The Heart of the Matter

(An Introduction)

 

The mind is a perfectly set trap.

 Just as the mouse pursues the cheese the mind pursues its own desires thereby creating an ego structure that traps our very being.

Because of this, our heart can hold our mind hostage. And our mind can close all avenues of escape out of fear of the unknown and the inexplicable.

 

In our society religion and politics are held as taboo subjects in polite company and with good cause.

Unfortunately, this leaves us at the mercy of those in power. We have been domesticated and kept as pets in our very religious and political society.

And we seem to be willing to let our chances of happiness go down the drain as we cling to the sides.

 

This is the essence of what this book is about.

Make no mistake.

Scientists can make the current debates revolve around whether Evolution is taught in schools and how the education system will suffer if any belief system can be taught as an alternative science.

And Christians can make this a debate about the lack of values in a materialistic world.

 But the real debate is about the nature of reality itself.

 And yes whether materialism is as deep as reality goes has both spiritual and scientific implications that will affect the state of the cultures and societies around the world.

 

I have many Atheist and Christian friends.

I was raised to be Baptist myself.

At no point can I remember falling for the comforts of religion. I sensed a kind of wrongness from the very beginning. But my mom is still Baptist to this day though she was raised Catholic. 

 

Many of my Atheist friends were raised Baptist or Catholic themselves.  But at some point, they threw off the chains of oppression of religion and broke free of religion. But are they really free?

 

Many of my religious friends claim that Atheists themselves are of a religious mind. Spending the first 20 years or so as a confirmed Atheist myself and still being very sympathetic to most of their reasoning, I find myself reaching the point where I have to agree with my father when he says

 

“Although I am not an Atheist I agree with almost everything they say”.

 

So is Atheism a religion?

 

This is a very tricky question that I hope to shed light on in this book.

As many Atheists would happily point out to be Atheist is no different than being an A-Unicornist. 

An Atheist is simply a person without the belief in a supernatural deity.  To most people a religion is a system of beliefs. Atheists by definition are simply people who have the absence of one particular belief.

 

As most Atheists point out we are all Atheists in regards to the deities Zeus, Thor, Isis, Horus etc…  That is most people do not believe in the existence of any of the Gods described in mythology predating our current civilization.

 

Atheists simply go one God further than most people would.

 

Speaking of religion, how can I write a book that takes apart religion as well as scientism? 

 

Perhaps in looking how I phrase this question you might see my answer looking back at you.

 

That is religion is the problem.

 

Whether it be the dogma of materialism and reductionism or natural scientism, or the many available monotheistic religions that dominate the thinking of most citizens of our society today we face dogma in every direction.

 

The problem is dogmatic thinking and the insidious nature of confirmation bias that fuels the new debates.

The truth is many of the Christian friends I have reveal a spiritual vulnerability that draws out my compassion.

Consequently, I actually would not only, not be offended if they did not read my book, but I would actually be relieved.

Do I think religious people are simply too weak minded to pursue philosophy?

 

In the past I might have answered unequivocally in the affirmative.  But now as I have grown wiser I see that the Atheists I know would have to be seen as equally weak minded.

Just as I must now acknowledge that I have met many open minded and spiritual religious people.

 

Although religion itself has not in any way positively increased the level of open-mindedness of the people which to I refer. 

 

In the debates on the Metaphysical nature of our Universe and our place in it there seems to be a lot at stake in forming a view or an opinion.

I feel like a referee in this debate because to some extent I am standing outside the debate.

 

I lose nothing if there is not a personal God who just happens to think and feel like the major religions describe he does. And I have even less to lose if the Universe is revealed to be more mysterious then the human mind can comprehend by using scientific experimental observation.

 

Although I am a human being and by definition a man and therefore caught up in the delusions of man, as a philosopher, I find the search for actual truth more intriguing then verifying my own biases.

 

I find it strange and bothersome that human beings are so irrational.

I particularly am annoyed by human being’s tendency to project their own fears onto me to validate their own biased views.

A good example is when I bring up the nature of the possibility of reincarnation. 

Many Atheists condescendingly point out that the only possible reason I could possibly be entertaining such concepts is out of a fear of death. Yet ironically my Christians friends seem to use the same argument.

How absurd can the human psyche get?

The reason I am digressing on this point is not to obfuscate matters but to clarify the problem of confirmation bias. To me this is the core aspect of the delusional mind in man.

