Monday, March 13, 2017

Who Will You Be In Heaven?

Who will you be in heaven? Will you be old? Will you be young? Will you have free will? Will you still be you, but without sin? If so, who will that be?

Will your appearance suddenly be beautiful and flawless to you and/or others? You are the product of your earthly body being raised in an environment with experiences and physical/emotional boundaries and conditions that helped make you what you are now. When those limitations are taken away, what will be left? If your body is immortal, will you feel pain? longing? Will your mind be changed into someone that never feels bad or concerned about the past or the future? Will you still feel eternal joy knowing that this god that gave unending life, may also have chosen unending death and pain to someone you love(d)? Will you still love God after that? Will you still enjoy eternal life knowing that others that you knew are now burning without the relief of being consumed, in terrible pain because they could not bring themselves to believe the one belief system that you so luckily ascribed to?

Will your dreams and aspirations be different knowing that you have eternity to fulfill them all? What happens after that? Will heaven be filled with challenges and trials and mystery and curiosity (some of the things that made you who you are)?

Will God always be there in person to help you along? Will your mind ever get tired and long for sleep? Will you ever find an unanswerable question? Will you ever feel powerless? Will you ever long for the power to change what heaven has become for you and your loved ones? Will your children ever grow up to be fully mature human beings, having experienced all that human life can offer?

Even if everything is magically taken care of and most of these questions are sufficiently answered, the question remains; will you still be recognizable as the person you are today? If not, do you really want that? Why aren't you that person now? Why hasn't God given us the ability to live as if we were in heaven?

Perhaps we are not meant for eternal life. Perhaps we are merely a spark of life that shines brightly for a short time, helping to light the way for those that come after. Perhaps because of this, we are truly our human selves and not what some supposedly omnipotent god would have us be.

So I ask you to think about this again. Who will you be in heaven? Who are you now?

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Thought Experiment

A thought experiment: Let's imagine that God is somehow regional - say He's the God of the Milky Way galaxy. He is Lord over a hundred billion star systems, trillions of planets, uncounted creatures great and small, but that His domain is limited to our particular galaxy. Let's also suppose that the Andromeda galaxy, our neighbor, also has its own god. What if Andromeda's god went on vacation and needed Yahweh to fill in for him while he's gone. So Yahweh agrees and ventures over to Andromeda and presides over that galaxy for awhile, leaving the Milky Way without a god. And while He was gone, He would not listen to or answer prayers, perform miracles, or rule over Heaven and Earth.

How would we know when God left? Would evil suddenly run rampant? Would normally civilized people start worshiping devils and committing crimes and performing vulgar acts? Would future saints not be able to perform the miracles that would promote them eventually to sainthood? Would the birds stop singing? Would the sun stop rising? Would the sky turn dark and stormy? Would the joy of living suddenly be replaced by universal fear and sorrow? Would parents stop loving their children? Would babies stop being born? What indicators would we humans receive that would tell us that Yahweh had once again returned to our own galaxy after being gone for a time?

If the idea of such a regional god seems strange, you may recall how the one true God of the Bible tended to limit His concern to the offspring of Adam and Eve, then Noah, and then of Abraham; mainly the direct descendants of Abraham's grandson, Jacob (AKA Israel).

I want you to ask yourself a very simple question: What does God do? If you say that He does things that would happen naturally anyway, then there is no reason for God to have to do it, is there? It makes more sense to say that God does all the supernatural things; things and events that require divine intervention or a miracle. But the problem there is, no miracles have ever been confirmed as being only possible through supernatural means. Prayers have never been answered conclusively and exclusively by a deity, that couldn't be explained in another way. Mountains have never been moved by faith alone.

