Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Man is by nature an aggressive animal

January 23, 2009

And religion in general does nothing to tame the beast. Although, it does promote the delusion that it does.

Mythbusters: Let Us Prey

Leach and his co-authors also looked at subjects’ religious orientations. While those who claim to practice religion in the service of God are no more peaceful than the rest of us, they believe that they are. Meanwhile, those who say they’re religious for personal gains (e.g., relief and protection) give themselves higher aggression ratings than do most people—and indeed back it up in the lab.

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Christianly

January 19, 2009

Christianly – I just saw this adjective used to advertise a talk by one of the more bigoted, opportunistic Christian celebrities in Australia.

I am stubborn enough to think that being a Christian is about becoming Christ-like, not Christianly; like the man, not the contemporary, idolised social identity of ‘Christian’.

The web site for the bigot’s talk is superbly garish and its language consumeristic. We even get a picture of the bigot taking the posture of a Greek god.

The event offers to its participants “extended time in God’s Word.” What hokey trash. You cannot spend time dwelling in Christ, living the life of Christ, at a fucking convention. I can’t find any mentions of ‘Christianly conventions’ in the records of Jesus’ life – want to know why? Because they aren’t there.

But let us not be fooled. To these Pollyanna Pagans, God’s Word isn’t the unenviable life of Jesus Christ, but an interpretation of a text that supports a sense of privilege and self-righteousness. God’s Word is a consumer product to enhance one’s modern lifestyle, as the language of the web site famously demonstrates.

I will obviously pass on this Christianly lifestyle event. Such inauthentic, pretentious idolatry of the self just doesn’t do it for me.

Nietzsche on free will

January 14, 2009

From Twilight of the idols:

The error of free will. Today we no longer have any tolerance for the idea of “free will”: we see it only too clearly for what it really is — the foulest of all theological fictions, intended to make mankind “responsible” in a religious sense — that is, dependent upon priests. Here I simply analyze the psychological assumptions behind any attempt at “making responsible.”
Whenever responsibility is assigned, it is usually so that judgment and punishment may follow. Becoming has been deprived of its innocence when any acting-the-way-you-did is traced back to will, to motives, to responsible choices: the doctrine of the will has been invented essentially to justify punishment through the pretext of assigning guilt. All primitive psychology, the psychology of will, arises from the fact that its interpreters, the priests at the head of ancient communities, wanted to create for themselves the right to punish — or wanted to create this right for their God. Men were considered “free” only so that they might be considered guilty — could be judged and punished: consequently, every act had to be considered as willed, and the origin of every act had to be considered as lying within the consciousness (and thus the most fundamental psychological deception was made the principle of psychology itself).
Today, we immoralists have embarked on a counter movement and are trying with all our strength to take the concepts of guilt and punishment out of the world — to cleanse psychology, history, nature, and social institutions and sanctions of these ideas. And there is in our eyes no more radical opposition than that of the theologians, who continue to infect the innocence of becoming by means of the concepts of a “moral world-order,” “guilt,” and “punishment.” Christianity is religion for the executioner.

Although Jesus’ death was meant to cleanse the world of guilt and punishment these concepts remain stubbornly persistent, especially amongst Christians. The innocent sheep being completely determined by the direction of the shepherd is not a vision they have of mankind. Instead, we are the ‘evil’ wolves with the ‘free will’ only to ‘sin’. Indeed, someone profits from the Christian’s ideology, but it is not mankind.

The meaning of life and the theological perspective

January 14, 2009

I have noticed that most bloggers who write on “the meaning of life” do so from the Christian theological perspective. Whatever you may think of Christian beliefs, you may agree that it is good that these people are thinking about life’s big question.

But is it really good?

Has the ever-abstract reasoning of theology led the Christian away from true sources of meaning? Is asking “what is the meaning of life?” and providing an answer only a symptom of someone who has the lost the meaning their life once had? And how did they lose it?

