Church assumed it was true because the Aristotelian scholars who taught at the great universities of the day (Oxford, Cambridge, Sorbonne, etc.) said it was true. An important point to grasp about this model is its geometry: it's based on the relation between the center of the circle (i.e., the center of the earth), and the outermost circumference. The latter was assumed to be a very large sphere upon which the stars were afixed. That sphere rotated, and through a kind of "cosmic friction", it set spinning a slightly smaller sphere contained within it, which, in turn set spinning an even smaller sphere, etc. The entire thing was set in motion by Aristotle's concept of a "Prime Mover" who, naturally, inhabited some place outside of the largest sphere. That was the area in which God supposedly dwelled, surrounding all of the concentric spheres (that is, the entire universe). The earth, of course, was at the center of these concentric spheres, and the place that was geometrically the farthest distance from the circumferences (i.e., a perfect radius) would naturally be the very center of the earth; the location farthest away from God, which the ancient world called "hell."
 
This work by Lewis is not his usual Christian apologetics but a book on the imaginative reconstruction by modern readers of the typical pre-modern mindset.