If you saw a beautiful sunset and exclaimed "God is good!", how do you know that God made it that way? Even if it is a beautiful sight and a joyous moment for you, it may be the signal of a time of great fear and suffering for others. It may be the last sunset for someone that is dying a tragic and senseless death, leaving behind a loving widow and children. It may be a person that was killed by someone who believed that their god was right and ours was wrong. If you believe that Islam is a false religion; that Allah is a false god, and that Christianity is the one true religion, and that Yahweh (Jehovah, God the Father) is the one true God, remember this: they are the same god. Islam is an Abrahamic religion.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Better Bible

In the beginning of our current instance of space-time, a big bang occurred. There is evidence for this. Out of the chaos of the initial energy and matter-antimatter annihilation, the remnants formed simple atoms of protons, neutrons, electrons, etc., which were mostly hydrogen and helium. As matter coalesced and compacted, space-time curved into pockets of gravity wells which drew in even more matter into its cores. Giant spinning clouds enabled smaller spinning clouds to compact and form stars. Larger stars formed heavier elements through ever-increasing pressures, and supernovae distributed this amongst the galactic neighborhood. Rocky planets began forming out of the stellar accretion disk while the stars formed. Some of these planets happened to be positioned in orbits that were close enough to the star to have liquid water, and they were massive enough to retain an atmosphere.
One of these planets, orbiting an ordinary star about halfway out from the center of an ordinary galaxy, later became known as Earth. An unusually large natural satellite helped the evolution of life by adding to the sun's tidal forces which allowed marine animals to interact and adapt with the atmosphere and sunlight in tide pools. Marine life began producing oxygen as a by product of photo-synthesis and an ozone layer was formed, helping to shield the surface from too much ultraviolet radiation. The oxygen in the atmosphere combined with the surface rocks to form granite layers of the earth's crust which floated above the molten heavier magma underneath. The earth, having a spinning core of iron and nickel, produced a magnetic field which helps to shield the earth from dangerous outbursts of solar particles whenever the sun behaves violently. Through many ages of geologic time with meteor bombardments, ice ages, plate tectonic shifting, radioactivity, water cycles, and the burgeoning of diverse life, eventually humans evolved large brains and dexterous hands and curious minds.
Humans have developed highly flexible brains that can invent various methods of dealing with the world around them. It is easy to assign agency to unknown behaviors in nature or anthropomorphize animals. Some called the wind the 'breath of life'. Some believed that volcanoes had gods controlling them and that whenever the volcano erupted and destroyed a village, the god was angry with the people in the village. Events in nature that displayed more power than humans had were attributed to mythical godlike beings that could appear as human, but had wondrous powers.
These beings had stories associated with them which the people would pass on from generation to generation, slightly altering the details every time. Some people came to fear these gods, to adore them, and to worship them. They tried to communicate with these invisible beings with fervent prayer. But no clear reply came back. To satisfy this need, some invented the godly responses, told them to others, and even believed it themselves. A few of these learned that there was power in bringing the words of the gods to others. Common folk would revere these gifted men and treat them royally as they were the conduit from which godly words flowed both to and from the god. This ecclesiastical jurisdiction afforded priests the same powerful influence over the masses as did the ruling classes and government. Religion is man-made.

THE HUMANIST TEN COMMANDMENTS (strongly-worded suggestions for living, the kinds of ideas that, if everyone followed them, might make the world a better place all around)

1) You should strive to promote the greater good of humanity before all selfish desires.

2) You should be curious, for asking questions is the only way to find answers.

3) Harm to your fellow human is harm to humanity. Therefore, you should not kill, rape, rob, or otherwise victimize anyone.

4) You should treat all humans as equals, regardless of race, gender, age, creed, identity, orientation, physical ability, or status.

5) You should use reason as your guide. Science, knowledge, observation, and rational analysis are the best ways to determine any course of action.

6) You should not force your beliefs onto others, nor insist that yours be the only and correct way to live happily.

7) If you govern, you should govern with reason, not with superstition. Religion should have no place in any government which represents all people and beliefs.

8) You should act for the betterment of your fellow humans, and be, whenever possible, altruistic in your deeds.

9) You should be good to the Earth and its bounties, for without it, humankind is lost.

10) You should impart your knowledge and wisdom gained in your lifetime to the next generation, so that with each passing century, humanity will grow wiser and more humane.

Final Words:
There is no evidence for an afterlife. Don't live your life expecting a second chance at the end. Wanting to live forever is a foolish notion. Billions of people may disagree with these words, but many younger people may see the truth in them.

