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Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.




Saturday, March 10, 2012

The God Concept: Guest Post by JR Nova

When author and fellow blogger JR Nova recently shared his thoughts on God with me my first impulse was to ask him to write a guest post. I found his views compelling and some of his ideas reflecting ones that I've been coming to embrace as true.  I was very grateful that he accepted my request. I feel his thoughts, eloquently expressed, are insightful and thought provoking. Please be sure to leave your reflections towards his post in the comments section.

I encourage those who are not yet familiar with his blog to check it out at: www.jrnova.blogspot.com . He has also written a great new story. To find out more about it and to purchase it you can visit: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/131533




The God Concept

JR Nova




My atheism defines what I am not. I am not a deist.

My Pantheism defines what I am. I love the world.

I believe that my lack of a belief in a creator god frees me to enjoy the Universe in a different way. The shift in conceptual thinking enables me to cherish and appreciate the world for what it is. It's unpurposeful. The world has order, structure, and design, but these are without purpose, and without “creation”.

The Universe just is, and though we can define it by the laws of gravity and other physical phenomenon, it has no beginning and no end. It's “being” is likely a fluke, a statistical error. A matter/anti-matter imbalance. Like a bubble of air on the surface of plain water.

Vacuum creates life. Something does come from nothing, just as creativity and productivity come from sloth and laziness—from relaxation.

The idea of a creator god is a concept I want to fully escape, a dead weight I wish to drop. When I think of Pantheism I do not want to think in terms of “The Universe = God”, because this is misleading and untrue. Instead, “The Universe = Itself”. We are itself. We are the Universe. There is nothing standing outside of it guiding it, creating it, governing it. It governs itself.

It nurtures itself.

The creator god concept is a trapping that dictates a god, or gods, created the world. It is based on the hierarchy of royalty, of power, of human government, as well as the parent role. To believe in a god is to follow that god's laws. Laws that are often arbitrary, but invoke the wrath of the god if not followed, and the blessings of the god if followed. Just as a parent loves a child only if the child behaves, otherwise the child is disciplined harshly.

This belief system goes against my world view. I would much rather believe the Universe has no creator, and that I (and all other sentient beings) evolved only to be aware of itself. Ourselves and itself are one, of course. This makes for a very spontaneous, genuine, and relaxing Cosmos. I have no fear of going to Hell if I fail, and I no longer twist myself into perfection to get to heaven.

When I help someone, it is because I genuinely care about them, and not because I'm doing what I am told. (It is incredibly offensive to me that people help each other only because they have to. This is not genuine or spontaneous, and not very positive as it is conditional.)

The Universe is without judgment. Watch anything, be aware of it. Whether it is a plane, a car, a tree, a mountain. There is no judgment. Looking at the world without preconceived notions, you will not find the trappings of philosophy man has come to cherish. God is not to be found in awareness. There is, however, a great wonder of life that will always be found in awareness, though it is confused with many things, often times with “God” by people who hold to the creator god concept.

Looking at the world without preconceptions is vital to my world view. I have discovered that nothing man “believes” in can be found there. Our philosophies are not in awareness. Our rules are not in awareness. Our concepts are not in awareness. Awareness is a great emptiness.

Without preconceptions, I am able to see the world as it truly is. It is whole, one, nonjudgmental and most importantly, nurturing. The world IS. This isness is an incredible thing, a beautiful thing.

I am. You are. We are.

I do not want to take the world for granted. The creator god concept opens the door to losing the world as we produce a mental concept of something outside and larger than the world. So we take for granted the rivers, the trees, the animals, our technology, ourselves, each other. This is not a problem only for the creator god concept. All concepts cause us to lose focus on the world. Only in awareness, without preconceptions, can we fully live.

Because God created the world, the world is unnatural, and humans see anything as unnatural as unnuturing. But by seeing a world where everything is natural, everything becomes nurturing. The cold stones of mountains and the lifeless engines of automobiles become parts of a lively, symbiotic relationship.

It has taken me many years to drop the creator god concept, but not because it has been ingrained deep in my psyche since I was a young child.

To escape one's way of thinking, one must have something to escape to. I lacked that destination. It was difficult for me, for many years, to see the Universe as giving and loving without a god to give and love.

But then I began to look without preconceptions. I began to see simple things. Nothing cosmic. Nothing grand. I saw blankets on a bed, shoes, my computer and guitar. I saw how these things helped me, made my life easier and more enjoyable. I began to think back to history. Was nature really a terrible place, something mankind had to constantly fight against? Or was nature a provider?

I saw sticks and stones that could be made into hunting tools. I thought of fire, not as a destructive force, but life giving, providing heat, protection, and food. I began to see that nature gave ancient man everything it needed, not just to survive and get by, but to thrive and prosper.

