Atheism Explained

August 3, 2009

An atheist is someone who does not believe in any gods. But you wouldn't know this just by asking people. It sounds like three atheist camps have gotten entrenched. One camp says that atheists are those who deny that any god exists; another says that atheists are those denying the theistic God of Judaism/Christianity/Islam; while a third camp says that atheists simply lack belief that God exists. They are all arguing over how many atheists there are, and how atheism can best avoid all burden of proof. And what about the camp of agnosticism? All this chaos is affecting agnosticism, which is by now a pretty useless category. Agnostics used to know where they didn’t know where to stand, but now they don’t even not know what it is that they are not supposed to believe or to not believe. It's time for clarification, since atheists fighting over atheism's definition is getting really old and frankly embarrassing. I suspect all these camps have each grasped onto important aspects of atheism, but we need to step back for a moment.

There are understandable causes for such controversy. Lexicographers point to the Greek "a"-theos, but atheists can select among interpretations of prefix and term: what about "anti" theos (denial of the gods), or maybe "non" theos (not believing in gods), or "anti" theism (denial of a specifically theistic God). Demographers often describe an atheist as someone who will reply to a pollster, "Atheism? Yes, that's me -- I think that God does not exist." But few people make that selection, especially in America, where only 2-3% seem willing to apply that understanding of atheism to themselves. Self-identity atheism can make an atheist feel lonely. By contrast, lacking the belief that a supernatural personal God exists may broadly cover as much as one-sixth of the world's population (by including pantheists, spiritualists, agnostics, people unacquainted with the notion of a god, infants, comatose people, etc.). Thoughtful atheists seeking guarantees that all default burden of justification rests on religious believers also admire this broadest category of absence of belief. However, the notion that broad atheism needs no justification is wrong, since mere ignorance is unjustifiable (that’s we why we value education).

Educated atheism falls between self-identity atheism and broad atheism. It’s time to take an educated look at atheism. An atheist is someone who does not believe in any gods, that much is still clear. Lack of belief in something will ordinarily have two causes: inattention and skepticism. That’s why two main varieties of atheism are constantly promoted. By now we understand how “not believing that god exists” is quite different from “believing that god does not exist”. Both positions are genuine kinds of atheism, and may be conveniently labeled as “apatheism” and “skeptical” atheism. You don’t need to like my chosen labels, but these two kinds of atheism obviously exist nonetheless. Apatheism is inattention towards god and religious matters; by combining “apathy” and “theism” we can label people who lack belief in a god because they are not paying attention to religion and don’t care enough to think about God. Skeptical atheism is doubtful disbelief towards God and religious matters; skeptics lack belief in God because they have considered religion and believe that God probably does not exist. “Strong” atheism is the extreme end of skeptical atheism where some people confidently assert knowledge that no god exists.

Apatheism by itself offers no rational justifications for itself; an apatheist doesn’t know or care enough to bother. A genuine case of an apatheist is a person who would not rationally justify such lack of belief, since she either has no concept of god to think about, or she has no interest in thinking about what little she has heard about gods. The notion that an apatheist believes that god does not exist or that an apatheist is skeptical towards God can’t make much sense. The typical apatheist simply does not have that affirming belief or active skepticism. In response to the question, “Do you believe that God does not exist” an apatheist is likely to instead reply in this fashion: “What are you talking about?” or “A notion of a god seems meaningless to me” or “I have no idea” or “I have no belief about that.” It is more correct to simply say that the apatheist does not have the belief that a god exists, rather than supposing that the apatheist believes that god does not exist.

Justifying apatheism must come from some other atheist position. That’s the job of an educated and rational skepticism. This skeptical atheism is doubt towards all gods because available information and sound reasoning shows how it is improbable that any god exists. The skeptical wing of atheism composes the smaller “disbelievers” portion of the larger whole of “nonbelievers”, but they are not unimportant. In the long run, highly successful skepticism produces a world full of apatheists. Those proclaiming that the “genuine” atheist simply lacks belief so that religions must supply arguments are precisely those who, ironically, soon borrow critiques of the religious arguments from the skeptical atheist. Evidently, apatheists and skeptics need each other; together they are what atheism looks like while religions still flourish.

