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Mike Adams

IT - Business Analyst, Los Alamos County

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Atheism as a Spiritual Path

I have been an atheist for a few years now, but I continue to feel the need for a spiritual path and to live with spiritual principles.

PLEASE READ:
http://reasonable-thought.blogspot.com/2011/01/morality-spiritual-atheism.html

I do have a spiritual path, which has found expression in my atheism. It lies in the unimaginable creative evolution of this incredible universe, in the complexity of our ecosystem and the incredible far fetched chance that with all the twists and turns that evolution took along the way, humans evolved and luckily for me, I somehow was born. I experience gratitude that despite all odds to the contrary, I get to experience this crazy and beautiful, yet challenging life, that I get to be a parent and try to make a difference for my fellow humans.

I definitely have a spiritual path. It includes and is largely based on science, on quantum mechanics and theory of relativity. It allows me to sit in awe at the wonder of a developing human fetus, which goes through the stages of evolution in it's mother's uterus. That we are all spawn from matter created from super novas and transformation of energy into matter and back again millions or billions of times until today. We look around and see this mass of diverse matter and life, but it is all star-dust, created by exploding stars and the transformation of energy.

Evolution continues to unfold unbidden and undirected, but incredibly beautiful!

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    Jun 11 2012: Hi

    I consider atheism is not as simple as disagreeing to specific God that already known. Disagreeing to specific God may still put someone on theism however it is.

    The most important, crucial and the core of theism is, they believe that there is something could be considered as the root of all powers and having consistent ability (power) to give us hope at the highest level than others.

    Whether we have religion or not, or we are entering spiritual paths or not, as long as we believe there is something could be considered as the root of all powers and having consistent ability (power) to give us hope at the highest level than others, then we have God, whoever it is.

    Whether we have religion or not, or we are entering spiritual paths or not, as long as we disbelieve there is something could be considered as the root of all powers and having consistent ability (power) to give us hope at the highest level than others, then we have no God, whoever it is.

    Any way, i salute you for your assertion. We may stay still on something but finding another way to seek better completion, is a way of life.

    Warmest
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      Jun 11 2012: I may be misunderstanding your statement, but I would say I believe energy is at the base of everything. This is from a purely scientific point of view, however. I don't believe Physics provides for either hope or not, but rather seeks to enlarge its explanation of nature.

      Based on my understanding, everything we know and in our universe is spawn from supernovas starting roughly 16 billion years ago.

      One of the recent questions I've seen posed from scientific circles is whether evolution could have happened any other way? Or is the way evolution happened for us essentially how it had to happen, based on the scientific laws of the universe.

      This also moves away from pure science into philosophy, but it is an interesting question I have to say.
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        Jun 11 2012: Hi Mike. I've seen the evolution question discussed before.
        There are different views.
        My understanding is that if we rolled the dice again or if self replicating molecules developed on another planet (perhaps they have) then the outcome is not going to be identical to what we have now on earth.
        You are unlikely to get exactly the same species.
        You are likely to get some similarities e.g several different types of eyes have developed independently vertebrae have camera eyes, other animals have compound eyes. Birds, bats and some marine mammals have sonar.
        The laws of physics and conditions on Earth would of course apply some constraints that would drive certain characteristics to be similar or the same.
        But no guarantee of homo sapiens.

        I've heard others speak about how different life might be on other planets. We only have the DNA based example and C H O based life. So it is speculative, but my recall is a self replicating molecule is probably the starting point for any form of life as we know it.

        There is no evidence of a guiding hand, just natural selection - in my view.

        I guess if we discover life on other planets, or it discovers us some might lose the idea that the universe is all about humans. No doubt religions will find a way to build it into their belief systems like some have with evolution.

        To think it took about 13 billion years to come up with homosapiens via the formation of the cosmos, earth, origin of life, evolution of homo sapiens and to imagine it was essentially for us seems to be following the same logic as religion - that we are the reason the universe exists. Which is an inherently human thing to do. I think therefore I am, and the universe is all about me/us.
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          Jun 11 2012: You don't think they have already found us? what about crop circles? LOL

          I think if we ever have a chance to travel to another planetary system, which contains intelligent life, we should definitely sneak in at night and leave pretty designs in their crops...it'll be like a really fun inter-galactic prank! Sort of a pay it forward of the cosmos if you will.

          I saw an interesting program a few years ago, where some scientists created a computer program, which was supposed to model evolution on other planets, with similar traits to ours, but in some cases, it maintained richer levels of atmosphere and in other instances with a thinner atmosphere.

          It was interesting, but what really stuck with me was that the scientists being interviewed seemed to forget that it was a computer simulation and not real. They were really excited about how the computer generated organisms were developing, but not in a detached "this is interesting" sort of way. I seemed more like "Wow look at my little child growing up"

          Non-the-less it was pretty interesting. I love the topic of evolution, because some propose questions that things evolved exactly as they had to, due to physical laws, others propose that it's completely random, which is consistent with a quantum understanding of the universe. There is speculation that belief in God is genetically advantageous or that morality allowed us to survive the last great event (either meteor or volcano, I can't remember). It's all so interesting to think about. I wish I had become a physicist instead of an Alcoholic, who dropped out of school! Oh well!
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        Jun 11 2012: Yes, Mike

        Whether it's energy or anything. Whether it has conscious or not. Whether it considers having super intelligent or not. Anything could be considered as god as i mentioned. People could believe in planet, sun, or anything as their own god. It has levels.

        There is a great example from yours:

        //I would say I believe energy is at the base of everything. This is from a purely scientific point of view, however. I don't believe Physics provides for either hope or not, but rather seeks to enlarge its explanation of nature//

        In this example, in my opinion, since someone couldn't get a hope from energy, than energy couldn't be considered as god.