When we were cold we found something to keep us warm. When we were thirsty there were fresh streams. When we were hungry there were berries, fruit, and deer. When we were bored we had all the world to play in. When we were hurt or sick and in pain, to weak to heal, we were offered death. A final escape of suffering. Mercy.

I don't see myself as fighting against this world, because I am the world. I've dropped the idea that I am separate from the world. I no longer believe that I belong to God, that this world is just a barrier between me and Him. I no longer see Earth as a waiting room to stay before I'm rewarded with Heaven. I won't waste my days waiting for my afterlife.

I'm there already. This is Heaven.

Concepts are only lines in the sand. Let the ocean wash them away. Live.


52 comments:

  1. J.R. Nova...very well said! I agree with your that our preconceptions are what make seeing clearly so difficult. We don't seem to be able to merely accept what is around us, but must complicate it. Generally, religion has created "laws" which are against human nature, leaving followers with a burden of guilt. All for the benefit of those who then "guide" us. It's manipulation and control, often causing great harm. I also struggled for many years with much of what you did....so I know the road you have been on. Everything is simply, "what it is," beyond that, it's just our perception of it.

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    1. I like "Everything is simply, 'what it is,' beyond that, it's just our perception of it." I don't have to over-think life, but enjoy it...find joy in it. Guilt is the greatest barrier to that, imo, and guilt is probably what this entire post was about anyway...

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  2. Wow this is very powerful, so close to how I believe I haven't gotten all the way there yet. I am still clinging to preconceived notions and teachings of my youth. Freedom is what I read in these words....

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    1. Freedom is exactly it. Total freedom and peace. I think that's why so many Eastern "gurus" relate meditation to a kind of "death". Jesus drew that comparison himself. To die to our "selves" is to truly live...

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  3. Although our views differ greatly regarding God, J. R., I respect your journey and the most eloquent way in which you describe being connected to the world and no longer separated from it.
    Ironically, it is my feeling at one with creation that makes me feel closest to God. I am His creation, too, along with everything around me. Although I, as a Christian, am not OF this world in the ultimate, eternal sense, but I am very much IN the world to appreciate it, preserve it, cherish it, and to love others as myself. To know that when I die, I've left this world just a bit better than how I found it.
    And, yes, I live - in each and every moment. :)
    Thank you for this most thought-provoking commentary; you've done Jessica proud!
    Blessings to you!

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    1. We differ, but the respect is mutual. When I thought of exceptions to what I was saying (and there are many), I thought of you first. You PROVE that God works. He's very real for you, as real as anything can be for me, and you find love with Him. I find love in the world, and I think at the end of the day it's that love that will connect us all together, no matter what else we believe.

      Hopefully.

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  4. Great post. Very similar to the tradition I am from.

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  5. I don't know how to reply to this...I just had a nice conversation with J.R. about this very topic. It was great, because unlike most conversations that use the word "God", or "Religion", there was no arguing whatsoever. I'm sure that we both have different views on things, as every single person on this planet will have some variation in Beliefs. One of my views that I think we can all agree on is this--- How can anyone think that any 1 religion is correct over the others....God isn't a prick..He wouldn't create an entire plateau of Species that can think for themselves (Not just Humans, or Aliens, but all animals can think..and I believe are self Aware) and then say, I will only let one little group among 1 species to know the truth

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    1. Well said, and let me add: any conversation which eventually leads to dinosaurs is worth it... :D

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  6. Some great comments on this thread. Thank you so much JR for sharing your insights with all of us!

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    1. You're very welcome, Jessica. You'll have 100 comments on this and two thirds of them will be mine LOL!

      Glad for the opportunity to share my thoughts, always :)

