"Heathens" Unite

Friday, July 19, 2002:

Goofy Fun


What Was Your PastLife?

From the Hokie Nun.

Matthew Edgar // Link //
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Thursday, July 18, 2002:

Founding Fathers: Christians or Heathens?
Not all the Founding Fathers were religious as some want us to believe. Here are some quotes that prove this to be true:

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."--Benjamin Franklin

"The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason."--Benjamin Franklin

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are serviley crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blind faith." -- Thomas Jefferson

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."--Thomas Jefferson

"I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology."--Thomas Jefferson

"The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ."

"I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to that book (the Bible)." -- Thomas Paine

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."--Thomas Paine

"The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy."--George Washington

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved--the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"--John Adams

"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?" - John Adams

"The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." - Thomas Jefferson

"Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross; restore him to the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, the roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and the first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus." - Thomas Jefferson

NOTE: Compiled in random order from a variety of web and non-web sources.

Matthew Edgar // Link //
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Saturday, July 13, 2002:

The After Life

“Here is the one question you need to get right ....because your life depends on it:
When you die and you meet the Lord at heaven's gates and He asks you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’... What will your answer be? And will your answer get you through the gates into heaven?”

This according to
this website sent to me by an anonymous reader. The after life is a seminal point in the determination of religious beliefs as the afterlife determines how you will live your life and how you will respond to the death of those close to you.

There are two aspects to death: 1) what happens to you after you die and 2) how should those on Earth deal with the death of a close friend or family member.

What Happens After You Die?
Deists are simply no fun. There are no virgins to great you, no all-knowing being, no meeting “the savior”, and no going to Hell to be tortured for eternity. Deists reject all that on grounds that you cannot prove it by reason. The truth may be in the form of Heaven and Hell…however the truth might also be that there is no after life. There is no way as of yet to prove what happens after death – it is the ultimate mystery. Science can prove evolution of creationism or something else.

Seeming that there is no true way to determine this, how then should we live our lives before death? Christians would answer that we must live our lives according to His word so that He shall let you into His heaven. This is wrong. Man was not put here to serve someone else’s desires. Much to the contrary, man must serve himself.

Man must serve himself by living life not in fear on some Almighty creature but in joyous admiration that you had the goodness to be alive for any period of time. In short, we must all be Epicureans. Epicureanism is by far the most misunderstood philosophy. It is not some wild hedonistic party-till-you-drop philosophy as some think, but rather it is the notion that we must live for serenity of body and soul (I define soul as the mind). Clarified by Lucretius in “On the Nature of Things” as the mental tranquility and devotion to the truth as the two most important pleasures in life. In other words, the truth must be sought in order to have pleasure, and it is that pleasure that we must seek in this life.

How to Respond to Death
Recently my grandfather passed away after prolonged diseases and this question has haunted me since that day. Should I cry and weep for my selfish desires to have my grandfather life forever despite the unbelievable pain he was in towards the end? Or should I accept that my grandfather lived a very full life. Not only did he have many friends and family who loved him, but also he was a man very committed to mental tranquility and the thirst for truth. Or should I o as the Christians suggest and accept that it was just his time to go by the Almighty’s plans.

While crass, it makes no sense to cry after the death of a loved one. At least no logical sense. In saying this, I do not pretend to suggest that I am somehow immune to tears and certainly am not suggesting that we all must be a John Wayne tough guy who never cries. Much to the contrary, in saying that crying and sadness following death makes no sense I mean only to suggest that it serves no purpose as it will not bring the dearly departed back to life.

As for the Christian idea that somehow there was a plan for each of us when we are born and when we die, I think that is a load of bunk believed only by those who wish to find an easy answer to the overwhelming concept of death. In other words, this is a scapegoat: I don’t understand death, therefore I will simply say that the omnipotent God intended it to occur.

I have decided to accept the notion that we must not cry and instead be thankful that our loved ones lived for a time and be even more satisfied if they lived a good life. This is not easy to do and is certainly does not answer the question on anyone’s mind who has experienced a death, why did that person have to die? Why now? Those questions are complex and should remain under investigation. But in investigating those questions we shouldn’t slip into the easy answer that it was someone’s plan.

Conclusion
Instead of living life in fear of some all-knowing creature with a planned time for our death, man must live to seek the pleasure of knowledge and the pleasure of truth. Maybe there is an afterlife, maybe there is not. I am inclined to think that there is none as it makes no logical sense in an otherwise logical world.