Slavery, terrorism, religious extremism, and genocide should not be tolerated. The Christian bible promotes these behaviors. I abhor them.  It is NOT a good book.

Someday, far in the future, mankind may have grown up, putting away its childish ways. Churches still standing will be museums for ancient dogma and belief systems long-discarded. Or, they may be put to good use for humanitarian causes. You can believe whatever you want, but I encourage you to think more than you believe; understand more than you criticize; plan more than you hope, and love more than you thought was possible.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Belief in the Supernatural

I don't believe in the actual existence of God or gods. I do believe in the power of the human mind to create and envision many things that may not be real, but have the capacity to influence a pseudo-relationship with these sensations to a high degree.

It is now known that there are psychological and evolutionary causes of our beliefs in the supernatural. Our brains have several methods for explaining or internalizing the unknown. Fear can be an important aspect of our dealings with mysterious objects or instances that occur in our lives. There was an evolutionary benefit to supposing that a rustling in the bushes might be a carnivorous beast about to attack rather than just the wind. On the plains of Africa, it could have been either one. The young man that didn't snap into alert mode may not have lived long enough to procreate.

When we looked upon our world and wondered why there was lightning, thunder, volcanoes, falling stars, comets, planets, and eclipses, we tried to explain them with concepts we could understand. Having dreamed of invisible beings with magic powers, the prophets and shamans would tell the people of the human-like but invisible gods that controlled these occurrences. They would make up stories which attempted to answer questions like where we came from, how the earth began, and what must we do to prevent catastrophe. Without science, and without the ability to accurately record events as they really happened, these made up stories were passed from generation to generation by the spoken word and later with the written word of the very few learned men.

Today, grade school children understand how quickly and easily a story can be distorted, embellished to the point that little of it resembles the original. And yet, millions of people carry and preach from these ancient texts that have been retold, copied, re-copied, translated, re-translated hundreds of times. They have the audacity to call it truth and even to believe that God, the creator of the universe, was Editor-in-Chief of every instantiation, thus all were correct. Why do so few of us understand how this works?

In recent years it has become possible to artificially stimulate our brains to produce the strong sensation of a god-like presence in the room, or an out of body experience. These so-called 'God Helmets' may become widespread and easily obtained by anyone. These sensations can also be produced chemically. The psychoactive drug DMT is powerful enough to convert non-believers into 'spiritual' persons in just a few hours. I have taken milder hallucinogenics and have experienced a similar feeling. The next day, however, the feeling was gone and I realized it was all in my head.

The fact that we can dream of fantastic places with complex stories, characters, and happenings, presents us with clear proof of the power of the mind to create supernatural visions from right within our brains. The danger therein lies with ascribing truth to these ideas and spreading them to other people as if they were real and universal. In my understanding, submitting any aspect of your life to a 'higher power' is a false way of incorporating 'spiritualism' into our daily lives. In some cases, one can dump their responsibility onto this realm and call it redemption or whatever. Attributing what happens in the natural world or what people do for themselves, or to, or for, others, to a god or an angel or a devil or demon, is wrong on so many levels. And the belief that we will live on after we die is the worst of all of them.

The human species has yet to fully cross this bridge and reject religion for what it really is. Long-standing traditions and cultural power structures serve to prevent us from doing this. But scientific knowledge will help move us along. Some day, perhaps many centuries in the future, nearly all people will have this understanding, and regard the myths, scriptures, religions, and holy wars, as a tragic curiosity of our history.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Christians face up to your belief system

If you call yourself a Christian, here are some of the things you believe:

  1. Reject, even hate your family. You are a follower of Christ. Jesus exemplified this. Do so likewise.
    • Matthew 12 46-50
    • Luke 14:26
  2. If something doesn't bear fruit when you want it to, curse it and make it whither and die.
    • Meaning if someone doesn't worship the proper way, or turn others to the one true way, curse them so they don't even try anymore.
    • Matthew 21:19
  3. The Lord God Creator of the universe sent Moses into a nearby city ordering him to kill every living being, man, woman, child, except for the young virgin women, for whom the soldiers could keep for themselves.
    • Numbers 31:18
  4. God regretted creating mankind and so decided to kill every living thing and start over with one family and a boat load full of animals.
    • Genesis 6:7
  5. God the Father has predestined everyone who will be saved before the creation of the Earth.
    • Ephesians 1:5
  6. You can be excused from all wrongdoing merely by deciding to believe ancient scriptures or joining a cult. Adolph Hitler could be in heaven now if only he had called upon the name of the Lord right before he died; but Mahatma Ghandi is burning in eternal fire right now.
    • Romans 10:13
  7. To properly remember Jesus, you must eat his flesh and drink his blood; symbolically of course.
    • John 6:53-56
  8. To be a true follower of Christ, you must give all your possessions to the poor.
    • Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 12:33
  9. You believe that any day now, the currently living believers will all disappear at the same moment, leaving the rest  of us to deal with a thousand years of rule by Satan. What rubbish!
    • Matthew 24:40
I could go on and on and on. It's easy to cherry-pick Bible verses to argue any point. Christians do it continually (that's what they do in church).

For me, I want no part in any religion or supernatural belief system. I read science fiction, but I don't believe every story is physically possible. Time will tell, however.

When I die, do not place a cross over my grave. Do not supplicate the Lord God to accept my soul into His bosom. Do not say that I'm now in a better place. I'm just plain dead - I no longer exist. Period. I will only go on living in the memories of the handful of people that I interacted with on this earth. My music, art, photography, written words, the things I said and did - they may survive for awhile. But few people will ever enjoy them as much as I did while creating them.

Live your life NOW! Love your family and friends now while they are near to you. They won't always be and neither will you be around to do anything about it. 

"Do the things you want to if you can. Don't wait for circumstances to be just right. You'll find they never are." ~Rudyard Kipling

Sunday, June 1, 2014


God, grant me wisdom.

Okay, thanks.

Faith is legalized insanity. How do you know when God answers prayers? It reminds me of gambling; the idea that you can be a winner even when the odds are stacked against you. Unrestrained gambling can ruin lives and is considered a disorder that requires counseling.
I just couldn't pretend anymore. I cannot play the game that seemed so perfect when I was young. Everything was all laid out. There was no mystery to the world because every question could find an answer in Christ. I now know that is false. So many have died or have killed for the wrong reason.
I don't believe any of it. I reject the Holy Spirit! There. Now I am damned according to the scriptures. So be it. When my life is over, it will be over. There will not be an afterlife. The word 'afterlife' is an oxymoron. My life will be judged by the people living now. How did I treat them? What works or accomplishments have I left behind for the next generation? Whose lives had I touched and made just a little bit better because I was there?
I believe in the existence of people. The few whose paths mine have crossed will be the only ones concerned with my coming or going. I hope I have not caused too much pain. I hope it can be said that the world in some small way is a better place for having me travel the few hundred places in the brief eighty year blink of these times.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hire a Musician

Many of our beloved musicians can't find a job after returning from the road or retiring from the bar scene. Is this how we treat our artist citizens? The path to reintegration into society after a tour or a long stint in a sleazy bar is a difficult one.
After years of dedication to their craft, musicians and road crews gain useful skills that businesses need - stomp box repair, microphone testing, barmaid selection; just to name a few.
Many of our homecoming artists have served their time playing music not of their choosing. Some of them carry memories of traumatic experiences: smelly motel rooms, lousy food, poor acoustics, drunk people, lack of privacy, unsightly laundry services, bad attitudes - the list goes on and on.
These men and women aren't asking for a parade or a pitiful hand-out (a substantial hand-out might do). They just want the recognition of a job well done; the applause and the groupies aren't enough. So, if you see a musician walking the street because the mid-west tour made barely enough money to pay for itself, please give him a job. You'll be glad you did. There's nothing like having someone that can do a spot-on Mick Jagger imitation on your crew; or who can tune your guitar in under a minute. They might also know the best places for happy hour or an extended lunch.