Neither kind of atheist, the apatheist nor the skeptic, ever has the “burden of proof” in arguments over God’s existence. Those who propose the existence of something always have the burden of proof. This is especially valid where religion is involved: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Both apatheism and skepticism are reasonable stances since atheism is rational, but it takes skeptical atheism to explain why. If skepticism has any “burden” it is simply the helpful exposition of religion’s many violations of reason and evidence. Skeptics gladly take on this “burden” of educating others when they can confidently expose religion’s irrationalisms.

Many skeptical atheists can offer educated justifications (again, not burdened “proofs”) in debates with thoughtful religious believers. The point of “theology” is offering reasons for accepting religious claims about God, so by parallel the educated opposition to such claims is “atheology”. Atheology offers reasons for skeptically doubting religious claims. Atheology comprises just one aspect of all the ways that religious belief can be criticized. For example, religions can be criticized for encouraging injustices or wars, and religious people can be criticized for bad conduct. Atheology narrowly focuses on rationally doubting the claims made by religious people about supernatural beings.

Let’s summarize. An atheist is someone who does not believe in any gods, and that’s a surprisingly large number of people. Two subsets of atheists are apatheists and skeptics, and they have in common the lack of a belief in God. Apatheists don’t care to think enough about religion to positively assert or justify a belief that God does not exist. Skeptics believe that god probably does not exist. Some skeptics offer religious criticism to explain atheism, while others can additionally do atheology. Only a tiny portion of atheism consists of people who do atheology, so atheology hardly characterizes atheism as a whole (besides, theologians practice atheology on other religions’ gods too). Atheology is a needed rational response to supernatural claims during a time of widespread religious belief. If you want a well-reasoned explanation of atheism, after we get its definition straight, you are asking for some atheology, which must be a topic for another blog.

Comments:

#1 gray1 on Tuesday August 04, 2009 at 1:05pm

The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.  I don’t know to which side of our particular everlasting arguement this might best apply, but as pointed out hereby each side in turn must defer to the “burden of proof” thing while some sware by and others sware at. There is no shame in calling yourself an agnostic, since it would appear to be at least the honest choice. 

I have no doubt that a relatively few people have had what they strongly believe to have been one or more deeply religious experiences.  There are numerous classic examples of this nature which have been linked with some high degree of stress and/or a mental illness, but this might just throw the arguement into a “chicken or egg” mode asking what came first, the madness or the vision of god? 

So what would spending forty days, more or less, in the wilderness do for any of our perceptions?  In some cultures, such is a rite of passage, most often a religious one.  So, how many atheists can claim to have been through hell and never seen god?  There we go again with absence of evidence…

#2 Bette (Guest) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 at 2:39pm

Reality Explained would be a better title, perhaps. The reality is that there is an awakening from the slumber religion demands happening now, and now, and now. Religion created as a patriarchal hierarchical indoctrinated belief system based on instilling fear of death, demanding blind faith while forgiving sin rather than having us know we are responsible for the decisions we make, is the control mechanism of keeping society asleep and controlled. It is time to wake up good people, it is time to be responsible for our actions, to know our intent, and why it matters.

David Bohm spoke about culture requiring shared values and meanings, that once shared values and meanings were established, then culture existed. Religion was the glue that held culture’s collective mind closed to the big picture. Here is Thomas Campbell’s model of reality. We are consciousness; consciousness is a nonphysical digital information system, the fundamental reality frame. We create our own reality, this physical matter reality, from consciousness space as streaming consciousness information. This is just one of many virtual realities we as individuated units of consciousness can experience by shifting our consciousness reality frame. One can do this by meditation, by using Hemi-Sync technology, by drumming, dying, dreaming; there are many ways to access the nonphysical digital information system we are all part of, to shift our awareness, we just have to do it whichever way our belief system allows. Religion as a belief system limits our reality as is requires us to disengage from the bigger reality, and reality is so much richer and rational when viewed as the huge system it is where death is simply a shift, and conservation of quality of consciousness is the rule, no fear, just truth. Tom’s views can be accessed at

