by Jody Nagel
1. Only have faith in the abilities of intelligent socialist atheists.
2. Take credit and blame for your own actions. Crediting imaginary gods and blaming non-existent demons is the only reason man continues to remain doomed on this planet.
3. Capitalism maximizes greed, it therefore minimizes love.* Capitalism has got to go.
4. Accepting the rightness of "Love thy neighbor as thy self" requires no god, but merely enlightened self-interest and a correct understanding of exactly how cooperation and the natural selectivity of a species works within groups.
5. Learn to comprehend statistics, probability distributions, and the essence of chaos theory. Stop wasting your time trying to comprehend some god's supposed "will."
6. If you wish, learn what past thinkers such as Buddha, Moses, Socrates, Jesus, and Mohammed had to say. But remember, they're now dead. You will be too, one day. Being a decent living human being requires no religion, mysticism, or ritual. Your own mortality should convince you to get on with it, and stop wasting time.
7. Learn to find contentment by embracing reality, and changing it for the better if you can. Do not allow your shattered illusions to cause depression. Hope in an afterlife is well worth discarding. Knowing what is truly real, is better for humanity than in attempting to share continued hallucinations about an unreal immortal spirit world.
8. There is no authority in the universe greater than one's self. However, there are various forms of power that, I'm afraid, one does have to learn to put up with: gravity, militaries, strong and weak nuclear forces, police, fire, social inertia, electromagnetism, weapons, boards of directors, mass stupidity, etc. Learn to distinguish what is not changeable from what actually is changeable. (Hint: the gravitational constant of the universe is not changeable. Human things are!)
9. Creating heaven on earth requires immense power in order to overcome enormous stupidity. Get a share of power, if you can. Power and love are not intrinsically antithetical. True love requires gaining power over that which isn't right, and changing it. Preserving an individual's freedom is not more loving than eliminating that which is not right (the issue itself, not the person!). Two individuals with antithetical notions of "what is right" should engage in confrontation (verbal, not physical!), not ignore each other. Hypocritical "tolerance" of what one knows to be wrong is not more loving than attempting to eliminate that which is not right. However, other people's right-to-life is always more important than whatever disagreement you have with them, except when their "opinion" involves killing you (or somebody else).
10. You will never contribute to building a "heaven" on this earth, if you keep relying on the hope of finding a "heaven" in some supposed heaven. You are either creating or destroying heaven on earth at all times. Creating is more satisfying. Learn to be the world's creator.
You say Jesus is risen,
That he is alive.
I don't see him.
Either do you.
You've merely tapped into an institutionalized delusion,
through which you interpret your feelings.
I say to you,
* Love of people is doing what is in the best interests of someone else, even if short-term pain, for you or for the other, is necessary in order to avoid more serious pain in the future. Love has little to do with polite, comfortable, or sensuous feeling. Love of a principle requires hate of the negation-of-that-principle, or it is totally insincere.
Dr. Jody Nagel
February 25 - March 16, 2000
Goodness is goodness, as far as I'm concerned.
One of the reasons I consider "ethical" ideas to be "real" and "god" ideas to be "unreal," is that ethical thinking seems to be rather uniform among the various religions of the world, while conceptualizations of "god" are completely varied. This tells me that there is a naturally-selective "truth" as to what constitutes "good" and "bad" while there has been very little understanding as to "why" there is "good" and "bad."
Whether "Good" was created as an ideal of the divine, or whether "Good" is merely the mathematical-statistical best outcome for human survival within groups (i.e., naturally selective) and independent of the "god-stories" created by man to "explain" this process, then "Good" is still "Good" and "Bad" is still "Bad."
I would prefer to align Atheism with Theism, when it comes to Ethics, but it is generally Theists that ban me from fellowship with them because they are convinced that, without god, goodness is impossible, and I have no chance of "living up" to ideals of goodness without god. This just begs the question, of course, since there is evidence of both "good" and "bad" in the world, and, if there never has been any god, the "Good" and "Bad" still has been, and will remain, anyway.
I see no evidence of any god. I see a much more logical explanation of reality by presuming there is no god. I, who see nothing of god, merely state the obvious: there is no god. But believers of god, make the most extraordinary claims, based on some inexplicable need for "faith," rather than on a need for perceptions, tools, and reason; and then accuse me of being deranged. It would seem to me that it is they, not I, who should be required to demonstrate a "proof" of their wild statements.
The principle of "Occam's Razor" (named after William of Occam, died c. 1349) states that when two theories describe the same observation, probably the simpler of the two theories is correct. When I look around me, I see no god. Theory-1 states simply: Thus, there is no god. Theory-2 states: Nevertheless, there is a god that's invisible, all-powerful, all-good, all-knowledgeable, omnipresent and that you can only know by having faith in this invisible god. Theory-2 sounds much too incredible to accept, and, by Occam's razor, should be rejected.
