Monday, January 30, 2006

Walk of Faith to Foot Steps of Reason.

***Warning this is a long ass post, so get some popcorn and get cozy.
This is a religious discussion and may be offensive to some.
Please feel free to disagree or take issue with anything you see here.
If you think this is a ramble you should have seen this when it was 10 pages**

I came across a blog posting recently that gave me pause to stop and think.

The subject matter was something that I could relate to in my personal life about the journey that we take to explore the mysteries of faith and the world around us.

Since this posting is so long, it is broken into four parts.

Part 1. My Journey towards fulfillment - Background for the curious
Part 2. My Awakening - The other side of the hill my walk towards the truth of being Agnostic
Part 3. The Liberation of Brian Johnson - What I have learned
Part 4. Reading and Interesting Musing on the Subject - Some books and questions I have found entertaining in my quest.

Part 1.)My journey towards fulfillment..
Growing up in the by product of my paternal lines Lutheran family and maternal lines pagan Wicca belief system I can admit to more than my share of religious curiosities. Compounding questions of what is the right path to follow seem relevant when the so-called wrong decision could lead to eternal damnation. I give the below only as background so that the reader may understand from knowledge platform that I am making my ascertains in the next parts. In my life I have studied and practiced Wicca, studied and practice various versions of Christianity and when I mean study I mean study as in read the texts in this case the bible, doctrines, attend class, met with professors and leaders, research, papers, etc. I have read and studied the Koran (In English) sorry for the blasphemy, I have studied transcripts of the Ramayana, the path of Tao, eastern philosophy etc. I again stress study. I say this because so many of the people who I sit down to have open and honest discussions on the subject matter of religion have never really explored the subject. They are armed with crude platitudes, cute catch phases, vague expressions and shields of self-righteousness and if that is what works for them fine, but I do not have the time or inclination to engage in discussions with them. All of that being said. In my inexperienced view I settled on a non-denominational church enraptured by the preacher and his candid teaching even to the point of being baptized again as an adult. I continued to study and like any good scholar believe, you should understand the arguments of your opposition. If you say yes to something I am saying no to something else. I wanted to know what I was saying no to and why. This exploration brought me into conflict with my new community who for the most part viewed this quest as sacrireligious dangerous etc.

Part 2.)My awakening.....
My journey for understanding leads me down corridors of my mind that stimulated me more than any penthouse magazine I have ever read. (I have included some of my favorites in the books section of part four) I am not sure when it happened exactly but I became increasingly aware that my entire life I was working under an assumption that I had never challenged. An Assumption that I was not even aware I had accepted. That I needed religion in some form, that my life is incomplete without it and that my options are limited to that which is already created. That religion is the only way to have virtue.
Another thing that I became aware of is that a large part of what I was searching for was understanding of why the world was how it was. I was searching for a platform to view the world from. Some lenses for the looking glass if you will. For a community of acceptance a sense of belonging that would fulfill alienations and loneliness that I was feeling. Something that was right, that was positive that was helping lift my life up and gives me meaning and purpose. Something that was hopeful and inspiring.
Once I was aware, what I was looking for and why it was the first time I feel I was able to view the world as it was, objectively. The first time the absurdness of the concept of God was apparent to me.

I would describe the experience with my realization that god was nothing but a placebo in my life to child awaking to find out that Santa was really your parents. Santa is not real, a lie we tell children that masks them from the true gift of the holidays. Of selflessness, family, friends, sharing etc.
Just as the lie, we believe in God masks us from how valuable time is that we can make differences, that we are empowered to fulfill our own destiny etc.

I can no longer limit my journey and growth to a paradigm that no longer works. I now akin looking for life's answers in ancient textbooks as a limiting and growth-capping event that leads to retardation of the mind. If I want to understand the whys of the world, I need to understand science not religion in so much as this is my goal. Any exploration into religion for the purpose of understanding the world is futile.

If my car keys are missing, do I only limit myself to looking in the fridge?
As obscene as this example may sound I would say this is the same thing as a person who tries to find the mysteries of the entire world and looks only to a single book or even to a single subject for the answer.