#3 Bette on Tuesday August 04, 2009 at 2:43pm

Oh dear, I’ve stuttered, what I meant to say was at My Big TOE is the book, pop it into a search or browser and you’ll be there to see for yourself.
Love
Bette

#4 asanta on Tuesday August 04, 2009 at 11:43pm

Gray1, first you have to have proof that someone in that area of the world actually spent 40 days wandering in the wilderness. Archeologist have never found proof of this exodus. The proof of such a large number of people wandering about should be plentiful. I am an atheist, I have no belief in the existence of any supernatural entities, the proof is on the theist to make his/her case.

#5 J. (Guest) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 at 6:32pm

It’s a good thing to clarify language but of limited value as the basis for pursuing such political aims such as the separation of church and state, banning the death penalty, funding higher education or establishing single payer health care.

Neither atheism nor theism are privileged concepts that ought to enjoy axiomatic status because they do not have a stable and obligatory meaning from the beginning to the end of time, that is they are not God-given. The meaning of a term is what’s understood and misunderstood by speakers and listeners at a particular time.

If your goal is political, attempting to change minds by criticizing speech is inefficient. Religious sincerity is more dangerous than hypocrisy. Proving that God doesn’t exist is useless. That’s the job of suffering and injustice. If you need to talk about your own ideas positive and determinate terms are more productive than trying to define yourself by what you don’t believe.

These terms already exist, such as Humanism, Naturalism and Rationalism.  I’m apathetic about the absurd notion of God, I don’t have much to say about it and nobody cares. I’d rather press for the negating the privileges and influence of religion.

#6 Dave P (Guest) on Thursday August 06, 2009 at 4:00pm

@ Gray1,
The burden of proof is never on the one asking for evidence and an absence of evidence IS an absence of proof. Also, a lack of proof IS strong evidence that a claim is untrue.

As for your 40 days alone in the wilderness/rite of passage idea; it is well established that humans are actually quite bad at evaluating their situation and their surroundings when left to their own devices. When dehydration, starvation, and or mind-altering substances are added to the mix (as is often found in this sort of ritual), our judgment is completely untrustworthy. The only reliable conclusion that one might properly draw from such an experience is that food, water, and sleep are essential to keeping a clear head. Anything else should be viewed with strong skepticism.

As for the merits of agnostic over atheist goes; we can do both. Acknowledging that there is no conclusive evidence for a deity and taking the positive position of atheism as a logical conclusion does not require refutation of the agnostic position. In other words, no knowing if a god exists and disbelieving due to lack of evidence does not preclude us from believing when conclusive evidence is discovered and verified.

I am an atheist because I have never seen any verifiable evidence for any god. Because the vast majority of religions claim that awareness of an afterlife requires one to be dead and being dead prevents communication with the living, I find it quite reasonable to be agnostic about what one might find or not find on that side of the human condition. So I am both an atheist and an agnostic.

#7 gray1 on Friday August 07, 2009 at 6:16am

Dave P.,

Granted, however, if this was being viewed from a legal standpoint (which it’s not) testimony (ironically sworn) from not just one or two but thousands of witnesses would be sufficient to fry a supposedly murderous perp, with other “proof” of his innocence notwithstanding, yet still remains inconclusive as to the reality of God. 

As to the “spirit walk” thing, we can definitely assume that any visions encountered were brought about by the physical and mental stress, but somehow human hallucations end up developing as inspirations.  Earlier I might have added that it’s very strong coincidence that so very many such experiences (including near death ones)come out with so much in common which leads to much speculation about the afterlife, etc., but some of the more recent neurological studies point to sociological factors having much to do with how even our daily perceptions are translated by the brain.