Matthew Edgar // Link //
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Friday, July 12, 2002:

What is Deism?
For those of you not satisfied by our answers, the
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA has the best definition I have ever seen.

Matthew Edgar // Link //
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Sunday, July 07, 2002:

Religion in Schools/Government

I have thought long and hard about the recent ruling of the 9th Circuit Court regarding the Pledge of Allegiance. My co-workers, my family, my friends – all people I respect not only for their strength of character but also for their power of intellect – have argued to me that this ruling is “another example of politically correct nonsense”. This is why it is so hard for me to admit that I like the ruling of the court. The phrase “under God” is hard for someone who does not believe in God to accept.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship.” By this he meant that some government bureaucrat in DC can’t come to Denver and force me to say “I believe in God” – which is truly what you are saying when you state “one nation under God”.

One interesting critic of the pledge ruling was that “America was founded in the light of Jesus Christ and in the name of the God Almighty”. Another TV minister stated that “this country [America] was founded in the idea that government must reflect the view of God’s wishes”. How can these seemingly intelligent people suffer from such a delusion?

Says the Declaration of Independence, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends , it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”. Where in there does it say that men derive their powers from God? Where in there does it say that God has the right to altar governments? Where does it say that these Colonists want to break away from the Crown to found a Puritan-God based government? It doesn’t!

And moreover, the First Amendment to the Constitution stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, also supports an idea of religious freedom. This country was not founded on God or Christianity. Certainly, many of the Founders were Christians. Several were Deists. Some were atheists. Some didn’t care about religion at all.

This proves not only that “one nation under God” is not historically founded but also that Christians’ stories of American Christianity are often far over exaggerated.

Some would argue that the original settlers of America were Christians, and that is enough historical grounding to maintain historical proof for the need for a religious government. Often the existence of the Puritans are cited as a reason and an example of religious government. Sure, the Puritans were among the original Founders of the country. The Puritans believed in a very religious based government. So much so, that their religious zeal led to the burning of not only supposed witches but also all non-believing heathens at the stake. While this makes me glad I live now instead of then, the question still becomes are we sure, we want to use the Puritans as a reason for a religious government?

But to say that the Puritans came here to found a national government based on religion is ludicrous. They came after they were ostracized from their native lands, wanting to form only small communities of Puritanism; the Puritans came to America to be left alone and free of religious persecution from non-Puritans. Many other religious groups came for the same reason: fear of persecution if they remained in their native lands. When government is involved in religion, they can use government power persecute and ostracize people not of the government’s religious beliefs. If this doesn’t add proof for a need to get government out of religion, I don’t know what does.

Now returning to the Pledge, it is obvious that there is little historical grounding for requiring us to say “under God”, as this is a clear example of the national government embracing a certain religious belief, namely the existence of God. So might I add are tax breaks to religious groups, and President Bush’s “faith based initiatives”. Just like the governments of 18th Century Europe, the American government embraces predominately western religions. Not being among those religious groups accepted by government, this scares me.

I will be the first to admit however that the phrase “under God” is of little consequence compared to other larger movements to get the government involved in religion. President Bush’s “faith initiative” would give money to religious organizations. By giving money, the government endorses a certain idea within these religious organizations. This endorsement of one religious group but not another, is an outright government embrace of a certain religion.

In taking the oath of office, most presidents (I believe there was one or two that didn’t say it, but I can’t remember) have referred in some way or another to the existence of God as a controlling force in their lives. This is yet another example of God being embraced by government officials. If they want to be religious that is great. Just don’t use that religion in making government decisions; it doesn’t matter if Jesus wanted or didn’t want the death penalty as the death penalty can be discussed free of religion.

No place is this religion in government movement more clear than in debates over education. Many want creationism taught in the schools, simply because they believe in creationism. That is great, as long as it is taught alongside every other philosophical or religious belief of the origin of man. Creationism should not be taught in science class. On the same note, neither should Evolutionism as Evolutionism is still very much a theory.

As I discussed in my last post, micro-evolution (evolution on a small scale) can be scientifically proven. Geological evidence of rock layers, and thus rock ages, can be scientifically proven. The nature and origins of stars, planets, and all those other “heavenly bodies” can be scientifically proven. All these things, and all other things that can be scientifically proven, should be taught in science class. This with the understanding that while science truth is only as objective as it can be. The objective truth is subject to modification.