I apologize for my not so spectacular attempt to explain this state of realization. How hard it is to tell someone what purple is. I feel like I am trying to explain the Grand Canyon and its entire splendor to a blind man. I am and not saying that god does not exist, just that I believe it is highly improbable and I will live my life that way until evidence suggests otherwise.

Part 3.)The liberation of Brian
1.) I am comfortable with the unknown. Note that is not the same as saying that things are not knowable. I would rather have no answer for something than a superstitious one.
2.) I need a framework of evaluating ideas that I test and measure against items consistently - I.e. I need to apply the same logic that I would when evaluating the existence of big foot or Zeus that I do when evaluating any religious claims
3.) Virtue is not a religious quality. Integrity and honor have everything to do with evolutionary biology and existed long before any religious dogma was there to explain it.
4.) The world is not fixed it is dynamic we can explore investigate the mysteries of life and live full of wonder and awe as the natural world around me is inspiring on it own.
5.) I will tip ever-scared cow that I find...I will not let people hid wrongdoing behind dogma or fail to take responsibility for there actions
6.) I can be part of different communities for different needs...this is heavy...I do not have to conform myself to a mold to be in one community...I can find like-minded. I have found my people :)
7.) I was given the gift of the value of my life. Everyday is valuable and not to be squandered.
8.) I am empowered and responsible for my own actions and destiny. I have to plan, I have to act, and I have to find the courage and inspiration within myself.
8.) All of this might change with better evidence. Thought is flexible and subject to change as I learn more, grow more experience more I am different I think differently to hold to an old ideal in light of new evidence is not noble it is ignorant. This is why tattoos (mine included) anger me...they are a permanent anchor to a moment in time a state of mind that should constantly be in flux.

The End of Faith
Diary of a Skeptic
The Born again Skeptics Guide to the Bible
When Religion Becomes Evil
The Gospel of Thomas
Gnostic Gospels
The Origins of Virtue - started my love of game theory
The Red Queen
The Blank Slate
Crimes against Logic
World History Volume One (Chapters on the Writing of the Bible, Canonization Process, Council of Narcissus, Muslims and Hostility)
William Burroughs Musing on God Courtesy of Spare Ass Annie

Musings (These are just interesting musing meant to get people thinking they are presented here for the purpose of introspection the fact that they are printing here is in no way granted that they are held or believed by the author, just various quotes by various authors)

The fallacy we often have with history is that we look back at it with our current understanding our current vision and hindsight and fail to understand the understanding of the people during a period how did they see the world.

The people of the bible actually thought that sickness was caused by demon position.

We cannot solve problems using the same understanding we used to create them.

If belief in Christ is the only way to get to heaven, why does one Apostle only mention it? (Could a detail this important be over looked by the rest?)

Since Jews, Christians, and Muslims all pray to the same god that Abraham made the Covent with what is the problem?

Consider the impact of a one-god universe he is all-knowing and all-powerful, he cannot go anywhere since he is already everywhere, and he cannot do anything since the act of doing presupposes opposition.

If there is free will, there can be no divine plan, if there is a divine plan there is no free will.

The golden rule is distinctly eastern philosophy in nature is it possible that is where Y'sha spends his adolescents and 20's? Studying in a temple in the east?

We can all walk on water depending on the temperature.more b


Dem Soldier said...

Good post man.......

dawnmarie said...

i think you mean diary of a skeptic, not septic. two entirely different things there, bro.

Brian in Mpls said...

Thanks Dem..

Dawn thanks...changed

dawnmarie said...

Hey! You put the old posts back up! *happy*

karphosite said...

I'm too intoxicated to rad ur post again and to write a detailed post but still I feel the urged to leave a thought or two that came to my mind while I've read this:

a) I have learnt for my self that I have to split the notion of GOD from that of religion..religion as in church dogma

b) belief in urself is necessary and important but to assume that we are the top of evolution and the only force to determine our lives is as unsettling for me as someone who follows the church dogma without using ur brain

c) contemplating thoughts like this is maybe the biggest gift of the industrial revolution we have..its luxury really as we have time..the struggle of survival has become so much easier that we have time to analyze oursevles, our action

FACE said...