        And as you said: //is whether evolution could have happened any other way?". You are correct, indeed that's very interesting question.

        Keep on moving. Dare to seek the truth :)

        Warmest
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      Jun 11 2012: Bernard, your point reminds me that often the western view of theism or religions are quite narrow.

      I lived in a Buddhist country for 4 years. Buddhism, which does not rely on gods fulfilled all the needs that a god based religion did. I attended some Buddhist funerals for friends. Went with others to temples to ask whatever for help. I read up on Buddhism and spoke with some monks and my local friends.

      I note many scholars suggest Buddha probably did not deny the existence of gods, just that there was a better way to escape the cycle of rebirth and suffering.

      To say Buddhism and following Confucius are not religions because no supernatural entity at the heart of it is almost cultural imperialism. Astrology was also important to many civilisations.

      It seems very human to search for meaning and explanations.

      While an atheist might believe in Astrology or reincarnation or a spiritual realm without gods, I guess many shy away from supernatural speculation, superstition, magic etc if they apply the need for a reasonable burden of proof and healthy skepticism.

      It is hard to escape all this stuff as our cultures are soaked in superstition/religion.

      My understanding is atheism is not having a belief in all the gods proposed by humans. So if you were say
      a typical Muslim you'd believe in Allah, but not that Jesus was a god, or Zeus, or Shiva etc. You would be atheist to all theist interpretations except your own. You would be the same as an atheist about all gods and goddesses except your own.

      I note some theists see all religions as representing aspects of the divine. Religious and spiritual belief is so diverse and convoluted it is amazing anyone thinks they have the specifics right. The root of all powers seems mere speculation to me. Often framed in cultural religious frameworks. A Deist or Pantheist approach is specific and hence less obviously nonsense but also lacks evidence and probably just a reflection of the human search for meaning.
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        Jun 11 2012: I sort of lived in a Buddhist country for sixteen years (Can Northern California be considered a Buddhist country? LOL)

        I read a book, The Three Pillars of Zen, which was very engaging and practical. Another book I really enjoyed was called, "A Crisis in modern thought." It was pretty interesting, but not so much as the Zen book.

        My impression is that Zen is an atheist religion...it doesn't require atheism of its practitioners, but Zen its self is essentially atheist.

        It is the only form of Buddhism I know anything about though! I've seen 7 years in Tibet, but that doesn't make me the least bit knowledgeable about Tibetan Buddhism. I know there are some pretty mystical forms of Buddhism and that as a religion, Buddhism is probably far more diverse than Christianity.

        I had a friend who was Taoist and he really wasn't fond of Buddhism, in fact he referred the spread of Buddhism in China and the ancient Orient as, "The Buddhist onslaught." That always made me giggle a bit.
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          Jun 12 2012: Had to laugh reading that. Nth CA could well be an informal Buddhist nation. We'll have to update the maps.

          I guess you can divide people in believe in gods or not.
          Perhaps you can further divide by believe or openness to to particular supernatural or mystical elements.

          I get a lot out of meditation, but don't classify it as mystical or magic. Just the brain at work.

          There are supernatural elements to some forms of Buddhism e.g. reincarnation etc.
          But a lot of good stuff as well. I bag the bible when people say it is gods handbook because there is a lot of nasty stuff. But the wisest of the ancients had a pretty good understanding of the human condition in some regards and made up stuff in others.

          Evolution explains our sinful nature. We are competitive and cooperative animals. Life is hard. Not because a god evicted us from Eden or other myths but because survival is a challenge.

          I don't know that much about Tao (Daosim) or Zen. Religion and spiritual belief systems are fascinating. I also found a lot of Brahaminism melded with Buddhism.

          Funny how Buddhism spread from Nth India to East Again a cultural construct. A lot of parallels between the spread of language and words and religions.

          I wouldn't be so worried if people took the good bits for what they are. Useful insights. But giving this stuff the mantle of absolute truth from gods is dangerous.
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          Jun 12 2012: I hadn't heard that Adriaan.

          My understanding is he was big on charity or good works not just faith for salvation. Probably some positive ideas.

          I guess I'm a bit sceptical about revelations in general. Not sure why his were more important than say Muhammad's a thousand years earlier, or anyone elses personal revelations.

          Apparently Swedenborg stated that he conversed with spirits from Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, Venus, and the Moon But he did not report conversing with spirits from Uranus and Neptune, which were not yet discovered.

          This seems to raise specific questions or doubts.

          I note religiously inspired texts have failed to offer any previously unknown scientific knowledge. Seem to be completely man made.
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        Jun 12 2012: As you said: //My understanding is atheism is not having a belief in all the gods proposed by humans. So if you were say
        a typical Muslim you'd believe in Allah, but not that Jesus was a god, or Zeus, or Shiva etc. You would be atheist to all theist interpretations except your own. You would be the same as an atheist about all gods and goddesses except your own.//

        But, i don't want to start from "What is God? or "God is". I'd rather put my self away from standardization that labeled from others in this case. Because it could put us in the middle of confusion. I'd rather use essential standardization (whatever i could find what it is), and see whether this standardization could lead us to God or not. It has purpose to put as fair enough in this case.

        We should seek from what can be offered by the truth as it is about God. Next, whether this decision will eventually lead us to religion or spiritual, or not, it's another case. But the most important why i don't want to start from religion, it's to see the truth and to value it as it is. It's to put us fair enough in this case.

        And that's great you lived on Buddhist country for 4 years. It should help you more to widening your knowledge.

        Great experience.

        Warmest

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