It is clear though that there is no scientific proof for macro-evolution (the idea that man evolved from apes, for example) and there is no scientific evidence for creative design or creationism. Thusly, these should be taught in philosophy classes and weighed with equal importance. If science begins to prove beyond a doubt one of these true, whichever that is should be moved to a science class.

There is a great movie that I strongly recommend everyone watching, called
“Inherit the Wind”. (The best version is the Spencer Tracey/Fredric March/Gene Kelly version and not just because I love Spencer Tracey, but because it really is.) This movie, for those who don’t know, deals with a court trial over the legality of the teaching of evolution in the schools. The point made in this movie is an overwhelming need for exposure to alternatives – the need to remove thought blinders. To teach just evolution or just creationism, or just the Koran or just the Torah, increases the amount of indoctrinating instead of critical thinking about all the possibilities to believe in.

So in conclusion, government embracing a religion leads to indoctrination which leads to persecution of all those outside the indoctrinated-mold. I hope everyone agrees that it is not the role of government to persecute people simply because of religious beliefs.

Matthew Edgar // Link //
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Thursday, July 04, 2002:

What About Science?

Evolution or Creationism?

Geologists have stated that the earth is much older than the Bible would have us believe. Biologists have also stated that the earth is much older than the Bible would have us believe. But how right are these scientists?

Evolution is still just as much a theory as creationism is. To say that evolution is the right answer is to put up a set of blinders from the quest to find the truth. These are the very blinders I am opposed to with those in the organized religion who cling tightly to their story of Creationism.

There are indications of micro-evolution such as the evolutions noted by Charles Darwin…the changing beak sizes for example. This can be observed in a relatively short time period. As the larger beak becomes necessary those with the larger beak will survive. This micro-evolution is accepted by most people. Some have reasoned that micro-evolution on the small scale somehow shows the existence of macro-evolution (the evolutions that occur over eons). This is where the controversy begins.

I would tend to think that macro-evolution makes sense. Clearly the shape of the land on the earth has changed; geology shows this at the very least. As land shape changes (continents breaking apart), climate changes. As climate changes, animals that can survive these changes change as well so as to survive. But this macro-evolution happens over eons, and can only be observed through geology and the methods of geology are subject to human fallibility.

There is pretty good scientific evidence for evolution, and because of that I remain in the camp of evolutions, believing that life comes from nature. However, as a person who believes in unbiased reason, I will continue to monitor the science as best as I can, without trying to see how best it fits into preconceived notions or stories passed down for many generations about the beginnings of the earth.

Does this mean that Creationists might some day be proven right? Yes it might mean that. However, Creationists rarely have an open mind about this issue; they are quick to put up their blinders. The Christian religious professors and priests/pastors I have spoken to about this issue say that the only true beginning of the earth is the story of Genesis or Creationism. When asked about science, they reject it as “heathen’s play” or something towards that end. They are very closed minded and reject the idea of using thought or reason or logic to analyze their beliefs.

And while on this note does Creationism hold up to logic? It asks us to believe that some creature we have never seen or heard from except in old stories from men who drank a lot somehow gave birth to a lot of matter and then formed that matter into humans and animals and plants and rocks and planets and stars and moons. Believing this story is almost as hard as believing that cells were able to spontaneously come together and combine and then spontaneously become other organisms. We never saw either of these occurrences (with the exception of small scale evolutionism). On the one hand we are told to believe the theory because it is a “Holy Book” that has been passed down for many generations. On the other hand we are told to believe the theory because of imperfect science.

As noted here previously, Deists are not nihilists…they do believe in something. That something is reason and the mind of man – the power of thought. We are to use that power of thought not to believe some fancy theory to answer all our questions but to determine the truth.

Said Another Way
All throughout history man has developed theories about how things started. It is natural for man to want to know these things. One of the more interesting stories of the beginning of the earth came from a very civilized society that wrote a good deal of classic literature was the Ancient Greeks. Let’s take a look at their story of the creation of the earth.

The Ancient Greeks believed that in the beginning there was Nothing. All of a sudden Earth appeared. With Earth came the Gods. Eros, love, was the most powerful of these gods. Tartarus, the underworld suddenly came to be. Nothing then created Night and Erebos. This was end of the first generation of gods.

