Category Archives: Religion

FRIDAY 24TH, APRIL 2015

 

“Since the Bible and the church are obviously mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust them to tell us where we are going?” – Anonymous

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” – Seneca the Younger

“All thinking men are atheist.” – Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms)

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quite. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“The cultivation of loving-kindness and compassion is not intrinsically a religious endeavor. It has really a much more general pertinence and general applicability. You don’t have to be religious or buy into a religious doctrine to do it. This is why I think it is important to develop techniques that are secular and not simply religious in orientation.” – The Dalai Lama

 

I am no longer a Christian or have any religious affiliation. I am an atheist. Freedom, freedom and saying it again, freedom from the old religious quicksand that engulfs so many others. How fortunate I am. My God – if there was a god – that felt so good to say! Wow! I am an atheist. I am an atheist and I am free. What a relief. That took me a very long time to say. 53 years to be closer to the mark. I AM AN ATHEIST. Wow!

Growing up in Wichita Falls Texas I was exposed to the Southern Baptist way of religion. And until I was 20 years old I still believed in it. The bible was the word of God. And anyone that goes against it would be struck down and sent to hell. Literally – no ands, if or buts, you would go to hell. I literally believed this until College. Damn College it opened my eyes. The study of Geology and Biology – specifically the age of the earth, fossils that are millions of year’s old, and comparative anatomy started me down the road to that freedom. What I was learning could not be reconciled with what the scriptures and the “man” on Sunday championed. Just could not do it.

The field of study that completed the liberation was, of all things, Art History. Really – it was Art History – it helped me finally come to the understanding that all of what we take for granted in our religious iconography – has just been made up, copied, changed and adulterated in some form or another since time immortal. This includes paintings, drawings, decoration and ritual, architecture and most importantly writing (ex – the Bible, Quran, etc…). All of it has just been made up. Nothing in religion as in art is sacred.

Now this is not to say that I am not a spiritual person – you can be spiritual and not believe in any kind of religion or god. In fact, any meaningful activity or experience can be considered spiritual. Your work can be spiritual to you. Sex can spiritual to you. Painting can be spiritual to you. Hell even mowing the lawn has been described as a spiritual experience for some people. Long distance running is spiritual to me. It is a subjective experience in the pursuit of psychological growth.

So what is my philosophy on life? That is a good question and it took me 50 years to formulate an answer and I am not done yet. At the moment I would have to consider myself closer in Buddhist thought than anything else. But not Buddhist thought in the traditional sense with all the robes, rituals and religious dogma that has been placed on it over time. I am secular in Buddhist thought. Again, no robes, no rituals and most of all no religion. There is no consideration for the supernatural or reincarnation and karma is considered only in this life – your intentions, actions and their results. Some have called it a return to the original teachings of the Buddha – the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path. Whatever you say about it – I believe that it lays a frame work to build and live a more meaningful and compassionate life. A frame work that allows for the unique differences of others without the discrimination and judgement of others. Religion in contrast is about control and domination of the masses, disguised as kindness and compassion, but really more about control.

A philosophy or way of life that does not allow this will not appeal to some that are in charge or think that they are. Maybe this is the next step in human psychological evolution – the end of all religion and an adoption of a more compassionate and loving human experience?

The above opinions are mine and I am sticking to them for the moment. The bottom two pictures are from bike riding this past week. The middle one is from the Pine Ridge Open Space looking South towards Denver and the bottom one with the large Bull Snake is from the Redtail Grove Open Space, both of which are in Fort Collins. The day I came across the snake it had been a cool morning and my guess is that it just needed some warmth. The sun was directly overhead and the concrete of the bike path was quite warm. Ahhhh – the simple pleasures of just lying in the sun, even for a snake. Well that is enough for this week. Take care and hope to see you Out There!