Apparently our personal versions of reality are somewhat dictated by what we already expect and are expected to “see”.  To me this explains much, but again our human nature begs to ask why as much as how.

#8 Bette on Friday August 07, 2009 at 11:13am

Gray1
Yes, we do create our own reality; science has shown that is true. Our physical brains receive data coming into our sensory modalities, physical again. While most would have us believe the data is bouncing off physical objects and into our physical brains, it just ain’t so. Consciousness, a nonphysical digital information system, is the foundation of reality, and is what the world we experience is derived from. Don’t take my word on it though, find out for yourself. The whys and how’s and much else can be known upon personal experience in consciousness space.

You can know this yourself, the only way that will help you, anyone, know anything is to know it for yourself. You can’t know what you don’t know, and unless you have the information knowing isn’t going to happen. Absence of evidence could just be the result of limiting belief systems, and requiring evidence of a quantum nature that leaves some thing unknown or uncertain. The tools science uses to measure the physical aspects of reality are too limited to do the job of measuring the nonphysical. I am quoting Tom Campbell a bit in word usage here, but once words are put together in such a way that they become more than their parts why change them. Meanings are personal and built upon experience with other conscious beings, interactions; words are tools and metaphors with different meanings to each of us. They are what we have though, and to use them efficiently requires patience and a desire communicate with each other. 

Mr. Shook wants to communicate to us, the reader, atheism as he understands it in his experience comparing it to agnosticism and apatheticism[sic]; wait, let me check for any other ism’s, no I think that’s it. I have experience with agnosticism, personal experience the best kind, and know it as a belief that something bigger than I exist that I probably cannot know personally. It would have been useless had it been a static understanding, but that is not the way it works, thank Absolute Unbounded Oneness, or god, whatever. These are just words, metaphors for something beyond the limited information in this sub-set of a larger set of information, and beyond measure using tools limited.

Religion is no longer relevant, long live Bill Hicks, but we still need morality. The common public brainwashing says one has to believe in God to be moral while common knowledge from personal experience with all sorts of people, places, and things claiming to be walking that organized religious walk says different. Religion worked for awhile, and possibly was invented with a bit of good intent, but is as evolved, or devolved really, into something based on fear, the opposite of love, it is no longer relevant. While Tom Campbell’s My Big TOE model of reality requires no belief system while supplying all the answers to the important stuff like morality, intent, our choices and the feedback from them, love, what are we doing here, why do I exist, it requires only two assumptions; The potential of consciousness exists, and evolution exists. Bam. Check it out; it can change your reality if you can let your experiences allow it to enter and build on your current knowledge. It’s just information, it can’t hurt you. See you there, perhaps.
Love
Bette

#9 gray1 on Friday August 07, 2009 at 3:37pm

Conan the Philosopher

“Conan, why do you pray to Crom?” “Because he always answers my prayers. He always says NO!”

Lackey: “Conan, what is good in life?”
Conan: “To crush your enemies, drive them before you, and to hear the lamentations of the women.

Perhaps he learned the word “lamentations” from reading the Bible which happens to contain a Book bearing the same name.  Conan serves as an example of a true believer whose faith was that he could slash his way through anything to create his own reality.

#10 Bette on Friday August 07, 2009 at 5:05pm

You speak in parable gray1 effectively leaving gray areas, what are you saying? This is too important to play games or play lip service to rational thought. What do YOU think is real, how do you prove to yourself you are correct? Have you always believed this way? What would it take to change your belief systems? Do you know, do you care to know?
Love
Bette

#11 gray1 on Saturday August 08, 2009 at 6:33am

Alas my dear Bette, I am not so keen as to be a producer of parables, but we have managed to provide a case in point regarding our joint supposition whereby the mind automatically seeks it’s own reality.  How many times has a relatively meaningless but somewhat familiar passage, a Rorschach test of attempted communication so to speak, upon digestion thereof found some deep hidden meaning or insight. I might add there are popular substances which seem to enhance this very human characteristic and which have the potential to turn an otherwise boring evening into a truly religious experience. For some reason the authorities have made most of these illegal.
It does not pay to take anything too seriously as it often occurs that we exist only as the butt of an endless cosmic joke.  This is as much as I can actually “believe” that I know, so keep laughing.