 

Since this debate is polarized between the Atheists and the Christians I will continue with my examples of armchair psychoanalyzing inherent in both the Atheists and Christians assumption on the source of my openness to reincarnation.

Both believe that it is my fear of death that leads me to entertain the possibility of reincarnation.

 So let us examine this further. They cannot both be right because it is obvious that both types of people are assuming something entirely different when they posit the fear of death.

And it is obvious to me that I can conclude that therefore neither party is facing their own fear of death.

Let me explain.

 

To the Atheist death is death of the body and therefore the brain. 

 

Since I am my brain there is nothing that can be called “me” which can survive the process known as death. The “I “that I call myself is utterly annihilated leaving no evidence of its/my existence.

Now isn’t obvious to you; regardless what side you are on, that the Christian cannot possibly mean by death what the Atheist means?

To the Christian the Atheists definition of death is untenable.

This is because Christians believe in a soul that goes on to Heaven or Hell. 

In conclusion it is obvious that I cannot have a fear of death postulated by both the Atheists and the Christian since both of their concepts of death necessarily contradict each other.

 

So what is more reasonable? That they are both right, or that they are both wrong? 

 

Since they cannot both be right it is more likely that they are both wrong.

 

Now there is one more alternative that either the Atheist is right about me or the Christian is right. But to assume either is to assume that the Atheists or Christian is right about death and the answer to death is self-evident.

 

 In fact, this is what they both assume in their accusations against me and why they think their arguments are valid.

Let us use Socrates Dialectic in a humorous way to demonstrate my point.

Christian: “The reason why you like reincarnation is because you are afraid of Hell or God’s judgment.” 

Me: “So the Atheist I talk to are wrong about me being open to reincarnation because I am afraid of annihilation or what they call real death?”

Christian:” Yes. The Atheist is a fool that rejects God so he can do what he wants and doesn’t want to face judgment in an afterlife”

Me: “So then why would I want an afterlife at all? I should just skip right to Atheism then I have no God to judge me and no afterlife that even allows the possibility of such a God. By opening the door to life after death in my mind I am opening myself to this possibility.”

Atheist: “This is all absurd. He knows your idea of an afterlife, God and judgment and Hell are all ridiculous and without evidence. But because he fears death he invents reincarnation as a sort of loophole where he can avoid both your judgment, God and Hell.”

Christian:” Yes I agree he wants to avoid God and Hell just like you do but unlike you he admits his fear of death”

Atheist: “There is nothing to fear. You are there and then you are not. There is no one that suffers death since you are already gone”

Me: “So you admit Mr. Atheist that there is nothing to fear in death? Then you cannot accuse me of inventing reincarnation because of my fear of death!”

Christian: “Of course you do not have to fear death. Jesus died for you so once you accept that you have eternal life.”

Me: “So it seems to me that you were both lying when you said that I only am open to reincarnation because I fear death.”

Christian:” I’m not really saying you fear death just that you fear Hell. By believing in reincarnation you get rid of Hell. You don’t think God will judge you.”

Me: “Again then I don’t not need a belief in reincarnation to avoid either God’s Judgment or Hell. I could just become an Atheist and then I avoid both. “

Christian: “Do you believe that Jesus was God and died for your sins?”

Me: “No I do not believe that the Bible is the word of God but it is the word of man.”

Christian: “Then you are an Atheist!”

Atheist: “Are you kidding me? He is not one of us! He believes in a soul and in God.  He is one of you.”

Christian:” No way. He doesn’t believe Jesus is God.”

Atheist: “Do Jews believe that Jesus was God?”

Christian:” No they do not.”

Atheist:” Do you consider Jews Atheist?”

Christian: “No.”

Me: “We have got off topic here. The point is I have not chosen to be open to reincarnation because I fear God or Hell. If I feared God or Hell I would become a Christian or a Jew or maybe a Muslim.”

Christian:” No. If you truly feared God or Hell you would become a Christian.”

Me: “I’m not sure how a Jew or Muslim would see that but at least now you admit it was a false accusation to say that the only reason I was open to reincarnation was that I was afraid of death”.

Atheist: “You may have settled it with the Christian because he thinks that you choose reincarnation to avoid Hell. But you are both missing the point. It is because you fear annihilation that one of you creates a Heaven and Hell and the other believes in reincarnation. “

Me: “Well you cannot both be right. One of you thinks I want to avoid the afterlife and the other claims that I know there is none. How can I fear the afterlife and know there is none?”

