Archive for the ‘Wisdom of the Feminine’ Category
Whatsoever is good, whatsoever is right, whatsoever is kind … whenever in doubt always err on the side of kindness. One can never go wrong with actions or words of kindness. No matter how bad the situation, kindness always makes things better, kindness always takes the higher road. People always flourish more with kindness and a difficult path is much easier to walk.
Mercy is one of the many aspects of kindness which would serve the world well if more people practiced it. One of the problems with the dogmas and doctrines of religion is that they tend to beat mercy and kindness out of those who feel compelled to “Keep the faith”, when faith means practicing and adhering to biased and unjust teachings.
This year let us all make the resolution to err on the side of kindness … it can only make the world a better place.
My blog has been up for over four and a half years, during which time I have documented my journey from being immersed in the religious dogma of Christianity, to becoming an open minded free-thinker. My travels have led me from grounding my purpose in life in the god of the Bible, to finding a new and fresh understanding of living a meaningful life without the need for the presence of a divine being. I have discovered that the most rewarding and fruitful endeavors of life lie in helping and sharing our experiences with others, whether it be a spontaneous act of kindness, or working to leave the portion of the world you live in a better place than it was before … all reward your life with meaning. I cannot think of a greater joy than to share the freedom I have found in allowing my love of life to spill over onto others by my actions. The longer I live life as a free-thinker the more I realize how absolutely wonderful it is to be able to allow my mind to roam the expanse of the universe in search of understanding, not being constrained by constrictive dogmas and having to conform to the doctrines of religions. Here is a saying contained in the Kalama Sutra from the Buddha that sums up my philosophy.
“It is natural that doubt should arise in mind. I tell you not to believe merely because it has been handed down by tradition… or because it is commonly believed, or because others have told it to you, or even because I myself have said it. But whatever you are asked to believe, ask yourself whether it is true in the light of your experience, whether it is in conformity with reason and good principles, and whether it is conducive to the highest good and welfare of all beings.”
One of the main differences between religions and philosophies is that most religions are born out of an authoritarian mindset and are composed of a set of doctrines and dogmas given by a deity, whereas philosophies are generally learned through experience and critical thinking. As the words of the Buddha say … we should test all our beliefs against the highest good and welfare of all beings.
My main focus in this article is on the religion of Christianity, which grounds its doctrines in the Bible versus naturalism. Imagine for a moment what the world would be like without the influence of the Bible or for that matter any other religious doctrine. If by a twist of fate, the Scriptures of the Old Testament disappeared into pre-Christian history, just as the mythological Ark of the Covenant did, the world would be free of three religions. Christianity was built off of Judaism, and Islam was built off of both Judaism and Christianity. The roots of the belief of innate human sinfulness lie in the teachings of Judaism in the Old Testament and were carried forth into the New Testament by teachers and writers like the apostle Paul. If I had to choose which doctrine in the Bible has caused the most suffering, I would have to pick the teaching of sin. The idea that innate sin somehow causes the evil in the world has wreaked havoc in the lives of so many people, it is beyond measure.
Something that many people fail to realize is how well naturalism explains all the suffering, tragedy and atrocities that happen in the world … there is no need for a doctrine of sin, which only servers to blame humans for all of the planets suffering. Under naturalism things that naturally happen in the world are not fair and just, but they can be explained by natural laws and random chance, not because of the whims of a capricious deity. Humans do not cause natural calamities because of “sins” like lack of belief or ones sexual orientation as some Christians would have you believe. Read the rest of this entry »
If one looks back through history it becomes consistently apparent how religious traditions are many times harmful. People in modern societies are usually only exposed to so-called cleaned up versions of their religion and are unaware of their harmful foundations. A good example is the foundation of Christianity which begins in the Old Testament, there one will find many traditions such as slavery and ownership of women that have slowly been sanitized in modern times, but nevertheless still greatly influence fundamentalist teachings. All major religions share a patriarchal background, thus their traditional practices are based on assigning gender roles that discriminate against women, and this blatant bias is at the heart and soul of their doctrines. The subtleties of how women should dress and their roles of “homemaker” to the outright restriction of positions in the church all add to the overarching bias that all patriarchal religions hold. One of the worst blights to be cast upon women from biblical patriarchy is the curse of the witch; this has perpetrated great harm and caused the death of more innocent women then any other single decree. The idea of wise women being labeled as “evil witches” by men afraid of losing power is one of the most dreadful effects caused by patriarchal ruler-ship, also the idea that homosexuality is bad and worthy of death is another harmful practice that is derived from religion. Read the rest of this entry »