“Your Jedi mind tricks will not work on me, boy.” - Jabba the Hutt

#12 Bette on Saturday August 08, 2009 at 3:12pm

Dear Gray1,
Two young pupils attached to two Zen temples often met each other on the way to the market to buy vegetables in the morning.
“Where are you going?”, asked the one of the other.
“I am going wherever my feet go.”, said the other.
The puzzled pupil approached his teacher for clarification. The teacher told him to ask him the next day, what if he did not have legs? This question would fix the other pupil.
The children met again the next morning and the questioner asked, “Where are you going?”
“I am going wherever the wind blows,” answered the other.
This answer perplexed the other all the more so he went back with the new answer to his teacher.
The teacher said “Ask him where he is going if there is no wind?”
The student met the other the following day and asked, “Where are you going?”
“I am going to the market to buy vegetables,” the other replied.
Love
Bette

#13 gray1 on Saturday August 08, 2009 at 5:29pm

Moral to the story:  Beware of the pupil who somehow manages to stay one step ahead of a master.

#14 Doug (Guest) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 11:49am

Yikes! Please read Objectivist Espitemology by Ayn Rand for a background on what I’m going to say.

We do not create reality. We perceive it different ways, sure. But, for example, a rock is a rock. You may see it is as a fusion of quartz and iron pyrite and I might see it as a big sparkly thing. But these aren’t two different realities. Further, neither of us is incorrect. Those are our perceptions. And we generalize those perceptions into concepts so that we may communicate. We communicate more effectively if we build on the same, or at least similar, concepts. If I’m suffering from dementia and I see a rock as Uncle Fester then I’m suffering from dementia and I see it as Uncle Fester. I will not communicate effectively with you. But it doesn’t mean I’ve manufactured a different reality; it means my wiring is fried.

Now some say there is ‘community-’ or ‘collective-intelligence’. And that we must all agree that this thing is called a rock in order for the rock to exist. But this is not true. Each of us can conceptualize the same thing and call it something different if we wish. Having a word for it did not call it into existence. The word, or expression for the concept, enables communication and nothing else. If we did not communicate there would not be a word but we would still recognize it when we saw it.

N.B. Thank you for the article and the discussion. My brain is enjoying the exercise.

#15 Bette on Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 12:57pm

These perceptions are limited by the belief that only the physical system under constraints of this rule-set (physics) contains the answers we seek. Expand, the nonphysical is very inclusive with answers to anything important to us as humans having this physical experience. Read Brian Whitworth’s Whitworth, B., 2007, The physical world as a virtual reality ..arXiv version2, really. Please and thank you.
Love
Bette

#16 gray1 on Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 1:26pm

I suggest there exists a range of “realities” one end born of the current general consensus which may or may not actually be true per se, the other being the pure, absolute and ultimate truth which is probably quite rare if not altogether impossible to even fathom.

Perception and comprehension levels vary greatly between individuals and even more between species.  Could we ever be expected to appreciate the range of smells that make up the natural world of a shark or bloodhound?  Does a relatively low IQ dim wit (as opposed to the high IQ ones) actually encounter the whole world in the same manner as someone who is actually likely to be reading this (and yet each gets to vote)? 

Modern scientific research relies heavily upon technological extensions of our senses to venture well beyond that which is naturally available to us.  Theories based upon mathmatics continue to push those boundaries even farther and we still hope to eventually observe many of those things which we can now only logically predict. 

The basic problem is that we have progressed in some areas well beyond anything even remotely “intuitive”.  So if my “reality” in taking this into account differs from the general consensus, I may be considered by most to be “wrong” but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuition_(knowledge)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_society

#17 Doug (Guest) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 2:06pm

Thank you, Bette, I will read through it. However, it seems to be a restatement of the “brain in a jar” or “Matrix (the movie) reality”. Those are quite irrelevant because it doesn’t matter if it’s a virtual reality or not. Further, like God, you can neither prove nor disprove it so why be distracted by it?