My sister went to school to be a preacher. One night she called and asked if I was a Christian and if not I needed to be saved. I replied "do think dinosaurs existed" she said yes, I said now you've been saved. Studing religion to understand views and faithis good. It helps you treat people better, These manuals where written to help. Everyone is dying because the animals have diseases put in the manual don't eat it cause god said so and we'll save lives. Science/religion, most isn't fact just ideas to give explainations to questions.

There's nothing wrong with remembering a place in time.Hence why books of all ages are needed to help seek the future. A tattoo, does mark a time in your life whether good or bad, but it doesn't mean you can't move on. In actuality every cell in your body dies and regenerates, thus meaning a year from now I am not the person I used to be. The only thing I have is my mind to remember even though I'm thinking with a new brain. It's my book that I will never finish writing until I return to my true form, Energy and energy never stops moving.

I love you and your mind.

Rocketstar said...

Well put my friend.

Religion is the #1 mental disorder on the planet. In most cases it is theraputic, sure, but no different than beliving in the Tooth Fairy, as you pointed out.

Purpoting to know the unknowable is ludicrous, yet hundreds of millions of people pretend to.

Brian in Mpls said...


How are you doing are you in your new place? I am jealous that you are intoxicated;)

I agree with your comments I tend to overstate things as simplistic extremes when they are in fact much more complicated. We are all members of a complex structured ecosystems that does impose limitations on us, so yes I agree that we are not fully reliant on ourselves but would argue that we are more so than people tend to think. It is no that I think we are at the top of evolution by any means it is just that I am recognizing a point we are at on a continuum.

I agree I can't wait to see what happened when we hit the Artificial Intelligence Revolution or get further down the technology path when all we will be doing is thinking:)

Brian in Mpls said...


Your comment on dinosaurs is priceless, I might have steal that one.

Your second part is something that I know I struggle with personally. I just have a hard time really building attachments to people and things and time. It is hard for me to let that guard down and let people in, that I tend to just be a drift moving my camp so to speak ahead of the pain and loss that follows the building of bonds with people. I am getting better at striking that balance between learning and embracing the past, holding down my camp and looking towards the future but I know I still need more work. I think that it just begins with me really being honest with myself and others. My whole life I tended to hide behind personas and lies and stories and I am just tired of being numb and writing fiction.

New lesson for me: I can remember and think anew
Life is a paradox not an either or proposition.

Miss you brother,

Brian in Mpls said...


I think that is what I had the hardest part with. They thought the world was flat and that sickness was caused by demons but for some reason we give them all the credit for figuring out god?

have you bee paying attention to some of these cases in the system right now? very interesting stuff

Brian in Mpls said...

Sorry that link didn't work

It is a case where the man is sueing the cathlic church in italy for fraud saying that they know that chirst is not a messanger of god.

If you are not paying attention google some of those terms it is very interesting.

karphosite said...

msn doesnt work from here..keyboard doesnt work constantly (hence cut off post yesterday) so I better not try topost somthing as long again..all I say..I miss you..letter should be underway tomorrow.


yellowandorange said...

Wow Brian. This gives me a lot to think about. I am going to print this post and come back to it as I explore what I believe religion to be for me.
What I was struggling with when I wrote my post was that you always "have" to be associated with some sort of religion. I've been brought up to believe that if you aren't a certain type of religion, you are deemed to not have values or morals. That doesn't sit well with me.


P.S. Your post was written so well, I was highly impressed - just wanted to tell you that :)

Brian in Mpls said...

Thanks Yellow,

It has been a journey. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like "having" to pick something. There is a great book by one of my modern heroes Matt Ridley, called the Origins of Virtue that addresses this issue, it is a little textbookish but really an amazing contrast to the must be religious to have morals doctrine, might be worth a look for you.

I wish you well on your journey:)

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