There are some interesting things going in western China involving Muslims in the province of Xinjiang, where 40% of the population is Muslim. “Xinjiang first introduced its “Regulation on Anti-Extremism” in April 2017 to ban a wide range of “extremist behavior” following a string of terrorist attacks.” China is a more or less homogeneous country where the majority practice native religions or have no religion. Christians and Muslims number only about 2.5% each of the population and the Chinese Catholic Church is now separate from Rome. This is significant, I think, because it indicates the Chinese opposition to their people answering to a higher power, which is really the basis of the monotheistic faiths. This was also the reason that Japan outlawed Christianity in the 1600’s; no power can be greater than the Emperor (or the Shogun). The same in China. China is not one to permit dissent which disrupts the lives of law abiding Chinese. The violence in China a few years ago by Muslim extremists has brought on a measured response to the disruptive element, the radicalized Muslims and is actually a two pronged operation targeting Muslims who the government feels need re-education, and a secular public education for all children. Their motive is to promote peace, unity, and tranquility for the Chinese. Some of the accounts of this re-education sound brutal and would seem counter productive if torture or violence were involved. But how do you convince someone to give up their delusion of Allah? It is pretty hard. GROG
What kind of fools are we? Why do we let ourselves be fooled? There are a number of words: conned, ripped off, scammed, tricked, deceived, hoodwinked, bamboozled, and more, which give an idea of what I’m talking about. A simple word for it is scam, basically a promise of something to the scammed, which the scammer never really delivers. In the case of Bernie Madoff, his scam began in the 1960’s. Not a bad run. He made millions, but he got found out, just as most scammers do, eventually. There are many books out there about getting fooled, but I haven’t heard or seen anything that takes on or tries to explain the biggest scam in history. I think of it as the perfect scam, because once scammed, these folks don’t want to learn the truth. As well, a big part of this scam is the way we humans think, and how our minds work, and when. The scam is that humans (a certain group of them) are blessed with (the promise of) eternity and more. They believe they are blessed with an eternal soul, or whatever, so that after they die they are recomposed into their mortal form so they may be with their Dad, forever! Delusion abounds.
BUT, why must we care? We must care, because these “believers”, for centuries now, have been praying for the end to come, Judgement Day, the End. That is what they have been and are still being promised, salvation and resurrection! “Tomorrow for sure”, that is what they are hoping for! The end of the world is the ending of their story, and the glory of God. But, just like the Adam and Eve story, it is a set-up. And, it is a set-up that involves everyone because they believe their God created and rules everything and everyone! The whole earth is the victim, as the promise of the end is constantly renewed. The animosity between the three players can only continue, because they each believe that their version is the true word of their God. As Hitchens has eloquently pointed out, there will be no peace in the Middle East because the party of God has put a veto on it by promising the Holy Land to each of the parties involved. We see “the never ending story” of attempts to bring it about. It is like two bombs, time ticking away, awaiting the critical mass to light the fuse! This promise of salvation and eternal afterlife, at its core the delusion of resurrection. The early Christians deluded themselves and each other that they would live in Jesus. The scam worked and the cult of Jesus survived. If only Armenia and the Roman Empire hadn’t made Christianity their state religion, where might humanity be?
So in order to get rid of God, it is necessary to educate people, especially the children, about science and common sense. Every living thing will die someday, for humans the current limit is about 120 years, give or take a few.
When a person realizes that there is but one life, each moment is more precious than the one before. If it’s a good life, you are lucky, if not,… not so much. That’s how it is, it’s just a life, one of zillions, and hopefully more to come. So please tell your children the truth. What happens after death? We don’t know, can never know, and the mystery remains. We know we will die, but if we live life like there will always be a another tomorrow, you can’t really appreciate the value of the one, the only one, you will ever have, today. GROG
Humans have always believed in Gods and spirits. There are many beliefs as to what happens after a person dies. It is sad to lose a loved one, and the dream of there being something after death is comforting to family and loved ones left behind.