Christian: “You know there is one Hell if you do not believe what we believe.”

Me:” Can I avoid Hell by not believing what you believe?”

Christian: “No you cannot”.

Me:” Do you think I know that Christians believe that you cannot avoid Hell by simply believing in reincarnation or nothing as the Atheist do?”

Christian: “Yes I know you know this.”

Me:” Ok if I know this then why do I choose to accept reincarnation?”

Christian: “Because you want to avoid being judged for your sins.”

Me:” Then why doesn’t the Atheist accept reincarnation even as a possibility?”

Christian:” Because that way the Atheist can do whatever he wants without ever answering to a higher power.”

Me: “Then again you are admitting that for me to convince myself that I do not need worry about being judged for my sins all I have to do is be an Atheist reincarnation never need be entertained as an idea if that is my only purpose in accepting the idea. “

Atheist: “You are both missing the point. He is afraid of death so he clings to reincarnation and you are afraid of death so you cling to Heaven and Hell.”

Me:” Mr. Atheist, are you afraid of death?”

Atheist:” No of course not it is just annihilation. One minute you are here then the next minute you are not. There is nothing to fear.”

Me: “So this conversation doesn’t go on forever let me get something straight. Do either of you fear death?”

Atheist: “No of course not. I just told you. One minute you are there then the next you are not. There is nothing to fear.”

Christian: “No of course not as long as you accept Jesus as your savior you have eternal life in Heaven. So there is nothing to fear.”

Me:” And I claim that I do not fear death because after you die you are reborn into another life so there is nothing to fear. So it seems that we all agree there is no reason to fear death. So why do either of you assume I fear death based on my acceptance of reincarnation?”

Atheist:” Because you fear annihilation just like the Christian.”

Me:” But you said annihilation just meant one minute I am here and the next I am not and that therefore there is nothing to fear.”

Christian: “No it is obvious that you fear death because you fear Hell.”

Me:” No, you fear death because you fear Hell. You get rid of this fear of Hell by accepting Jesus as your savior. I do not believe in Hell or saviors. I believe in reincarnation and enlightenment.”

 But if you read the conversation we all just had you would see that you are in fact both wrong about me.

In fact, if you had bothered to listen to anyone besides yourselves you would see that you were both wrong about me.

 Perhaps you should both read up on confirmation bias. Both of you assumed that death is what you think it is based on your beliefs or lack of them. Then you both assumed that I had a fear of death based on the definition you had already accepted.

 

The Atheist knows that you are annihilated when you die so anyone that thinks differently must be wrong. The Christian knows that you go to Heaven or Hell based on what you believe so anyone who thinks differently is wrong.”

 

 

Do I have a fear of death?

 

To some degree I like every human being has a fear of death, if for no other reason than a genetic predisposition. That is, it must be accepted that the fear of death is a survival trait. But the question being asked here is not a biological one. In fact, not only is the question about fear of death not being addressed as a component of biology, it is not being addressed in any logical sense of the word.

 

The question comes to the very nature of inquiry acceptable in our society.

 

That is do we have a soul that continues to exist after death?

 

If not then the only reasonable way to inquire into the phenomena of death is to examine the natural process that assumes that I am my body.  That is the question as a scientific question sees death as a natural process of the body. If science can indeed prove that I am my body then the question stops here.

 

What about the alternative view that I am my soul? Well then religion picks up right where science arrogantly left off and just as arrogantly I might add.

 

The assumption that Theology has answered the question of life after death is the only viable alternative to materialism is just as arrogant. And the arrogance on both sides is what frames these debates. That is if I am my soul, it does not follow necessarily that Theology is valid in any way. Not in relation to the soul, consciousness, or the nature of reality. Theology has not indeed even proven that it is even relevant to Metaphysics.

 

It is the thesis of this book that the nature of The Universe is directly related to the nature of the mind and that nature of God cannot be revealed until the connection between the two questions is clarified. Also it is part of my thesis that this clarification of the problem transcends both the Scientism of the natural sciences and the dogma of Theology.

 

It is my contention that Theology is built on the false premise that religion is revealed rather than manmade. It is also my contention that science can only explore the nature of reality through the study of physics but in order to understand the basis of these studies a scientist would have to leave the comforts of the testable and the experimental.

 

So the question becomes how can we leave the comfortable and manmade religions of both Scientism and Theology? We must accept that Theology is not the study of God let alone the nature of reality. Theology is the study of God Concepts grounded in accepted religious dogma usually Christian or Jewish concepts based on an unacknowledged source of Babylonian and Canaanite mythology. So how can we escape myth and bias to get at the fundamental nature of reality?