It is well known that women are oppressed worldwide and discriminated against for the sole reason of being female…in the majority of those cases the basis for that oppression is religion. Most religions throughout history have emerged out of patriarchal societies, having their origins in the imaginings of the male mind that seeks domination. This includes the three major religions of today…Judaism, Christianity and Islam which directly trace their genesis to the authors of the Old Testament scriptures called the Torah, or the five books of Moses, named after its supposed author. One of the commonalities that these religions share is their overt oppression, discrimination and subjugation of women, supposedly commanded by their male god. The degrees of oppression and subjugation vary, but they all share one common theme…their bias against women that traces back to the Garden story of Adam and Eve…where it says the woman was deceived first. Each patriarchal society that adopted and followed these beliefs subsequently imposed their own interpretations onto it. Why does religion have such an abysmal record when it comes to growth in the areas of human knowledge and liberty of thought? The Dark Ages is a good example of a period in history that was caused by religious doctrines and dogmas suffocating the ideas of creative thought. Anytime a segment of society stifles and suppresses the pursuit of its thinkers to expand and reach for new horizons everyone ends up suffering. A good definition of patriarchy is given by Allan Johnson in his book The Gender Knot, “A society is patriarchal to the degree that it promotes male privilege by being male dominated, male identified and male centered. It is also organized around an obsession with control and involves as one of its aspects the oppression of women.” Read the rest of this entry »
Moral truths fall into the camp of justice, there is nothing that is considered moral that is not also just. Justice lies at the very foundation of all that is right and good. From this truth it becomes easy to classify universal “objective” morality in terms of justice. Moral truths refer to the class of morality that stands no matter what the circumstances. Justice is realized as fairness and is the outcome that exhibits equality for any given situation, if anything less than that is achieved justice has not been reached. This is why one has a very hard time of defining many biblical actions as being just according to the standard of fairness. Morality that comes from religious doctrines do not have to give reasons as to why something is moral or just they only need to posit that “God decreed it!” whereas morals that are defined by a standard of justice and fairness can give reasonable and logical arguments for their validity. Read the rest of this entry »
The inevitable consequence of being self aware is the sense of being eternal. Once the self emerges into existence it becomes inconceivable to itself that it will cease to exist at some point. The fact of being aware of oneself creates a witness that perceives itself. To be self aware is to have knowledge or information about oneself and be able to communicate with ourselves. The only way we can understand anything is by how it interacts with something else or ourselves giving a point of reference and forming a relationship. To be able communicate and have a relationship with oneself and others is the essence of self consciousness. Read the rest of this entry »
Humanity thrives on it
Anything that helps to alleviate suffering in this world, no matter how small is considered a good thing; whatever unnecessarily adds to suffering is considered bad. This is the value of well-being. As can be clearly seen from examples in the Bible, unnecessary suffering caused by a tyrannical deity that demands worship and praise at the expense of well being, and metes out punishment when it is not received, does nothing to promote human flourishing or alleviate suffering. What good parent ever causes their children to suffer needlessly, or inflicts cruel punishment upon them because they do not praise or honor them, yet this is what the Bible teaches as acceptable, with its deity being portrayed as a father who instructs his children in this manner. The parenting lessons one learns from biblical instruction are at best unjust and unfair with rules being meted out according to ones gender or status. A good example is that of David being excused of the crime of murder because of his status as king, and Bathsheba being punished by having her firstborn son stricken with sickness for seven days and dying all because of David’s sin. If a high value is not placed on human well-being and fairness, moral integrity begins to decline. Read the rest of this entry »
Science is founded on testable evidence; whereas religions are founded on belief, which is lack of evidence.
If the Bible is true and its god the creator of everything, then humans should be able to use their “god given” abilities to discover the world around them that he made. When humans discover dinosaur bones, or any other ancient fossils, and perform radiometric dating to calculate its age, the results that they get should correspond with what is written in the Bible, but it doesn’t. As it stands, practically every scientific discovery in some way contradicts the corresponding biblical explanation. Why is that? The main reason is that primitive minds struggled to understand the world around them, and for all the unknowns (of which there were many) they inserted god, or a reason that fit with their limited knowledge, which then became recorded as facts in their holy scrolls. Consequently we have a Bible that consists of:
- Records of historical events.
- Rules and laws given by its god.
- Assertions that “god did it”, instead of testable evidence about natural phenomenon. Read the rest of this entry »
The Golden Rule and the reflective quality of self-love
Self preservation is a trait common to all organisms and is an imperative for survival. In humans this quality of self preservation can also be called self-love (self well-being); everyone must have self-love in order to survive, it is fundamental to our existence. Morality expresses itself through and has a solid foundation in the Golden Rule, which can be defined as a form of “reflected” self-love…”treat others as you wish to be treated” for the sake of their well-being. When self-love is looked at in this way it becomes easy to see how morality developed in humans. The awareness of self-love is unique to humans, when this love is reflected onto others the outcome is “moral values” seen in an objective manner. Just as a person can see their reflection in a mirror, so they can see their self-love reflected in others, which then forms a perfect image of moral values, seen in an objective manner. The concept of moral values when viewed in this manner does not vary across the human spectrum of experience. Just as self preservation is a component of self-love which leads to the ultimate well-being of the individual, so does treating others with reflected self-love lead to promoting their well-being. Read the rest of this entry »