I like the festival for the the spirits which the Japanese celebrate, called Obon. This mid-summer holiday is when the the spirits are welcomed back for a celebration in their honor. A joyous and serious event, after which the spirits return to the spirit world they came from. Then there are the religious who believe in a cycle of reincarnation. These, generally polytheistic, animistic, naturalistic religions, for the most part, are of this world. The monotheists, specifically the Jews, Christians and Muslims, believe that their God rules not only the earth and everyone on it, but the entire universe. They believe that they, the so named children of God, are special. They believe that there is a purpose for the creation of earth and the life on it. Whatever that purpose is, the ultimate end is death, salvation/reincarnation and an afterlife in heaven.
How is this delusion ever going to be erased? The belief in God and salvation have been so normalized that many people are shocked at someone not believing in God. Only by education and a stiff resistance to the delusion that human beings are a special case in the evolution of life on earth, can this delusion be erased.
In Sam Harris’ book, The End of Faith, he states in the Epilogue, p 224: “Of course one senses that the problem is hopeless. What could possibly cause billions of human beings to reconsider their religious beliefs? And yet, it is obvious that an utter revolution in our thinking could be accomplished in a single generation: if parents and teachers would merely give honest answers to the questions of every child.”
When I first read this some dozen or so years ago, I took it as a call to end the delusion of a creator-god. To become addicted to grog, to take in the full realization that everything is natural, that life is what we make it, for ourselves and for each other. GROG alot
Where do we begin to find the answers to the many questions we ponder about life and how to live it? There are many question about life and even about who we are. Why are we here? Why are we the way we are? When I began a few years ago to look at history, my own as well as world history, I found some things very interesting. I discovered family connections with the Mormon church I never knew I had.
After being irreligious for so many years I took an interest in what this belief in god is all about. My interest became more focused after reading The End of Faith, by Sam Harris. Something in the epilogue has become sort of a guidepost for me. After saying that the situation seems hopeless, Sam wrote, “And yet, it is obvious that an utter revolution in our thinking could be accomplished in a single generation; if parents and teachers would merely give honest answers to the questions of every child.” Education is the only answer that really works to reduce the delusions of the supernatural.
There are many religions in the world, with many gods, and many stories about the relationship between humans and their gods. Very broadly speaking, the people on earth can be divided into three groups, based on belief in the supernatural and the relationship there to.
*First, this group believes that humans have a spirit, but that this spirit dies upon mortal death. They believe life on earth will continue so long as conditions permit. For these nonbelievers there is no supernatural realm.
**Second is the group that believes the spirit continues to exist in a supernatural realm along with all the other spirits and gods, with which they may or may not interact. They believe and hope that life on earth will continue forever.
***Third group, the monotheists. Their belief is that humans have an eternal spirit which after death, along with their resurrected mortal remains, will continue to exist forever in a divine realm. They believe that their story, as revealed in their Holy texts, applies to everyone on earth. They believe their god rules the universe and when the time is right, life on earth will end, as per god’s will. They pray for this to come about so they may ascend to that divine realm, and for life on earth to be destroyed. … God willing!
Even today the preachers are increasing the volume of their wailing. The signs are everywhere. It is the same old fear mongering to the faithful to get ready for the glorious day when they get to go to heaven. If you read the blogs of the believers, just here on WordPress, you will get a good idea of their delusions. Stories of fantasy and dreams. Perfection, purity and all the rest; the fantasy without bounds. It is all about them and their one-on-one with their savior. And their eternal god given soul. GROG
Many of you know Hitch as Christopher Hitchens, A writer, thinker, doer, speaker and a superb debater. His last few years spent opposing the delusions of god. Where ever you are on the religious spectrum, except the hardcore faithful (they are without hope), the debates are enlightening. The debate with former PM Tony Blair, very good … there are many. Probably the most entertaining was when Hitchens and Stephen Fry took on Catholic clergyman from Africa and a woman, a former member of Parliament.