However, those comments are naively stated based on the noted philosophies so I will refrain from making any more until I have read the paper.

#18 Bette on Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 2:46pm

Listen (open mind), Experience (for yourself, it isn’t so hard to do), Organize (the results, the data), Understand (at that level), Repeat. It’s a self modifying system so even if one does not understand it, consciousness continues to evolve.
Love
Bette

#19 Bette on Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 2:48pm

Thank you Doug, the previous message was for gray1. If the paper sits well may I suggest going to the my big toe website for some free video’s and other information, or to ask questions.
Love
Bette

#20 gray1 on Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 4:14pm

The link to the paper that Bette mentions is:
http://brianwhitworth.com/2008-BW-VRT1.pdf

I scanned the first half of the paper and suggest that my earlier posting #16 might even serve as an abstract thereof, at least to the extent it serves my own delusions of grandeur.  But then I have read some of the less technicial works of Eddington, Penrose, Hawking and others who have engaged the frontiers of reality, or at least current thought thereof. 

It seems that some reverse engineering is being proposed by Whitworth with the VR thing, but it does often occur that we “know” something long before it can be proven.  Pointing out the inconsistencies in what we know about science only shows that, as earlier stated, it continues to evolve, but if the path appears to come to a dead end, it often pays to go back to an earlier fork in the road and see where that one leads.

#21 Doug (Guest) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 4:16pm

From the paper: “the theory that the world is an objective reality is just as unprovable as the theory that it is a virtual reality”

and so it doesn’t matter.

My opinion continues that a page of seemingly related descriptions does not prove it to be so. This is like The Bible Code idea. Therefore, again in my opinion, it remains a theory as untestable as its competing or null hypothesis and by its own statement (I guess until other information arrives). Finally, if we are a virtual reality and the processing engine is a ‘real’ reality aren’t we back where we started?

And so we come back to: a rock is a rock. Amusing to me is this is an echo of the God concept in the original article. You cannot prove a God so why bother continuing to consider it or use it in a rational discussion without first determining its efficacy?

And where is this “Big Toe” information? I assume “toe” stands for theory of everything. If it does that’s pretty clever. If it doesn’t, well it still brings a smile to my face.

#22 Bette on Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 5:19pm

The paper was a precursor to bigger reality. The theory of everything that really is can be found in the trilogy called “My Big TOE” as Tom Campbell’s well researched big picture model of reality. It is a bigger model than any I have researched. Check it out, there is a lot of free information and a discussion group to ask sincere questions. You can’t know until you know, do you want to know is the question. I hope the answer is yes.
Love
Bette

#23 gray1 on Thursday August 13, 2009 at 5:57am

Will the Illustrious One hear me a little longer?  Silently the Buddha nodded his consent… according to your teachings, this unity and logical consequence of all things is broken in one place… that is your doctrine of rising above the world, of salvation… not to explain the world to those who are thirsty for knowledge… its goal is salvation from suffering… nothing else… you have done so by your own seeking… you have learned nothing through teachings…nobody finds salvation through teachings… this clear, worthy instruction does not contain… the secret of what the Illustrious One himself experienced. - Siddhartha (H. Hesse)

Bette, The above passage may be related to Campbell (the Buddha) and his own very big picture “Theory of Everything”.  To his credit Campbell spends much time and effort in telling about himself, his qualifications, experiences and broad nature of his own exposure to both the physical and metaphysical - which only serves to emphasize this point… while the subjects hit upon make for some worthy reading or at least interestingly so, if you haven’t BTDT chances are the same meanings can also be found in a Jackson Pollock painting.

And yes, this all actually can be tied into the subject at hand, the attempt to understand theism/atheism by examining human nature and how we perceive reality, etc., but this conclusion may also be merely the power of suggestion at work… so beware.