Then for the second generation Night and Erebos gave birth to Day and Space then Earth gave birth to Heaven and Sea and the mountains. My Olympus became the home of the gods (the gods being Nothing, Earth, Eros, Tartarus, Night, Erebos, day, Space, Heaven, and Sea).

Then for the third generation came the Titans, the sons and daughters of the Earth and Heaven. Earth gave birth to three Cyclopes. The father of these Titans and Cyclopes, Heaven, really ticked them off. So following in good Freudian footsteps, the Titans and Cyclopes revolted against Heaven under the leadership of Kronos, the youngest Titan. Once this revolt was over, Kronos went and had children, but ate them all, with the exception of his youngest son, Zeus, who was hidden by his mother and grandmother, the Earth.

Zeus then came back and killed Kronos his father and miraculously all Zeus’s and brothers had survived in Kronos’s tummy and Zeus saved them too. Zeus then ridded the Earth of the Titans and the Cyclopes as well as monsters. Now it was just Zeus, his cousins, his brothers, his sisters, their children, and the first and second generation Gods sitting atop Mt. Olympus.

Eventually Prometheus came along. He was Zeus’ cousin and had helped Zeus in killing the Titans. Prometheus and his brother were assigned the task of making humans and animals to populate the Earth. And so they created all these animals and humans on the Earth. Because of mistakes made in giving animals faster motion, more courage, and more strength, Prometheus created man in a nobler shape; man was shaped in God’s image. Prometheus also gave man fire, an act which led him to be severely punished by Zeus.

Of course, to the Ancient Greeks this made perfect sense. However, to a modern eye this doesn’t seem to make too much sense, especially considering that we can know now the geographical flaws in these stories, not to mention the severe biological flaws. Science debunked this mythical story of creating the universe and creating mankind. Science has a way of doing that to most mythical stories.

The Point
I remain objective and without blinders in my analysis of the stories of the finding what the beginning is, waiting until I can find something that is beyond a doubt true. Micro-evolution is beyond a doubt true, and therefore more credibility is given to theory of evolutionism. The Creationist’s responses to evolution, that the science is just flawed, does not convince me that evolution is necessarily wrong nor prove to me that Creationism is necessarily right. It never will, until their Bible blinders are removed.

Matthew Edgar // Link //
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Wednesday, July 03, 2002:

Deists are not nihilists.

Deists are not nihilists. Deists believe in an orderly world that embraces the goodness within everyone. The deist appreciation of man as a rational being gives the deist a standard of morality to life up to in order to respect the greatness in man. Atheists who have no orderly structure in the world are more likely to become nihilists with only an appreciation of the here and now. Nihilists of course don’t stand for anything, deists do.



Cal Ulmann // Link //
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Why Catholics, Jews, and the Rest of the Organized Folks Should Read This Blog
I got an e-mail from a guy who demanded knowing why we thought this blog was needed, for propaganda? for insulting? or what?

First, non-Deists should read this blog to understand attacks on their religious faiths. Know your enemy. More than that, reading the other side helps reduce your bias and makes you smarter. We're not insulting you, we're opening your minds.

Second, Deists should read this to learn the various ins and outs of this religion.

And as for the claim that it is propaganda, well, it is not. Just an attempt to organize some thoughts about theological questions big and small.

The // Link //
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But We Aren't Heathens!
War of Words
According to the
online Merriam Webster dictionary, a heathen is:
1 : an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible; OR
2 : an uncivilized or irreligious person
The idea that we have to be converted is ridiculous. This notion that conversion is dependent on being accepted into society is plain silliness which proves only that this is a Christian's word for non-believers, not a word that can be used by all people.

The further implication that the rejection of the Bible's God suggests an uncivilized nature adds further evidence to this. Those who do not believe in the Bible's God most certainly can be civilized people, as defined in a non-religious sense.

So why is this blog called "Heathens" Unite? Well, because we want to show just how silly everything about organized religions is, even their myopic words for non-believers. And this gets to the heart of the matter. Anyone who rejects a certain notion Bible lovers are told to believe by the Bible, is instantly considered to be wrong and that person espousing that idea is instantly branded by those Bible lovers to be a heathen. Bible carriers are way too quick to judge...and have been all through history (think Crusades, for only one example).