This one with Alister McGrath is excellent.
This is fairly long so you can skip the parts you don’t like. The last 35 or so minutes is a Q & A, and what Hitchens says at the end is important to everyone, I think. It is why I blog as GROG.
There is much debate about about religion by believers and non-believers. Many terms such as agnostic, atheist, skeptic, et al, for those of little or no faith. I would like to make a distinction between the two, the theist and the antitheist, which is not about God or the veracity or “Holy scripture”.
Religion is natural to humans and is our humanity, especially in our respect for the dead. Religion is based on the belief that humans have an inner spirit, an immaterial inner self. Basic religion is belief that human spirits, upon mortal death, go to a supernatural spirit world. This religion is simple, and ritualistic. This is ancestor worship, because we are humans. It is natural and will never end until humans do.
Disbelief, in this case, is of a story that is utterly impossible to believe. Every non-believer/antitheist knows, like everyone else, that all humans have a spirit, but they have no faith that the spirit continues to exist beyond mortal death. Death is final and irreversible. Atheists, by my definition, believe there is but one life, not two.
Therefore, religion is based on belief in a human spirit and a supernatural spirit world which is magical thinking, and a scam. Add to that the delusion of resurrection and we have people who are mentally ill as they pray for the final battle between good and evil.
Maybe there are those who still hang on to the possibility of there being some kind of a God. It would be good to hear from you. I feel the plausibility, the possibility, the likelihood of humans being resurrected because they have an eternal soul, is a belief I cannot hold. No resurrection, no need of heaven or God. GROG
This delusional situation of resurrection and an afterlife is both an educational issue and a mental health problem. It can be cured with factual education. We must learn to live without God. GROG
Getting God off my back; that was a great relief. I heard so many times, “The one and only true religion.” It was always claimed to be perfect, but never seemed to be so.
I was lucky, never being a strong believer, and went through life not giving religion or god much thought. After I heard Sam Harris on TV promoting his first book, The End of Faith, I realized that I should get serious about what I believed. There is a lot of stuff out there on both sides, and there is a lot we need to understand. The first thing to understand is, we are human. We have needs, hopes, fears and desires. We lie, we work, we cheat, we love; we want to survive. Basically, that is the purpose of being born, to survive and reproduce. It’s really nice when a bit of love can be added, and a lot of good luck.
How do religions begin? Charismatic dreamers, reformers, cults, … How did monotheism get a start? Zoroaster, a reformer of early polytheistic religion, 2000 years before the time of Christ, which influenced the Jews, who already were convinced that they were the chosen ones, they had a pact with God, and they wrote the book. Then along came Jesus and the scam began. The Jews were ready to be saved and the story of the Christ’s ascension was too good a deal to pass up. But, the endurance and success of this small group of visionaries was not guaranteed. It took the acts of two Romans to make it thrive. First Constantine I, then Theodosius I, who on 27 Feb 380 made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. Then along came Muhammad… Ah, yes. the great dividers, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; cults of death whose believers pray for the End and believe only they will really go to Paradise.
Why, me worry? Humans can believe anything they like and they have been doing it from the beginning. But, all religions are not equal. Most religions deal with humankind, this world and the next. We can’t know if there is a next world, but we can believe that what ever it is that gives us life will not die. A very human feeling; we all feel that there is another one of us inside. When we see a dead creature we wonder, what is different now? My pet canary looks the same, but cannot sing. All creatures die and it is delusional to believe otherwise. Just because we think and feel we are special doesn’t make it so! So much for belief and delusion. So, why be concerned about the JCI? The big three, Judaism-Christianity-Islam, believe that their version, written in their holy books, applies to the whole world and probably the entire universe!!! They believe the world is supposed to end and they pray for it to happen. It’s in the book!
That is why I believe in GROG. Just try to imagine what this world might be if it hadn’t been for the big three. Where might we be if it hadn’t been for JC?