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  7. JR Nova, as a believer in God I would like to ask pardon to disagree. I hope you will understand that as a believer I can defend my faith in him. I respect your opinion, in fact, it was one of the best argument so far that I have read about an Atheist, can I call you that or you prefer another label? A Pantheist? Well...perceptions are learned abilities so I understand your sentiments...you will believe what you want to believe base on your experiences.
    Now, Let me begin about your rejection of a supreme being bcoz you don't want to be told (or much so threaten)about right and wrong.
    When a person rejects governance from anyone that is anarchy. Of course, you would wish for order to live peacefully. When you multiply your idea, it will cause more conflict than peace. Your idea, that you are more at peace seeing life on day to day basis is pointless and selfish. How can that person love? Each person for himself is very very dangerous. So since you reject the idea of God or gods, you have to create another idea to replace that thought, or else human existence can not survive for the next 24 hours. It will be a man after his own.
    I also would like to clarify that when a Christian do charity, it is not bcoz He is told to do so. Those are pretenders, and not Christians. It is an act of faith, an act of love,...in fact, it is hard to grasp your idea that a non-believer can help other better if they have no fear in Law or a divine rule. Isn't it amazing that even remote tribes or civilization obey order bcoz of this god-concept? There is law and order bcoz there is a someone orchestrating that path or ancient man have not became modern man, as where we are now.
    I would not argue on your insight about "I am the world" that is a fallacy with multiple meaning. That can be worship of nature (theist or deist?)To me it is idolatry, which of course you will deny since you don't idolized anyone isn't it?
    I just can't comprehend how you had appreciate those gift, but deny the giver. When a person lacks destination he is going nowhere. And I don't like to believe that you don't have dreams and purposes in life.
    I think before you deny something you have to be 100 percent sure. It is unfair for God to be judge as unreal without fair trials. I can prove to you the existence of God both in Scientific terms, foretold events with accuracy, and base on personal experience but of course once again, you will still seek your own mind and never surrender to a Higher Intelligence than you.
    I suggest you go back to that thinking that the Universe is a provider. From there, contemplate, who am I? Who am I to be provided in this hostile environment? Perhaps you knew, that any slight changes to this environment where you trust your life can shatter into oblivion. Or if you don't want to discuss the random chance...you can just look at your own eyes in the mirror, ask: why I am special? Or your own hands, how it was able to lift heavy things yet so fragile and smooth.
    Instead of wasting time, to dispute God, why not seek him. If after sincere seeking, then make another post telling us here that you still can't find God.
    As of now regarding this post, I can't find a convincing proof or argument that you have disproven A God.
    Anyway, a thought provoking post...I admire a Critical Thinker.
    Fher

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Fher and for your thoughtful and earnest response to JR. I want to let him answer you but I'd like to just respond myself to a couple of things you brought up...

      "I also would like to clarify that when a Christian do charity, it is not bcoz He is told to do so. Those are pretenders, and not Christians. It is an act of faith, an act of love,...in fact, it is hard to grasp your idea that a non-believer can help other better if they have no fear in Law or a divine rule"

      It seems that you are contradicting yourself there, please correct me if I'm wrong. On the one hand you are saying that Christians who are doing acts of charity because they feel they have to are pretenders and then on the other hand you are saying that you can't seem to grasp the idea "that a non-believer can help other better if they have no fear in Law or a divine rule", implying that it is not merely out of love that a believer acts charitably but out of a sense of duty...

      I, personally, think all people are capable doing acts of charity-either with or without God consciously in the equation. In fact, the act of meditation can spur on deep feelings of empathy, compassion and an interconnectedness with all other life that inspires the meditator to seek to bring about the well being to the extent that he/she can to other sentient creatures. And this deep desire can be experienced, realized and acted out by people who meditate that are Christians, other kinds of theists, as well as atheists. Compassion is a human trait (and I might even go further suggesting it's a trait experienced by other sentient beings as well) not just a trait experienced by those ascribing to a particular belief system.

      "I think before you deny something you have to be 100 percent sure. It is unfair for God to be judge as unreal without fair trials."

      The burden of proof for the existence of God lies with the one making the claim that God exists, not for the one that makes the claim that He doesn't exist.

      Ok..those are just some of my thoughts...I have more..but I know JR will most likely want to respond and that your response was primarily towards him. I couldn't help but just give my two cents though. :)

      ~ blessings

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    2. JR, perhaps it's my age, but I just can't understand most of what you are saying. In a song from the Sound of Music are the following simple words." Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could." Ot to use the latin phrase: 'Nihil accidit sine causa': 'Nothing happens without a cause.'
      JR, if you had seen the sun dancing for joy at the Resurrection, on Easter Sunday, 1946, as I did, then I wonder would you have the same views as expressed in you blog. Fully described in 'No Love Here.' God bless you.

