Visit the Official KCSA Web Site

Visit the Official KCSA Web Site
Click to Visit the Official KCSA Web Site. Unity Through Diversity...Knights Nation!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Imagine There Is No Heaven

Upon learning that I am still deciding what form ( my present favourite being the God Particle inside the atom ) , or if indeed at all, I believed in God, a friend in a noisy Oxford tavern the other night asked me, visibly surprised, "so you don't believe in goodness?".

It took me a while to decipher the correlation. Religious people are often quick to point out that anyone who doesn't believe in God must be immoral - the usual argument being that if there is no absolute morality handed over to us mortals from a personal god, there is no source to derive our morality from.

"It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere.... Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." - ALBERT EINSTEIN

Interestingly Ole Albert would probably be shocked to find out that atheists are discriminated against in seven state's of America's constitutions. For example:

Article 9 Section 2 of Tennessee's State Constitution

"No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state."

Article 6 Section 8 of North Carolina's State Constitution
"Disqualifications of office. The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God."

Not that I ever plan to become a politician, but that's beside the point. I can see that most of this nonsense comes from the popular misconception that only hell fearing religious people can lead a moral and ethical life ("such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefore either in this world or in the world to come").

As the atheist Dave Silverman points out:
What a sad world it is when people can seriously say that humans need to fear eternal damnation in order to do good. Atheists do good, not out of fear of reprisal, but because it's the right thing to do.

Its a shame I never had all this contra bar-guement to hand, instead of just a cold foaming pint of ale, and a collage of points badly made, but being a good knight, and in my KMSA capacity of understanding diversity through knowledge, when I got home I prodded around a few articles online that would maybe help me combat such a question again.

Consider these:

Slavery was not only acceptable 200 years ago, it was considered a good deed by many, and defended using the bible. The bible was also used to justify the Holocaust, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition.

As late as the last century, religious Hindus ritually cremated widows alive along with their dead husbands.

Hitler was a Catholic, and Jeffrey Dahmer said grace before he ate his victims. On the other hand, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford were all atheists.

While atheists make up 8-10% of the population at large, they only make up 1% of the population in prison.

It seems then that there are plenty of religious people who are dangerous, thieving, lying, hating, killing, adulterous scum. Not to say that religious people are bad people and atheists are somehow better - all I'm proposing here in the spirit of KMSA debate, is that ethics/morality in a person is not a product of religious belief, it comes from within. Anybody can choose to lead a moral and ethical life, or the opposite, regardless of whether they are theists or atheists.

Madalyn Murray (later O'Hair), wrote a document used in the court case Murray v. Curlett, 1961-APR-27. It reads, in part:

"An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now - here on earth - for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist thinks that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue, and enjoy it. An Atheist thinks that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment. Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An Atheist knows that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethical way of life. He knows that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end to troubles in the hereafter. He knows that we are our brother's keeper and keepers of our lives; that we are responsible persons, that the job is here and the time is now."

Of course in truth he might just proffer his empty beer glass and say " Its Your Round then "

Sir Dayvd ( week on the D of O channel...can rich people ever be holy?.. ) of Oxfordshire


  1. "Love casts out fear1" A biblical statement that embodies my core belief. Sir Dayvd is right that "religion" has used fear to control others. However, I must remind him that "religion" is man made, not God made, and is therefore subject to mankind's short comings. God is love and love is the only way to express God to others, to connect with God and to worship God.

    Love is also truth, because to truly love another you must bare all in the light of truth.

    Unfortunately, all too often fear is preached in the pulpit, not love. That my friend's is not God's fault!

    And just because a certain individual proclaims a certain religious belief doesn't make that individual holy, nor does it place blame on that religious belief if that individual uses it for his own distorted views. Case in point: Hitler, Bin Laden, etc.

    Sir Dayvd is also right (I'm not trying to sound like Obama in the last debate!) that morality comes from within. So does love. I believe that when one acts from within in love, then the morally correct expression will emerge. That is God!

    I thank God for those who are bold enough to question, to explore, to not give into fundamental peer pressure...because we need these brave explorers to expand our horizons.

    It took me almost 40 years to shed the "fear based" system of "religion" to discover the beauty, peace, love and serenity that is God.

    We are truly united through our diversity, and as a good Knight of KMSA, I welcome all debate. So, I give you this one. If an Atheist doesn't believe in God, why does he spend so much time trying to prove that he doesn't exist?

    The truth is, fundamentalism is the cause of all sorrow. Fundamentalism is a protectionist viewpoint, narrow and selfish in scope. Fundamentalism is also not the exclusive property of religion.

    Sir Hook I Didn't Know Hitler Was Catholic But I Remain One of Warrick

  2. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief elements are ....

    I've often said, if there were no god, then it would be more important to live good lives on earth as this is all there is. Not to live an immoral (what is moral?) life and get forgiveness at the last moment, but to live as moral a life as possible now, ....

    Why would there be life after death? Not why is there the concept of life after death.

    Sir James of Taylor

  3. Sir Dayvd, you're not like the agnostic dyslexic insomniac?
    He lay awake all night wondering if there really is a Dog !

    Ahh yes, the old "Atheist vs. Religious-ist" debate rears its foamy head again. First recorded centuries ago at the Bonfire Pub, atheist Thomas Hereandgone, suddenly realizes that he's run out of money. Having heard the bloke at the end of the bar, Loudus Preacher, mention that he attends worship on Sundays down at the rock, and, furthermore seeing Loudus with a pocket full of cash, approaches Loudus and declares, "There is no God and I can prove it!"
    "Impossible, you doubting Thomas!"
    "Buy me a pint and I'll show you."

    The debate continues to this day.

    I think my post the other day on Oneness touched on this very debate -- in a way. It's this belief that we're all separate (some are "right" and all others are "wrong") that is the root cause of all our troubles.

    The problems are not political, or economical, or military. It's a problem of beliefs. Our beliefs create conditions. Those conditions produces circumstances.

    The question is, "Are we happy with the current circumstances?"

    No? Then it seems to me that we must change our beliefs. What if we believed that there NO SEPARATION between us and God -- between anything and anything?

    What if we believed that there is only ONE THING? Would we treat each other differently?

    Maybe it's not a matter of believing that there is no heaven, but that heaven is already here.

    One more joke:

    An atheist goes to a Christian psychiatrist, who hands her an inkblot and says, “Tell me what you see.” The atheist says, “I see Jesus on the cross.” The psychiatrist hands her a second inkblot, and says, “Now tell me what you see.” The atheist says, “I still see Jesus on the cross.” The psychiatrist hands her a third inkblot, and says, “What do you see now?” The atheist says, “It’s Jesus on the cross again.” The psychiatrist says, “Hmmm. Obviously you’ve got Jesus on the brain.” The atheist replies, “Me? I only read the captions you wrote.”

    Sir Bowie "Buy me a pint" and I'll we'll talk about it" of Greenbrair