the changed life*

Once there was a person who was a mean miser and was saved from hell (converted to a religion that teaches there’s a heaven and a hell), and the mean miser became a generous person to church and society and is now known to be a very good and pleasant person to be around. And God is credited with this wonderful change.

At the same time a second mean miser who was nonreligious decided to reform himself and succeeds and shares his wealth in the same manner the “saved” miser did and the “unsaved” miser is now also known as an gracious and entertaining host.

So, can the changed life be used as a proof of God’s existence or non-existence? Is it that no arguments are needed because of the absurdity of the idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful and perfect-record-keeping God exists who rewards and punishes forever and ever?

Do the believers in magical things happening after their deaths, believe it because it feels better having some type of religious insurance?

A good slogan might be “Don’t die without a policy from The Everlasting Life Insurance Company.” But there’s a problem: There are an awful lot of companies selling “Everlasting Life” policies and each company’s policy has different conditions and each is claiming to be the only one that will pay off.

The cost of this religious insurance is usually about ten percent or less of one’s income and faith: the belief in miracles and a never-ending suspension of disbelief: living in a house built on magic which probably is not as safe as a house built on sand.

Is this the reason why so many of the simply nonreligious crowds live compelling lives while many sincere believers in religious magic live lives spending a good part of their time trying to pass laws which would force others to live by their religious rules. Are these folks being misled? Shouldn’t they be leading by example and not by force?

Why do so many conservative religious folks, who are usually wonderful, loving people, spend so much of their time doing and supporting things which cause people to despise their actions and cause folks to dismiss their god too, all the while they could be doing what was asked of them to do: convert the unsaved by delivering the gospel while living authentic religious lives by displaying “the fruits of the Spirit” rather than trying to force others to live by their religious beliefs without truly believing them?

Any advice? Call to others, don’t try to force others. All you will get with force is resistance. Call using the good news not by calling your congress person to make sure homosexuals cannot get married or to make sure a poor mother cannot get the abortion she desperately wants and needs. Let your God do the judging and punishing. Your all-powerful and all-knowing God has prompted you not to judge.

Does attacking the rights of minority groups injure and insult their liberty and hinder their pursuit of happiness and reveal the attacker’s desire for power over others?

Is a mentally challenged person closer to the truth than those who come with magical promises claiming all of the promises are 100% true?

* It may seem that I’m angry at Christianity. I’m not. I am a former evangelical missionary and know Christianity is filled with loving and gracious folks. However, from my vantage point now as an outsider, I can see a very powerful portion of Christianity has lost its focus and is creating a false image of their true mission. So, I am preaching to them by giving a message that can assist in getting these wonderful people back on task. I realize that many of these folks will be outraged to think that a lapsed Christian like me could have anything helpful to say to them and their leaders about their getting off message, but some may hear and respond, and it’s possible that it might make a difference and change their minds about things like taking food out of the mouths of children who happen to be born into poor families. If Christ were real and walking the earth today, he would probably classify these particular Christian folks as pharisaical. The beautiful thing about Christian beliefs is those who have misstepped can be forgiven immediately and a few seconds later can start moving down a better path.

 

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the number-one trait hobbling humankind

What is the number-one trait hobbling humankind?

Could it be the propensity to believe in the magical and miraculous? (Richard Dawkins is the first person I heard use the term “magical thinking”) Do religions grow by promising eternal life and by telling stories of miracles and eternal punishment which are truly believed by those who are spreading the stories and promises?

There is real comfort received from sincerely believing one will have a wonderful life after death, a life which goes on forever and ever where it will be impossible to become bored. The promise of living joyously throughout eternity is claimed to be the case because it comes from a source that cannot lie but the promise comes with conditions.

A new believer in Christianity is assured he or she is one of the chosen who were predestined before the foundation of the world to live in glory with God and His angles forever and ever as stated in the Bible.

It is also promised that after judgment, all the rest will be spending eternity receiving continuous torture in a place filled with fire and brimstone. A fear tactic if I’ve ever seen one. Why will we suffer? Because we never heard “the Gospel” or we said “no thanks” to “the good news” when we had the chance or chances to accept it.

Can this source be trusted? Probably not with 36,000 other groups claiming that they have sacred scriptures which can be trusted? Is the “Gospel” just a miraculous story passed down to us which has a wondrous dramatic ending and delivers huge magical promises which give hope, longing, and comfort to those who truly believe in magic? Why do we believe? Is it usually because of how we were brought up or were we having a terrible life and the hope of heaven seemed so comforting or were we scared straight not wanting to be tortured forever?

Which of the two statements below has a far better chance of being true?

Every human will be aware forever…is a true statement.
Every human will be aware forever…is a false statement.

(A hint is below.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

One is magical thinking and the other is based on reason.

 

a double whammy

What Makes Up a Religon? People, rules and stories – usually in the form of holy scriptures, leaders, and fear which requires magical promises.

Unitarian Universalism is one of only two well-known religions which are nonstandard. The other religion is Buddhism which has about 700 million followers. UU and Buddhism are different from the others in that these two do not use fear of punishment to gain, keep and control followers.

Where did religion come from? It came from the ancient past and it is thought medicine men and witchdoctors were the high priests of early religious practices and used the seasons, the return of game, the return of rain, and sage advice, and so forth to maintain their importance to the tribe. Did they take advantage of the religious spark or impulse or the wonder which comes with being human?

I recently viewed a video debate between famous atheistic and Christian scholars and the following statistics were used and no objections to the statistics were raised by either side: “There have existed on earth about 36,000 different religious belief systems and there has been belief in about 1,000 different gods.”