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    3. Oh sorry Jessica if the statement about charity is confusing. Ok let me amplify the matter. A Christian will do charity out of love. A non-believer will do act of charity because he wants to, period.
      An atheist like JR can not claim care or conscience in helping someone. He does not believe outside the physical universe, caring and conscience are immaterial concepts.
      Now to quote JR:
      "When I help someone, it is because I genuinely care about them, and not because I'm doing what I am told. (It is incredibly offensive to me that people help each other only because they have to. This is not genuine or spontaneous, and not very positive as it is conditional.)"
      The only function of a heart to an Atheist is to pump blood, not about caring or compassion. I said, I can not understand or grasp his thought that he is more sincere than that of Christian whom he accused of helping others just for an act of duty because if he does not believe in God then he would have reject the concept of Love or caring also...
      If he said he cared more than a Christian that is a false claim for himself.
      and to quote you:
      Compassion is a human trait (and I might even go further suggesting it's a trait experienced by other sentient beings as well) not just a trait experienced by those ascribing to a particular belief system.
      Have you fall in love? Can you explained where it is coming? Since, you mention that compassion is a trait for all...does an atheist now believe that outside the physical like the feeling of compassion is also true? Then that is not pure atheism but just being agnostic--believing there is more than the material world but can not define what it is and they deny god but believe the spiritual...
      As mentioned above also, when he is thirsty he drinks, when hungry he eats...that is all basic...he don't want to complicate things.
      And LOVE is a complicated thing. That is beyond the senses. An atheist doesn't want to connect anything to the spiritual or the unexplained.
      They will follow urges and desires. They will even disobey their parents who created them, because life is all there is...to follow what your senses dictates.It is therefore questionable that he "genuinely care"...all about the carnal is carnal. Don't attach spiritual nature to carnal matters. When a carnal being care, it is because he need to do it for survival. He helps other so that others will help him also. That is not CARE that is MOTIVES.
      Duty is good and don't make it sound as if it is a sin. To follow order is beauty BUT to follow random urges is chaos.
      Now for burden of proof I think I have sighted some suggestions...but do I have to prove I exist if you can see me physically? Now do a Spiritual God need to show material proof? These simple questions can not be answered if an Atheist refuse to look.
      Thank you so much Jessica for your time.
      I am also looking forward to JR Nova's reply but I nonetheless expect rejections. Given the above reasons...we will see what we want to see.
      That is why I've promise more than a year ago to stop presenting proof to a Non-believer. I now focus my attention to Believer who are being destroyed for lack of knowledge.
      It just so happened that I chance upon this article. A good rhetoric but no real substance. It would be better if the blog presented factual data and not about personal notions and beliefs. Leave that to false-religions, but to an atheist to follow the dictates of a heart...that is contradicting the spiritual against the material.

      Now if you are interested and open minded to listen to burden of proof perhaps we can begin a discussion. Did Jesus exist? Did he really died? Is there really a resurrection? All that I can give historical and scientific sources for proof.
      I will not present it like JR who base his observation on personal beliefs BUT I will direct you all to the truth.
      Once again...if God allows, I might drop by again.

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    4. Fher, a Pantheist will do just fine :)

      I'm very honored to hear that it's an atheistic argument that has made most sense to you, because part of me wants to have an argument that is A) not offensive and B) does not "seek" to denounce religion as its primary goal. Actually, I don't seek to denounce religion at all. I'm ever fascinated by it, and really appreciate the faith of my Christian friends. I think that faith makes them better people.

      If I'm replacing God with Love or Pantheism, that's not anarchy. It's switching one concept for another, but not ending all concepts. If I stopped believing in God and had nothing to replace that, and fell into a sort of nihilism, I'd agree with you (or perhaps then I wouldn't, lol, but I agree with you now if I were to go that route, though I haven't). Living a life of compassion, but without the trappings of religion, is a very positive, beautiful thing, imo.

      Don't think for a second that my spiritual journey hasn't been vigorously tough :P I've sought God, I've taken that journey. This IS the post after I've gone back to look.

      As well as that...I don't think we live in a hostile environment. I think that's my point. Western culture views the world as hostile. I do not. I think Western culture views the world as hostile because it believes in God. I do not. So I have no reason to see the world as hostile. To me it's very beautiful. I do not think "I" am special in the sense that I'm unique, better, or different from anyone else. I am that...

      And, if I went and looked for God once more, or a dozen times, and still came back to report that He isn't there for me, would you believe me?

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    5. @ Anonymous:

      It's not your "age" but your "culture" that you can't understand me. Some of the greatest teachers I've come across were all old men...at least for me, lol.

      The idea that nothing comes from nothing is a Western idea. In the East, in India and China, "nothing comes from nothing" is probably as alien as "something comes from nothing" is for many here.

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    6. Jessica I wholeheartedly agree that the burden of proof is with the individual. Non of what I said was objective, and life itself, I believe, is subjective.

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    7. Fher, glad you're an expert on atheism all of a sudden, lol.

      Your first comment was very well thought out and enjoyable to read, your second seems steeped in anger, even hatred, not to mention many untrue assumptions of my inner thoughts and feelings. I'll leave it alone....

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    8. Fher...I don't understand...are you saying that the non-Christian, or atheist, is incapable of feeling genuine love and compassion?

      I couldn't disagree more...

      I believe love and compassion can be felt and expressed by all sentient creatures..perhaps in different ways and on different levels...but love is a universal trait.


      "Now if you are interested and open minded to listen to burden of proof perhaps we can begin a discussion. Did Jesus exist? Did he really died? Is there really a resurrection? All that I can give historical and scientific sources for proof."

      I believe most people wouldn't argue that Jesus existed...and a lot of people, even non-Christians, will concede to him being crucified-many were in his day. His resurrection is another story. I've watched plenty of William Lane Craig videos and I've yet to find any substantial "proof" for the resurrection. That is something that is a matter of faith...not scientific fact...If you can prove me wrong...please do!