 

FRIDAY 10TH, APRIL 2015

 

Signs of Alien Life Will Be Found by 2025, NASA’s Chief Scientist Predicts

“I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years,” NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said Tuesday (April 7) during a panel discussion that focused on the space agency’s effort to search for habitable worlds and alien life. By Mike Wall YAHOO! News

What? Alien life somewhere out there beyond our own biosphere? Really? Just because there are 200 billion or more stars in the Milky Way Galaxy alone. And that current research shows there might be tens of billions of solar systems (stars with planets). Why should there be life somewhere else besides earth? It causes me to stop and wonder. Are we so egocentric in our thinking that a lot of us cannot even envision life beyond earth – even if it is just a single celled organism? That in the entire Universe we are it? That no other sentient beings exist? What a colossal waste of space this would be if it were true.

Of course I do not believe this. I think that it is no different when Europeans were afraid to sail too far from the shore. That the ocean just dropped away at the horizon, that there were sea monsters, that the sun boiled oceans, etc… Of course part of the problem was their technology – squared sailed ships, inaccurate clocks and maps, etc…. But as it got better, most of those fears and worries vanished. That is what is happening now – the technology is getting better. And I firmly believe as the NASA scientist believe we will find extraterrestrial life, even if it is just a single cell organism. This discovery when it comes will be a game changer.

Some people have argued that if there is intelligent life out there why have they not contacted us? And that is a good question. My thought is that the distances between stars are enormous, really hard to get your head around and we are in a backwater so to speak of the Milky Way Galaxy. Also our planet may not be as “special” among other planets in the MWG. Only special to us of course. Or maybe Carl Sagan had it right. If you are an advanced species in the galaxy with the capability to travel to other stars and you came across Earth and humanity with all its issues: wars over religion and race, poverty, environmental destruction and generally man’s inhumanity to man. Why would you stop? I mean really why would you stop? Would you want to visit Syria, or the border between Israel and Palestine, or maybe you would be better to go to the Baltics or Ukraine? Oh I know: listening to the debate in this country and others over whether it is OK to be Gay or not? And if you were an advanced star traveling species why would you want to miss out on the “Superstitious dogma that is Religious belief.” No – I do not think that you would stop. I think that Dr. Sagan got it right.

Maybe, just maybe the discovery of Alien life in the Universe will help with the egocentric nature religion has given to people. The discovery of even a single celled organism outside of our own planet’s biosphere throws the whole idea of “we are the center of the universe” off balance. This egocentric view that religion has helped to instill will be a thing of the past. And in turn this will be the end of religious belief for most people on earth. Of course there will still be diehards that will try and keep the faith so to speak but over time as new discoveries are made their numbers will become fewer and fewer.

The other exciting possibility is the uniting of all countries, nations and people on earth. We will now be a world among other possible worlds. Exobiology will become a real science and not just a theoretical one. The human race will unite like never before in the face of real alien life. It might be the catalysis to push humanity out of the quagmires of religious belief and into a new and higher state of human development. Well this is my opinion and I am sticking to it.

The pictures are all from a trail called Towers Road in Horsetooth Mountain Park. HMP is just behind Fort Collins and is an incredible recreational resource for the surrounding area. Towers Road Trail is fantastic hill training. It gains about 1600 feet of elevation in about 3.4 miles and is very runnable all year long. When I took these pictures on Wednesday April the 8th it was a somewhat hazy day on the Front Range of Colorado. A cold front had pushed through the night before and we were getting a little upslope from the east. Enough to give haze and clouds but not enough for rain and thunderstorms. Temps were about 50 to 55 degrees at the time. The top picture is looking Northeast over part of Horsetooth Lake. The second picture is looking South towards Denver. The third picture is looking due East out over the lake and Fort Collins. The forth picture shows what the trail is named for. The road winds its way up to the towers at the top of the ridge, elevation about 7,100 feet. The fifth and final picture shows Horsetooth Rock and this landmark is what the park is named for. Early settlers to the area thought the rock looked like a giant horse’s tooth with a rough chewing surface and groove. But according to local Native American legend, Horsetooth Rock is the remains of an evil giant’s heart cut in two by the powerful Chief Maununmoku, thus protecting his people from the giant’s wrath. This last part was from the Department of Natural Resources Larimer County.

Well this is it for me this week. Have a great weekend and see you out there!!