Do the huge amounts of different and conflicting information brought forth by this huge number of religions and gods point to human beings as their creators? Yes? Can it be safely said that these hundreds of gods and thousands of religions appear to have been produced by human beings…and not a single all-powerful and all-knowing god who has many different rules for many different groups and has hundreds and hundreds of different personalities?

What are the odds the only true, all-powerful god would reveal itself only to a single group of tribes wandering around in a desert? (At least one in 36,000?) All of the evidence points to religion being a human creation.

What made religion become so powerful? First we had tribes then villages then towns then cities and then governments came into being which created laws to maintain order and apply punishment for breaking the laws, and then religion added its two cents worth – and it went like this: If you think you’ve gotten away with ignoring god and/or gotten away with breaking the laws of society, you won’t get away with it! God will punish you forever in the afterlife for your evil thoughts and deeds… So religion and the state supported each other and both became stronger than they would have been alone. And they are still at it.

This was a double whammy! A one—two punch to civilizations here on earth. To sum up, a huge amount of humans have been mostly laying on the canvass in the center of a boxing ring, knocked out for about the last 25 hundred years. It seems many religions have bloody trails behind them and the Abrahamic religions are possible leaders in the blood bath.

The big-time question is Can human kind be free of hell fire and brimstone religions and still be a decent group of folks?

alive and self-conscious

What a wonderful thing to be alive and self-conscious on this planet and on top of that science is telling us there are billions of planets here in our galaxy which are located in what is called the sweet spot which is the distance from a star where life can easily form. And there are billions of galaxies in our universe. So it’s not hard to think there probably are millions of civilizations out there.

It’s wonderful to be alive on this earth and living in this wonderful country. It’s not perfect but I think it’s still good at its core and filled with millions and millions of wonderful people. As a nation, our great asset is the huge group of nonpolitical leaders like the persons in charge of the TED broadcasts and others like Bill Gates. These nonpolitical leaders are everywhere.

There’s still opportunity in our country and to take advantage of it, the average person needs a better education which is now available and free. Check out www.khanacademy.org. In the school systems using the khan academy, the educators are becoming mentors instead of instructors.

Students for homework learn from the academy and then in class the next day the teachers notice the students who don’t quite know the lesson as well as they should and give them the attention needed for them to catch up.

The khan academy is built around not moving to new material until the students are experts on and can explain to others the material which has gone before.

It’s wonderful to be alive. But one not-so-good thing is that I will die. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing but dying before one’s natural time is a different story. And still there is a wonderful thing about dying. It’s that I will not exist after the animal dies because the animal created me to better get along in society. Is there no human soul, just an identity or ego?

Anyway, who would want to exist in the presence of a god who would torture anyone, even a Hitler, forever and ever. Let’s say Hitler is responsible for 10 to 15 million deaths or more, and all were very gruesome. Say, a year of punishment for each death. That’s 10 to 15 million years of torture. That’s so long my mind cannot contain it. Even a million years of torture would be too much. But forever and ever? Come on. Only a human would come up with that.

Isn’t it rational to think punishment is an invention of nature and as advanced animals, we humans are trying to change and perfect it?

 

floating in the froth

Are past and future real and not real at the same time? Not real because they are ideas but real because they take up actual time in the present thinking about them. It is their setting that makes them real, their stage, the present.

Are the last moment and the next moment always established on opposite sides of the present? Is the answer “no” because I’ve inherited a linear time line because it’s so practical and useful, but how do I apply this horizontal time I exist in to the only thing around: the immeasurable thinness of a vertical present?

Is time the thing which makes the room for every thing else? Or is time created by matter the second matter happens? Is everything (energy and awareness) a fountain and we’re floating in the froth at the top as tiny psychological bubbles which will eventually pop?

 

life itself

Is exercise life itself?

Moving from one’s health becoming worse and worse each day to becoming healthier and healthier each day is the goal.*

“The more you do the more you can do.”(ancient wisdom)

Be patient with progress however slow it may be. The key ingredient is to be a little more active than you were the day before. The more you do the more can do. The amount of “more” is up to the participant. Small changes work best because they keep us in the game of change. To start, choose something easy to do.

For example:

Standing up from a sitting position once each waking hour for a week. Then…

Standing from a sitting position twice an hour for a week.

Standing from a sitting position thrice an hour for a week.

And somewhere along the way remain standing up for a minute each time you stand, and then each week remain standing for a bit longer every day that week, and after a while, going for a short walk might not be so hard, and do the same thing with walking that you did with standing and work up to 30 minutes of walking five days of a week. Start with a walker if you have to and “have at it” a little more each day, that’s the goal. Before long who knows! Easy does it keeps us in the game. 

On the way, it’s best to eat well. This means consuming very little to none of wheat and other grains. Why?

Getting rid of processed sugar and all the other sugar 

which bread and other carbohydrates change into 

allows the human animal to begin using 

its own fat for energy. 

Better health and more energy usually result.

* This short essay is not intended to be medical advice. It is simply what I have discovered firsthand after reading and following the above advice which came over many years from a series of books on health. Here’s a partial list of those life changing books:

Fit for Life by Mr and Ms Harvey Diamond

P.A.C.E. The 12-minute Fitness Revolution by Al Sears

Never Be Sick Again by Raymond Francis with Kester Cotton

Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora T. Gedgaudas

(P.A.C.E. The 12-minute Fitness Revolution & Never Be Sick Again are my favorites.)