      I personally have come to believe that Jesus lived and existed and was probably even crucified. I believe Jesus was an individual that realized his divine nature and showed others to do the same. The cross and resurrection very well might be symbolic to what Jesus taught-the need to die to our selves to discover our Self. No doubt the writers used symbolism that was very common and easy to grasp and relate to when it came to those in the time period when they wrote it..

      ~ blessings

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    9. Hello Everyone. After reading down this thread, I will just make 1 point. Mixing Faith and Religion can blur the lines of what is truth, and what is purely opinion. Religion is completely different than faith. Think of it this way, no matter what we believe, Everyone believes in something more than just the physical. Even Atheist's, who fall on things like chance and there inner selves, are relying on things beyond the physical world (And their own understanding). With that said, Faith is the message we receive from somewhere beyond us (I believe it's God, but it very well could just be being on a different plane of Existence, or it could be spirits of those past whispering to us..you get the idea, could be anything)...Since we as a species, rationalize what we don't understand, we create Religions to try to comprehend those messages, imprinting our own life experiences and personalities into those beliefs. (Take a survey with 100 basic questions on faith into a "Holy Building" with 1000 people, and you will not get two filled out exactly the same. Works for 10,000, 1 million..you get the idea). From a historical point of view, There have literally been millions of different religions over the centuries, but for faith, most religions preach the same messages. Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Strength, Sharing, Caring...Think about it!

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  8. God.. Divinity..Universe..Energy to me these represent that which is not amongst us. It is that creation which has allowed us the freedom to 'be' or 'follow' who or what we want.

    God or Universe lives within each of us thus all beings are part of that universe we speak off. What destroys this is the condemnation of other religions and their comparison which is created for wrongful gain.

    We are all part of that divinity or energy.. Giving it a name is a personal choice. We seek the same paths or goals.

    In the olden times religion was created to keep society together.. it worked until religion lost its line of thinking...

    I really enjoyed your post JR
    Thank you

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    1. I agree, condemnation of other religions (or anything else, for that matter, be it secular or spiritual) is a destructive force...not something I ever want to dabble in.

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  9. Hi, J.R.! ~

    WoW -- Quite an essay! Where should I begin?

    I find this quote very interesting: "Looking at the world without preconceptions is vital to my world view."

    In my limited knowledge and conversations with you, communication has been generally derailed, IMO, by your preconceptions. In fact, it's ironic that you pride yourself on this because acting from preconceptions is the trait I most associate with you.

    Even in the intro to this piece you say:

    "I believe that my lack of a belief in a creator god frees me to enjoy the Universe in a different way."

    A different way from what? You are starting from a preconceived idea or prejudice, which is the definition of preconception.

    "The creator god concept is a trapping that dictates a god, or gods, created the world. It is based on the hierarchy of royalty, of power, of human government, as well as the parent role. To believe in a god is to follow that god's laws. Laws that are often arbitrary, but invoke the wrath of the god if not followed, and the blessings of the god if followed. Just as a parent loves a child only if the child behaves, otherwise the child is disciplined harshly."

    The main point I wanted to make about the preceding paragraph is that hopefully you don't have kids since you believe and advocate: "Just as a parent loves a child only if the child behaves, otherwise the child is disciplined harshly."

    I believe any good parent loves their child regardless of whether they behave or not. And disciplining a child does not mean a parent doesn't love them.

    You have so many faulty preconceived ideas forming the foundation of the belief system you promote that it's difficult for me to agree with your general premise, even though I think I do.

    Good Luck!

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    1. Have we spoken?

      You've taken part of this out of its context. What I actually meant by "Just as a parent..." was to make a comparison between parents who act this way and the idea of "god the punisher". Many parents wrongly use conditional love on their children. Not all parents are good.

      Also, others have spoken of the inability to discuss "awareness" without using concepts (Lao Tzu and Alan Watts being two that jump to mind). Without concepts it's impossible for humans to communicate. So I use concepts to write this, but I'm not using those concepts when I practice awareness. There just is awareness.

      Is emptiness and a lack of something a prejudice? I don't know...

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  10. This post has given me a lot of thoughts... I'm going to share just one. Why is it a given that Christians aren't helping others because they care? My parents told me I have to brush my teeth and shower every day. Sure, as a kid I did it because they made me, but eventually I actually cared on my own and I do it these days for myself... and those around me. :)

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    1. It's not a given. I'm sorry it came off like that. Giving is a cornerstone of Christianity, but because it's a "law", many people give only because they want something, like to go to Heaven or to not go to Hell, or to look good at church. We all know those types. Thankfully there are many others who don't play that game and who give because they are truly compassionate. These are people who would give whether they were Christian or not, because they are just good people :)

      A little judgmental on my part, I admit, but I'd like to clarify that it's not always, perhaps not even most of the time.