 

To do this we must examine with the help of scientific thinking and philosophical inquiry the questions we want to ask about the meaning of life that go beyond what has been verified in Newtonian Physics and explore more deeply the nature of the Metaphysics. I have nothing against scientific thinking, only against scientism and materialistic bias of naturalism.

 

 Naturalism can only cover the system of our planet Earth.

 

 You can no more have a naturalistic explanation on a Cosmological level then you can apply naturalism to the Quantum level or reality.  So if we begin with Naturalism whether it is Religious Naturalism or Scientific Naturalism we are assuming that there is only one level of reality that is relevant to our scientific advances or spiritual development as human beings.

 

But the scientists admit that there is more than one level of reality.  The question is of relevance. Science is just beginning to come to terms with the possibility of our Universe being part of a larger system called The Multiverse. This adds even another level of reality above just as Quantum Physics added another reality below the Atomic level.

 

To assume that The Multiverse theory has no Metaphysical implications is the same folly for Cosmologist as Quantum Physicist claiming that there are no Metaphysical implications of their theory.  Very soon both Cosmologist and Quantum Physicist will have Cosmic Egg on their face. 

 

To the Atheist Metaphysics is a no starter.

There is simply no reasonable place to begin.

So they see all the questions as nonsensical to start with. If religion is not a true view of reality and science explains everything why bother with Metaphysics?

 The religious mind is typically a mind brainwashed from birth. Although Richard Dawkins addresses the absurdity of a child being labeled as the religion of their parents in his book the God Delusion he ignores the problem that without child indoctrination religion as we know it would probably die out on its own.

 

 I think he is aware of this and this is one reason why he advocates leaving a child alone and without labels with concern with religion. This is also the real reason why the members of the religious community who speak out on this debate also are so offended by accusations of indoctrination of religion being a form of child abuse. They must be aware that if children were not raised this way that they would most likely not grow up to be the religion of their parents and might in fact learn to think for themselves.

 

The truth is a child can be raised very religious and still become an Atheist or so agnostic as to make no difference.  But the religious know that there is enough societal pressure to insure few agnostics and even fewer Atheists ever leave the closet. This pressure can even lead an agnostic to embrace religion and repress any doubts they may have to the point of minimalizing the effect critical thinking has on their lives.

Certainly Theology is not compatible with any other Metaphysics except the Pseudo Metaphysics inherent to Theology itself.

I refer to Theological Metaphysics as Pseudo Metaphysics because the foundation is built entirely on Mythological Constructs. Mythological Constructs being a Belief System which use unacknowledged Mythological Sources from other Cultures in order to present mythic stories as actual history. The goal of creating Mythological Constructs is to hide the political agenda of the religion as a whole. 

 

Since Atheism has become a movement that also minimalizes any interest in Metaphysics.

 This leads to a loss of interest in critical thinking necessary to pursue Metaphysics.

 Without Critical thinking supplemented with intuition towards the spiritual most forms of Metaphysics are closed off.

This is because critical thinking is left to Materialist or Atheists while spiritual inquiries are left only to Christian Theology, so we are left with a very small spectrum of acceptable inquiry.

 

Dawkins also leaves open the question on whether an Atheist should raise their child Atheists. Not labeling your child Atheist does not imply a lack of indoctrination.

 

In fact it is very revealing on the question on whether Atheism can be considered a religion when you ask the Atheists how they will raise their child.

 

I know a Catholic woman that cannot stand to discuss religion or spirituality or philosophy with a non-Catholic.  Of course she has no interest with philosophy. But the point is she has a child and she goes to great lengths to protect her child from non-Catholic ideas. 

 

She makes the case that the nonreligious are to laidback on issues of morality.

 

Why a 7 year old should have any idea about the issues of abortion is beyond me.  But she wants to teach her daughter that life is sacred and that God is real. She believes that without God her daughter would grow up to not understand right from wrong.

 

An Atheist believes quite the opposite. The stories in the Bible tell of a Jealous Angry Tribal Deity. The fact that this imaginary being has rules and some of these rules coincide with manmade laws on killing and stealing is irrelevant as it is an unnecessary explanation for morals. Especially considering that historically religion has survived by doing those very things.