If an existent god allows evil supposedly because of considerations for human free-will, then either (1) god could have designed a free-will version of man without evil, but chose not to, which makes that god NOT all-good, or (2) god could not design a free-will version of man without evil, which makes god NOT all-powerful.
If this god is not both all-good and all-powerful, than this god is NOT god as defined by the bible. Without such a god, there is no point to consider the god-theory one bit further.
Good and Evil exist merely because Humans exist: living, free-will Humans that either agree or disagree about some issue or other. When one approves of another's actions it is Good. When one does not approve, then it is Bad, The complex mix of Good and Bad in the world is not at all mysterious, needs no "god-devil" theories, and completely agrees with what an atheistic theory would predict: a large number of humans will sometimes agree and sometimes disagree with one another, and from any one person's point-of-view, the world will seem to be a mixture of Good and Bad things.
I am tired of living with little fellowship among my fellow man. I, who believe much more strongly than others, that humans ARE INDEED essentially communal in nature, that they thrive best in communities, that some version of a communistic economic system would create greater human happiness than our current competition-based system, I, who WISH for such a life on Earth, am deprived of such a life. Meanwhile, the Christians congregate, proving the value of communal living, while stating with their mouths how horrible communism is. Within this hypocritical framework, they actually succeed at experiencing at least some small dosage of communal living, while I, attempting to point out this fact, am rejected by them, and therefore I must forego communal living. Thanks to right-wing greed, the word "Commun + ism" (as opposed to other endings, such as communion, community, communication, etc.) has been purposefully confused with the word "Totalitarianism." Thus, Communism is "Bad," and right-wing wealth inequity continues to exist. This is NOT LOVING. This is some kind of mangled Neo-Confucianism, where everybody must learn to become content with their lot in life, whether it be a merchant, thief, beggar, or prince.
So everybody yearns for communal living. Yet everybody has been brainwashed to hate the word "communism." Give me another word to use, then, to describe the tendency for humans to thrive with more peace-of-mind and with more contentedness when they work cooperatively rather than competitively. It's so sickeningly ironic that even current Capitalism requires a communal "faith" by everyone in Money for the system "to work." The person that speaks the truth, these days, is rejected outright, because this "rocks the boat" of wealth inequity.
Church, ultimately, since there IS NO GOD, is about preserving wealth inequity. It does so by providing a certain amount of "communism" in the lives of people, keeping them naturally content, while causing them to continue to believe consciously that they despise "communism." This last point is the ultimate reason for despising institutionalized churches. Their continued existence PREVENTS a REAL heaven from ever existing on this Earth. A hope in a post-mortem heaven is all that can be expected, apparently, by church-goers.
There is no god. No devil. No after-life. Not the slightest evidence of any of the above. But continued BELIEF in these objects-of-fantasy retain the devastating horrors of wealth inequity, holy wars, lack of respect for the planetary ecology, and the ultimate avoidance of "the-buck-stops-here" responsibility for human ethical awareness. Yes, Christians claim to be the arm and voice of god, but there is always the safety-valve back-up knowledge that, if I screw up, then god will forgive me as long as I've accepted a 2000-year-old fairy tale about the Resurrection of Jesus. (I don't know what happened to Jesus. I wasn't there. But Jesus is not here, either. Everybody that has ever died is currently dead. It's ridiculous to require belief in ancient stories as a passport to heaven.) An even greater motivator to modern human goodness, is to point out to small children that if they do not "do good," then there will be NO GOOD. They are TOTALLY and COMPLETELY responsible for seeing to GOOD ON EARTH. No god to help them for when they screw up or when they choose temporarily to embrace evil. A permanent life-requirement to accept in full responsibility the consequences of one's good and bad behaviors. No divine forgiveness for sins. No nothing, but ONE'S SELF. The buck stops here, at the SELF. Any safety-valve backup mythological "plan" succeeds only in diluting the possibility of GOOD to be manifest during one's life.
I see, feel, hear, taste, smell, deduce, infer, detect in any way, no God. I am fed up with arguments based on implications. The presence of a wrist-watch, so it is said, is implicit proof of the existence of a watch maker. A watch is an object that performs a function that is desired by humans. Humans therefore "created" a watch. The universe performs no particular human function. It just IS. To speak of it as a "Created Thing," or a "Creation" is obviously to presuppose it has a "Creator" who intends for it some function. The universe is not a creation. It is a context. It has no creator. If it can only exist because of a "Creator," then, imagining for a moment that the "Creator" hadn't bothered "creating" it, where would the current universe all go?
I am annoyed at how much of my lifetime, as a child, was wasted in being indoctrinated into Theism, and how much of my lifetime afterwards was wasted in having to free myself of this brainwashed state. I would not have "needed" to write this essay, if I had never experienced the insidious manipulation of my mind that "believers" forced upon me before I was old enough to defend myself. Show me your God, or do not speak to me about this god-theory. I have tested "The Lord" and "The Lord" has failed.
Believe in Good,
Dr. Jody Nagel
September 17, 2004