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  11. A Pantheist sounds a lot like what my ill informed concept of Budhism is like; are they similar?
    As a Christian, I rebel against many of the same things as Mr. Nova: the Old Testament patriarchal view of vengence and punishment; the anti-Biblical overlay narrative that we have to either esrn paradise or avoid hell; and the closed world view that all paths other than my own are inherently wrong!

    Life and salvation are both unmerited gifts of grace. Disasters are part and parcel of living upon a living dynamic planet. Diseases are parasitic organisms - not the punishment of sins that Job's friends saw. The wilderness plays an important role in both the Old and the New Testaments - yet when life gets too wild we blame God for either weilding it as a terrible swift sword, or of being an absentee parent.

    I am convinced after years of studying scripture that God loves me. Therefore, God does the impossible. Scripture tells us it is easy to love someone who loves you - thus my reason for loving God. The mark of a true Christian is that they seek understanding, assistance, and ability to love the unlovable. This is why I chose to ignore all the bad Christians out there and follow Christ anyway - it makes me a better petson.

    As a former zoology student and ex-archaeologist, I know that altruism is key element for social animals. Sterile worker bees labor to improve the potential for the colony's collective gene pool embodied in the Queen to be carried on through her progeny. But what about those who are not like us? Is it "natural" for me to care about the welfare of those who may be competing with my group for resources? Religion helps to take me outside of myself. It helps me to realize that I am part of the universe.

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    1. With many labels, especially Eastern labels, there are many overlaps. Much of Pantheism is a lot like much of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and in fact none of these practices have to be practiced in one single way, so defining them becomes difficult, and it's much easier to define them personally than generally. Who knows what Buddhism even is...Zen is very different from Mahayana. There are several "types" of Pantheism as well, some very different from one another.

      Your view of God and Christianity is very much in line with what my girlfriend's view of her religion are. It's something I respect and even enjoy. I don't know if one view or the other makes a better or worse Christian, but I can safely say which type of person I'd like to be around :D

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    2. @ Religion taking you outside yourself.

      Here I think spirituality and religion have much cross over. For argument's sake, they're the same thing. I am by no means "secular" and find that lifestyle a bit lacking. I think my "spirituality" serves the same function as religion serves you.

      And I agree that altruism is a human element regardless of what we "believe" about the world. It's biological!

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    3. "And I agree that altruism is a human element regardless of what we "believe" about the world. It's biological!"

      I couldn't agree more!

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  12. Hello Everyone. After reading down this thread, I will just make 1 point. Mixing Faith and Religion can blur the lines of what is truth, and what is purely opinion. Religion is completely different than faith. Think of it this way, no matter what we believe, Everyone believes in something more than just the physical. Even Atheist's, who fall on things like chance and there inner selves, are relying on things beyond the physical world (And their own understanding). With that said, Faith is the message we receive from somewhere beyond us (I believe it's God, but it very well could just be being on a different plane of Existence, or it could be spirits of those past whispering to us..you get the idea, could be anything)...Since we as a species, rationalize what we don't understand, we create Religions to try to comprehend those messages, imprinting our own life experiences and personalities into those beliefs. (Take a survey with 100 basic questions on faith into a "Holy Building" with 1000 people, and you will not get two filled out exactly the same. Works for 10,000, 1 million..you get the idea). From a historical point of view, There have literally been millions of different religions over the centuries, but for faith, most religions preach the same messages. Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Strength, Sharing, Caring...Think about it!

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    1. Totally...no matter what the religion, the core "values" are the same. It all comes down to the golden rule.

      If there's something "I" don't understand, it's how anyone can live a life without faith, in anything. That's a bit scary, and I'm not afraid to admit it :D

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    2. Am Sawyer,


      "Since we as a species, rationalize what we don't understand, we create Religions to try to comprehend those messages, imprinting our own life experiences and personalities into those beliefs."

      I have found that to be true as well and I think every religion is beautiful and offers itself up to humanity in a beautiful way. We should rejoice in our similarities and differences and not see our differences as a way to divide us but as to enrich the other's experience.

      I look forward to more dialogue in the future! :)

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  13. This is a great article. I am not an atheist, but my view of God is very different than the sentient rule-giver described in various religions. And, I don't believe in religions at all. I believe that they are Earthly organizations made by Earthly humans.

    Anyway, it's surprising and even amusing to see how many people think they know what an atheist or a non-Christian thinks, believes, and feels.

    I think the fact that some of the people on here want to tell people "Well you don't believe this so you can't feel that" kind of makes the point.

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    1. I wouldn't be surprised if most atheists don't realize what "atheism" actually means...it's really a very simple term, though of course much can be added to it if one wishes. It seems most of what is added, sadly, is very negative. It need not be that way.

      I'm firmly against the idea that we have to do or experience a certain thing to understand or feel a certain way. We have imaginations, I think we can use them, and most experiences are very similar once we get past all the psychobabble of "ideas".