 

So could an Atheist really avoid indoctrinating their child in their brand of Atheism?   The reason I see the New Atheism as a branch of religion is because very few Atheists of today are aware Atheism is dependent on having Metaphysics.  Science itself was originally a branch of Metaphysics known as Natural Philosophy. 

 

“Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) was the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science. It is considered to be the precursor of natural sciences such as physics.

 

Forms of science historically developed out of philosophy or, more specifically, natural philosophy. At older universities, long-established Chairs of Natural Philosophy are nowadays occupied mainly by physics professors. Modern notions of science and scientists date only to the 19th century. The naturalist-theologian William Whewell was the one who coined the term "scientist". The Oxford English Dictionary dates the origin of the word to 1834. Before then, the word "science" simply meant knowledge and the label of scientist did not exist.

 

Some examples of the term's usage are Isaac Newton's 1687 scientific treatise is known as The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy and Lord Kelvin and Peter Guthrie Tait's 1867 treatise called Treatise on Natural Philosophy which helped define much of modern physics.”

 

Natural philosophy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Now it is clear that Science from the start was a branch of philosophy but unfortunately it is also clear that Theology was considered the norm in pursuing questions in Metaphysics. This is probably one of the reasons that science as a discipline first distanced itself from Metaphysics and Philosophy in general.

 

“Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, [1] although the term is not easily defined. [2] Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:
 

 

    "What is there?"

    "What is it like?"[3]

 

A person who studies metaphysics is called a Metaphysicist [4] or a metaphysician. [5] The metaphysician attempts to clarify the fundamental notions by which people understand the world, e.g., existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility.

A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the basic categories of being and how they relate to each other.

Another central branch of metaphysics is cosmology, the study of the totality of all phenomena within the universe.

 

Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of metaphysics known as natural philosophy.

 The term science itself meant "knowledge" of, originating from epistemology.

The scientific method, however, transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment unlike the rest of philosophy.

By the end of the 18th century, it had begun to be called "science" to distinguish it from philosophy.

 

Thereafter, metaphysics denoted philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence. [6]

Some philosophers of science, such as the neo-positivists, say that natural science rejects the study of metaphysics, while other philosophers of science strongly disagree.”

 

Metaphysics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

So we must start with problems that Atheists and Theologians bring to the table. 

The subject of this book is related to the debate between these Theologians and The New Atheists but I do want to go deeper than this debate.

 

The reason why you will constantly see me referring to this debate is because this debate is obviously very powerfully in many people’s consciousness today.

And my goal of writing a book on the meaning of life and escaping the delusions inherent in the nature of man is deeply concerned with raising consciousness in our society to a higher level than these debates currently offer.

 

Religion is plethora of Denominations and Dogmas with so many viewpoints vying for domination of our culture …that to leave this unchallenged would be immoral for me to do as a philosopher.

 

Conversely Atheism has many branches as well that I am quite sure will serve as a means to indoctrinate children into humanist or materialist values which by themselves may be harmless and in some cases even beneficial. (At least in the case of Humanism.)

But ultimately Atheism like any other religion will seek to undermine Metaphysics by closing off inquiry into the nature of reality that we all live in.

 

And if either side wins or even dominates inquiry for any length of time we as a society will pay the consequences of having to reason out our values.

And therefor allow values to be used as political fodder for more manipulation and the creation of agendas that stifle free thought.

In doing so we thereby will cut ourselves off from the feeling anything real about our very soul beyond what we are taught to believe.

 

 If we are to have any future as a society let alone as spiritual individuals, we must be allowed to pursue the truth wherever that may lead.

 

Even if this could eventually lead us to a place where debates between materialistic nihilism and religious dogma become a thing of our past.

 

  Just as we eventually accepted that bloodletting has disappeared from medicine, we must also accept that the atom is no longer seen as the one and only indivisible substance that proves materialism.

 We might then find that the next revolution in paradigms will not be held back any more than the prior ones.

 

And human beings will once again reach a new level of awareness.

 

And once again Metaphysics may become necessary as branch to this new paradigm.

This being the case to get to the answer we may have consider not asking all the same questions and assuming the same possible answers if we want different results.

Progress may only become possible when we learn the meaning of questioning all things.

When you question everything that you thought you knew and question everyone’s answer to the meaning of existence and of life the answers you find may surprise you.

And if you already find more comfort in the knowledge you now have then in finding out the truth, you may want to put this book down now.

 Otherwise please feel free to join me in my quest of escaping from The Man Delusion and read on