Has excessive abstract reasoning, theological and philosophical, led the Christian far away from the meaning which comes with simpler, less abstract interpretations of everyday experiences? Has the Christian attempted despairingly to fill this void with God? If so, does this remedy cure the patient or merely cover up the symptoms of the disease? Is God the makeup that makes one feel beautiful while they really feel ugly deep inside?

The Locus of Control within Buddhism

January 10, 2009

Notice that it is your thoughts, attitudes and actions that are the concern, not those of others. We are responsible for the world that we see around us. The imperative is ‘do not judge but be just’.

Care of Thomas:

Do not be concerned with the faults of other persons. Do not see others faults with a hateful mind. There is an old saying that if you stop seeing others faults, then naturally seniors are venerated and juniors are revered. Do not imitate other’s faults; just cultivate virtue. Buddha prohibited unwholesome actions, but did not tell us to hate those who practice unwholesome actions.

Locus of control and Existentialism

December 27, 2008

The primary ethic of existentialism is concerned with Locus of control, which is perhaps the greatest idea of psychology – though unoriginal.

The point is, regardless of historical circumstances, genetics, family upbringing, etc., you are free and responsible for your own life. You create your own life, meaning and destiny.

The Buddha preached the locus of control also. Rather than looking to judge others, the external world or Satan  – for whatever absurd reason – as the source of pain and misery, the Buddha saw that is was the subjective, human sensitivity to pain that was the problem. A solution to this problem was only to be found in the self.

Two types of Christians

December 23, 2008

There are two types of Christians:

  • The fraud, who doesn’t believe in the Christian God, but has believed authority figures when they have spoken of this God.
  • The real Christian, who believes in the Christian God on no authority, against rationality, in the face of absurdity, alone, with a leap of faith.

Kierkegaard and perhaps a handful of others can be counted as real Christians. The rest, the bulk of all Christians who have ever lived, are frauds.

What do you have to lose? Nothing

December 19, 2008

I mean, what do you have to lose?
You come from nothing,
You go back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!
Always look on the bright side of life.

– Monty Python

Never say of anything that I have lost it. Only that I have given it back.

– Epictetus

and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

– Ecclesiastes 12:7

God is nothing, and the source/ground of all being*. We must face God (nothingness), indeed accept and appreciate him (it and non-it), in order to passionately live. Only the wise fool thinks life is meaningless because it is momentary (Ecc 12:8). Rather, life is nothing but moments, and life is meaningful because meaning has full reign, if we so desire, with (only) nothing to stop it. If only nothingness is against you, everything is for you.

God (nothingness), will frustrate the wisdom of the wise (the teacher of Ecclesiastes,  who taught the worship of God through teachings made up by men [Ecc 12:13]) (See also Isaiah 24:14). This frustration will come in the form of despair (with cries such as “Everything is meaningless!”), as the wisdom of the wise (its ‘reason’ and expectations) reflects absurdity whence shone upon the world. (The world does not obey our expectations and demands of it; this is the absurd). To avoid this dispair we must accept, appreciate and live in full view of God (nothingness) as we experience the world and create our narrative of meaning.

*To say that God is anything but nothing is to create an idol.  God is not a being and cannot be objectified with a noun nor described with adjectives, except in a poetic sense which does not purport to pin God down. This God could quite rightly pass Derrida’s criteria for the Logos, but I wouldn’t want to disrupt his Sophist-like games.

The Gods we ought to kill

November 16, 2008

John Capper, reflecting of Nietzsche’s ‘Death of God’ says…

The worst of religion is where it is used as a construct to build a society of uncritical people who are not empowered to actually explore and engage life for themselves. And it seems to me that if that’s what God does and that’s what religion is than that’s the kind of God I would like to see die, quite frankly.

Amen.

Non-Platonic Christianity: is there hope for it yet?

November 2, 2008

I think so. Theologians preaching a less other-worldly Christianity are becoming quite popular these days.

e.g. P.A.N.T Wright: Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop

This was also encouraging to see: Weekly Digest — The God of the living

and Heaven; who needs it?

Nietzsche and Marx would be a little less disturbed considering these developments.

P.A: Pretentiously abbreviated