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  14. Thanks JR Nova for explaining your side. I have no further argument anymore. I like you to be happy for what you are.
    Last year, I've decided to end my argument whether God exist or not. I am now concern in proving the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the one true God. I already new he exist but is this the God of the Bible?
    As you will not listen anyway to the Bible. Perhaps you can have a peek to my BLOG why I believed there is a God base on SCIENTIFIC PROOF. I believe you will accept reasons and not totally discredit sane reasoning. I mean, findings from the scientific community that a God exist...I wont convert you to Christian either but at least re-think your concept about God. Bcoz believe it or not, I care...I don't want a beautiful mind like yours go to waste for fact that I have already seen...my father by the way, was a former agnostics. He believe in God but not in human religion.
    Now allow me to present my blog, why I believe there is a God.
    http://fernandoymas.blogspot.com/2012/03/science-admitted-that-there-is-god.html

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    1. I'll check it out, Fher :)

      I've read the bible, enjoyed it, and see a lot of truth in it, but I look at it from an Eastern point of view. You'd be amazed at how many of the things Jesus said imitate what Lao Tzu and the Buddha said hundreds of years before him!

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    2. Is that true that Lao Tzu and Buddha came before Jesus?I think you missed the part that before Abraham there was already The Son.... I've read Lao Tzu and Buddha too and both are cruel teachers. Buddha is an irresponsible father who abandoned his child and wife. While Lao Tzu kills to stress a point.
      The coming Messiah was already prophesied during the fall of Adam and Eve. And YHWH had been all the time present in the entire history of men. Jesus is YHWH the adonai himself.
      Jesus said "Before Abraham, I AM" The word I AM that Jesus used on the original text is similar to the one God said to Moses what name shall he said to the people. That is why instantly the Jews want to stone him. Jesus is claiming to be God himself.
      Jesus is the Adonai that took Israel out of Egypt, Jesus is the same person called YHWH in the Old Script. It is a mistake to call Jesus a late truth. In the beginning was the Word and the Word became flesh and dwell among us.
      What Eastern point of view are you talking about by the way? All religion came from the east, the only religion that came from the west are Capitalism.
      I'm so happy that you found a lot of truth in the Bible.Many people do but fail to recognized the truth.
      By the way, thank you for checking my link.Not many people really comment on the page. But look,you had so many reply here...people are selective in accepting things.
      Sorry,if I might hurt some of the God defender here. I saw some comment that are Not Biblical or bias. Christians are ignorant themselves, and I am sorry for that...The 66 books of the Bible came from 40 plus authors and they are still adding another gospel. God forbids.
      Christians are even hurt when they read my blog,especially The Armor of God,where I expose False Religion. There are a lot who actually visit the page by google statistic but in some mysterious way, unlike here they can not reply or opted not to comment. Are they hurt that I tell the truth base on the Bible or they just speed read and so came out empty?
      WOW! People love to defend a God they don't know. Is it good? No, it only distort the truth...
      Now I understand why an unbeliever like you had wrong concept of God bcoz you listen to clueless believer. Maybe its about time you read the Bible again. Really read it...I know you have not bcoz you speed read it!!!
      God bless and congrats to many reply. May everyone find peace in the process.

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  15. JR Nova, you have written a beautiful piece on what seems to be the alternative to 'God'. I'm not going to disagree with you as everyone has that choice to make for their life, and as with any choice made in life, there are consequences whether they be universal or spiritual.
    One paragraph struck me personally in your post. "To believe in a god is to follow that god's laws. Laws that are often arbitrary, but invoke the wrath of the god if not followed, and the blessings of the god if followed. Just as a parent loves a child only if the child behaves, otherwise the child is disciplined harshly". I am 51 yrs old and have to say that I have never seen the'wrath of God' in my lifetime. I see blessings from God every day of my life. You made a comparison to a parent's love for their child, only loving the child if they behave. I don't know if you have children or not, but I don't know of any parent who doesn't love their child unconditionally, whether they are behaving or not. I certainly do. My children are no angels, by any stretch of the imagination, but my love continues for them, unaltered by their actions. I do not 'punish harshly'. Most unaccepted behaviors can be discussed and used as a learning tool.
    Maybe I have looked at your post a little differently than others. I do believe there is a 'God'; a Higher power of our universe. This is not a burden for me, but a joy. It does not 'keep' me from 'living'. I live each day, each moment as if it is my last moment here. I have no regrets. But I do want to thank you for sharing your thoughts and beliefs.

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    1. Thanks, Mary.

      The parental comment was not a comment about parenting, but a direct reference and example of the paragraph. I have met many parents who love their children conditionally, rewarding them and punishing them for things children simply shouldn't be rewarded and punished for. It's exactly this behavior I see in many peoples' view of God. It doesn't make for good parenting, and as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't make for good religion.