Love,
Gray1

#24 Doug (Guest) on Thursday August 13, 2009 at 7:01am

Gray1, you beat me to it. I was going to say this all sounds like Buddhism. While not a typical religion as we’re used to them, I think it is equally evil from a moral sense. It dismisses human beings as being a limited state of suffering and suggests you must let go of all material and personal reference on earth for a ‘higher state of being’. Like religions, it attempts to dismiss reality and control your actions with fear, albeit a less blunt fear than the other religions.

My viewpoint of rational self-interest and what I have determined to be a far more effective means of living it—an objective or objectivist view—seems far more efficient to me. Obviously I always consider other viewpoints (or I wouldn’t be reading all these references you keep sending me . But so far I don’t see the point. I deal with what’s in front of me, at the level I understand it. That understanding increases everyday and I really enjoy learning (so that’s a Good Thing). And I live my life by trying to do what’s best for me, interacting with others in a mutually beneficial manner when it suits us. This usually results in very close, mutually respectful relationships—in other words, I couldn’t find better friends.

I lived in a family loosely Catholic. I thought religion was ridiculous. Anything that needs to threaten me to be a part of it seemed barbaric. So I left others to do that. The idea of a moral code did not seem so unreasonable, however. I’m a fairly principled person so when I ran across Buddhism I thought this might be interesting. Certainly better than dyanetic, scientology, and other brainwashing bastardizations. But it still didn’t feel quite right.

Then I read Atlas Shrugged. I looked into this crazy Ayn Rand character and spoke to a friend whom I found out knew quite a bit about this stuff. In short, I liked it. It makes complete sense without trying to invent a bunch of unprovable fantastic explanations to fill holes just because you feel inadequate about not knowing.

You’ve said a couple times, “do you want to know is the question”. Of course I do. But I’m not going to invent an answer then say “that’s the truth”. I will put the question to you. Do you want to know? Are you prepared to deal with the rather dreary, plain facts before you instead of inventing altered states of conciouseness, virtual realities (funny term if you think about it), intersecting planes of existence, etc.?

Any time we artificially alter what’s before us it is to attempt to control. Politicians are notorious for doing this today, muddying up the true meaning of the situation before us. This is an attempt to wrest control when no such action is necessary. Kids do it, too, by using words for different meanings such as “sick”. But what this does is distracts from the bare facts of any given situation. Our communication becomes inefficient and we deal with a situation less effectively.

Which brings us full circle to the article. It’s not about atheism or reality but about the proper use of concept labels or “words”. It’s very important to get them correct. The dissertation on reality above makes this point.

By the way, am I an atheist? If an atheist is someone who does not believe in God, i.e., there could be this thing called God but I don’t believe it to be so then I am not an atheist. There simply is no such thing therefore I cannot not believe in it. Is there a word for that?

Wow, my brain is getting some GREAT exercise!

#25 Bette on Thursday August 13, 2009 at 9:04am

Yes, good exercise. It doesn’t really matter since the system, nonphysical digital consciousness, will continue evolving whether the participants are aware or asleep. Truth is not fragile, and now the information you’ve allowed in can organize and probably allow further understanding in the future, it’s all good.

Accessing different frames of reality with meditation, drumming, dancing, etc. is fact even if it is not “believed” to be true. Shifting conscious awareness, going “out of body” to experience the bigger reality. You own personal experience is what it will take for the final piece of the puzzle that will allow this to make sense. We have all the time n the world, and more than one chance as well.

Yes Tom gives his background information as any scientist would when proposing a model, a model that does answer any question (so far) and unify physics and metaphysics, and all. If you haven’t already may I suggest viewing the London lecture video linked and free on his web site. I am limited here, apparently with no ability to post links.

Yes virtual reality is an odd term, almost real reality. It seems redundant, or fractal even, like the system. It is what it is though.

Words are just metaphors. It takes reflective listening skill to communicate effectively. Perhaps it’s time to bring back conversation pits.

Well, enough chipping any at belief systems for now. I’m off to buy some vegetables.
Love
Bette

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