Tag: atheism

Angry Buddhist Mobs Kill Muslims and Ravage Their Communities in Myanmar


The news item is just one of many reports of a far off land that holds some meaning for me.

A fellow Vietnam veteran never quite left Vietnam behind.  It’s been years now but I would see him regularly over time at flea markets and antique shows with his primitive artifacts mainly from Myanmar mixed in with the usual commercial trash – er, merchandise from exotic far off lands in Asia.

Sonny gathered his artifacts primarily from the rebel-held areas of Myanmar.  I used to josh Sonny saying I expected some day to see his shrunken head on a stick at some flea market. Some of those artifacts were were family heirlooms pressed into Sonny’s hands by desperate people expecting themselves and their entire families to be killed by the government.  Their idea was that the family would continue to live symbolically in those pitiful remnants sold in flea markets in America.

Militant Buddhists killing peaceful Muslims?  

Isn’t that turning things upside down?  

Some Buddhists are even atheists.  I have no idea how that can be but I scoff at those proclaiming themselves atheists and then claiming they have no religion.  What do they think atheism is then?  Do they not know the greatest mass murderers of all time proclaimed themselves atheists, specifically Stalin and Mao Tse Tung killed non-believers just as ruthlessly as any other religious leaders?

My daughter’s wedding to a professed pagan – Wiccan – was presided over by a non-denominational preacher, whatever that is supposed to be.

I liked the preacher, Joker, very much BTW but he was no Unitarian by a long shot.  He really seemed to believe the Christian mythology – er, Christian truths.

In a discussion without the slightest sign of rancor, Joker said to me, “You must be an agnostic.”

Heavens no, I told him, I have no religion. Agnostics insist they don’t know and neither do you.

Agnostics can be every bit as frightening as the Gnostic Christian heretics of the first centuries who carried Christianity to its ultimate extreme.  Saving the spiritual souls from the corrupt bodies could be accomplished by such measures as poisoning the town water well.

Joker told me that there were militant and non-militant aganostics, “hard” and “soft” agnostics in his words.  Seemed the soft variety didn’t care whether you believed or not.

I told Joker I must be a third kind – don’t know and don’t care.

Religion can be a lot of fun.  I loved the Cao Dai temple in Vietnam with its open lattice work and decorative serpents crawling through some of the open spaces.  In the entry way the three great prophets of the religion are pictured above an open doorway: Jesus Christ, Buddha and Victor Hugo.  The Pope and his 7 women cardinals would proclaim their religion completely pacifist while reviewing a military parade of a fierce fighting force that had proven itself more than capable of keeping the peace no matter how many they had to kill.

On leaving we were asked for a donation to the missions.

I asked where these missions might be.

When Los Angeles was named, I quickly made my last donation to any religion over half a century ago.

Los Angeles may be the only place on earth that could use some religion.

Best,  Terry

Unity, Faith, and the Body of America

While riding on the bus here in DC recently, I’ve noticed another in a series of ad campaigns by atheist, agnostic, and non-theist groups.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been particularly persistent and prominent.  Their basic advertising technique displays a quotation advancing an anti-religious view from a series of important Americans throughout time.  They seek to best advance a basic message that religion and government have no part.  While I agree that a strict separation or wall between the two is necessary, I would not agree to remove moral teachings with a religious focus altogether from the process.  Real religion and spirituality, not its watered-down, adulterated, self-serving imitation is never plentiful.

Does Faith Depend on Biology?

Some have postulated before if there is, in fact, a strictly biological component to faith.  For example, many scientists, mathematicians, and left-brain dominant individuals are Atheists.  They see no role for a higher power, since the scientific process and deductive reasoning can reduce the unexplainable to mere coincidence or chance.  To them, the universe is as neat and orderly as an algebraic equation.  Taking delight and contentment in perfection, the same formula or theorem always works the same way and always produces the same result.  I never doubt the constant need for people whose ways of looking at the world are so different than my own, but they also present significant challenges.  Getting on the same page without confusion is not the least of these.  

Why I Am Not An Atheist

“If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the patterns of their words.”

                              Isaac Asimov

I no longer call myself an atheist. Oh,don’t get me wrong: I still don’t believe there is a God or gods, but I have decided that the label “a-theist” makes no more sense as a positive self-description that describing oneself as an a-Bunnyist or an a-Santaist or an a-ToothFairyist. It is a negation, is it an “I am not” rather than an “I am”. Defining oneself on  the basis of what one is not is quite literally absurd.  I am not a scrapbooker, but I do not view “not a scrapbooker”  as a self-descriptive label and a basis for solidarity with other “not a scrapbooker” people. One can quickly see how absurd this really is. How sad, how limiting to define oneself  in terms of one thing  out of the many things one does not believe.

I refuse to make a religion out of my lack of religion.  I don’t organize my life or my thinking around my lack of belief. My life and my life’s projects are driven by things that matter. If I have to call myself anything, I could do a lot worse than steal an idea from Kierkegaard and label myself:

                       AN INDIVIDUAL

Buried in a story about a crazy substitute…

Kinda bored at work this afternoon, had a week’s worth of paperwork to catch up on (or to ketchup on), so naturally I found myself browsing the news.

I saw this link from CNN.com about a substitute teacher’s lessons enraging parents.

I was curious.

Face, it- so are you.