      As I told Martha above, I don't believe any of my statements are universal. There are exceptions to everything I've said, and I've met many Christians who I genuinely enjoy being around, because we share many of the same compassionate ideals.

      I do not think you ever will see the wrath of God, and I'm not being clever. Even when I was a Catholic I did not believe in a "sadistic" God. Honestly, people who do probably need to see a psychologist to work their issues out. Say what you will about Christianity and Pantheism, believing God sends floods and tornadoes against people because they've sinned, or haven't prayed enough really has no place in our world. IMO.

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  16. I've been staying with this post the last couple of days and geez JR, it is only when I stopped struggling to get a grip of your concepts that understanding it came naturally.

    I honestly do not encounter many people who go through paradigm shifts. Maybe the thought of altering my own concept of God disturbs my mind. I have pursued knowing Him through theological studies. But you see, it's always tied down with the Word of God and experiences of immersion in a community.

    " The world has order, structure, and design, but these are without purpose, and without “creation”." ~ At the beginning of your statement...what is this about? I'd like to know how this journey of liberation led you to that.

    I could connect in a sense of the unity between man and the universe...to achieve this is both grace and a gift.

    The rubrics of the Church could only be suffocating if it's followed in the manner of a slave...but I think if the heart of the law is taken, then everything else takes its right place.

    I respect your views but it doesn't necessarily mean I agree in everything.But whatever it is that leads you there and gives you deep joy...that connects us.

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    1. I laughed when you said you understood it when you stopped trying...that's what I'm talking about! haha

      Paradigm shifts are very rare, indeed. Most people don't need them, most of the rest don't want them, some want to but don't know how. I'm not sure it's something anyone can try to do...it just happens...it's natural.

      We can look at the Universe as a whole, but let me try to explain what I said using something more down to Earth...."Music" has order, structure, and design, but it has no purpose. We don't listen to music to "do" anything. It's just fun. We enjoy it. We don't say to ourselves "I have to listen to 10 songs today" or demand things from music like "This song better calm me down." Music is spontaneous and natural, purposeless, yet there is an order and structure behind the notes. We design songs, but we are not really the designers. Like all art, music comes from somewhere far beyond us. Songs just...happen. Music is much like the Cosmos. It's "beyond" us, yet we can understand it because it has obvious laws and a form. Yet it doesn't DO anything, and that has bugged human beings for a very, very long time. Because the Universe doesn't do anything, we've had to invent gods who do...

      I definitely agree that what you and I "feel" connects us. We explain it differently, but it is in all likelihood the same experience.

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  17. Great Post. I can say i know what you mean although I may not have dropped my concepts :) In each level we do have to identify with our world. although I feel just like a game has different levels, there is more levels, more worlds than the one we are playing in. I might blog on it someday. But none of this takes away from the truth to what you are saying indeed we have to play our world as if it were the only one identifying with it. Only then can we win our game. ANd I loved how you expressed that we have to do because we genuinely care not because we have to. Yet we have to do because we have to until the point we begin to do because we genuinely care. This is because there is not just me in the world. There are a lot of people who may never get to the point of genuinely caring..until coaxed to try a hand at giving by concepts or religion . Thinking on a larger scheme of 7 billion people may make us realise the importance of religion uptil much of the path in each persons life

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  18. I also read your example of music. So well explained that I have made it a point to read more of your posts. i appreciate the process of your thoughts. Yet I do believe Misic does something, just a all arts, everything we are interested in does, nature does. What happens when we listen to music or play an organ..we are all attention.We forget our mortal self when we immerse in the arts, in nature... It connects us to the beyond. AS you said "Like all art, music comes from somewhere far beyond us." How do we recognise this? It is when it connects us to that beyond, rouses our spirit and makes us experience our oneness with the universal spirit...

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  19. http://fernandoymas.blogspot.com/2012/03/satans-secret-luciferian-doctrine.html

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  20. So, is Jesus' resurrection a fantastic fact or a vicious myth? To find out, we need to look at the evidence of history and draw our own conclusions. Let’s see what skeptics who investigated the resurrection discovered for themselves.
    Now, we shall approach the subject like a True Skeptics would do. When we say we are “skeptical,” we mean that we must see compelling evidence before we believe.”
    http://fmymas.blogspot.com/2010/04/investigation-on-resurrection.html

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  21. Even skeptics admit that most of the prophesy written in The Holy Bible truly did happen. And that occasionally scientific community discover Biblical principle to be factual, historically correct, and amazingly accurate. Sometimes they categorize their admission by mere chance. Now, I will let you decide on the following verses or phrase, if these could have happen by mere chance.
    Read why the Bible is real...
    http://fmymas.blogspot.com/2011/01/why-bible-is-real.html

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