Deists, alternatively, consider everything by reason and logic. If an idea doesn't make sense, that is only as a result of careful consideration using logic and facts and weighing all possibilities by reason. Bible lovers don't consider everything and rarely use the power of thought and often they throw out idea after only comparing that idea to magical stories passed down for generations upon generations. If that new idea doesn't fit into that magical story, it cannot be right. Bible lovers argue that God created the Earth because the Bible written by God says he did, therefore scientific evidence for evolution must be wrong. Deists say that the science is pretty good, sure there are flaws, but Deists try and work through those science flaws to do more science, not to prove creationists wrong or evolution right, but to find the true story without bias.

While this subject will be covered more later by one of the non-anonymous heathens, it is easy to see that Deists are far more open minded to ideas than those "civilized and converted" folks. We'll call ourselves heathens, just to prove that this is so.

UPDATE: This is a response to comments made in the below response box.

1. Just because someone is not of your select religions they are slapped with a very derogatory word, whether you mean it to be or not it comes across as such.

2. How can you claim I am unenlightened when all you are meaning by that is that I don't wear your Bible (Koran or Torah) induced blinders? In other words, you think me unenlightened simply because I don't believe in the magical stories that cannot be explained by logic in your bible. Since when did those who use logic become unenlightened? The same goes for civilized and religious.

3. Religious. According to Merriam-Webster (www.m-w.com), religious is:

Main Entry: 1re•li•gious
Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&s
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old French religieus, from Latin religiosus, from religio
Date: 13th century
1 : relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity
2 : of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances
3 a : scrupulously and conscientiously faithful b : FERVENT, ZEALOUS

I acknowledge an ultimate reality of natural laws and evolution. I also believe in a form of a deity that started the evolution process then jumped ship. I am very devoted to these beliefs and I am most certainly faithful to my beliefs.

4. Civilized. Merriam-Webster (again) says that civilized means, "to cause to develop out of a primitive state; especially : to bring to a technically advanced and rationally ordered stage of cultural development". Guess what, we "heathen" Deists believe in evolution, which is the development of a certain thing, again according to MW. Further, Deists believe in a world ordered by natural laws, not a world commanded by a god-like creature. Thusly, man has power of control to advance society and will utilize technology to do that. Finally, by developing technology to have more power over nature, man is able to more fully utilize his mind instead of utilizing physical labor. That is to say a world without God has more rationally ordered stages of being.

It should also be noted that the Bible seems very fearful of technology as technology might possibly be used to spite God. Additionally, where the Bible does use technology, it is as a response to God's wrath. The story of Noah for example forces Noah to develop technology so as to survive the wrath of God represented by the flooding. How is this response to danger civilized? Seems to me that is very primitive.

The // Link //
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Tuesday, July 02, 2002:

What Then is the Difference?
Both Cal and I have offered what we believe in and how we view Deism. A natural question then becomes, well how then does Deism differ from organized religions and beyond that how is Deism not Atheism?

Deism is the belief that the universe can be known through reason and the understanding of natural laws. Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and the rest of the popular religions believe at some point in the knowledge of the universe being revealed to humans. Deists alternatively believe that this revelation is a bunch of nonsense. To Deists, there is no thing capable of revealing anything to man. Man is the highest being and can reason to understand the nature of the universe based on a natural order of the universe. This is why Deism cannot be organized into a church-like setting: no interpreters of something’s word is necessary. Rather Deists gather to discuss what they have proven to be true based on reason.

Unlike Atheism, Deists believe that there is a God. But not a God that controls the universe or predetermines the fate of the universe. Rather, Deism teaches that this God began the evolutionary process and then allowed the universe to determine its own fate. Atheists believe in no ordered evolutionary process and in no natural laws and in no form of God at all. For more read Ayn Rand and Thomas Jefferson - Ayn Rand was an Atheist, and Thomas Jefferson a Deist.

Matthew Edgar // Link //
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Prayer

I got an interesting e-mail sent to me after my post the other day regarding prayer. Now there is a lot to be said about prayer and I’m sure I’ll be saying more on it later, and especially after the many responses I’m sure I’ll get after writing this. FYI, my direct e-mail is
matthew@matthewedgar.net.

The question the reader sent was, “Do Deists pray, if so to who, and what do you think of prayer by other religions?”

Seeming that the objective of prayer is to thank God for something or to ask God for something, Deists would see no reason to pray as God has no power over the operations of the universe. A prayer asking for my daily food would be no different than asking my wall for that same thing, as both could equally provide that daily food.

Because I reject the notion of a universal and controlling God, I think prayer by alternative religions is a waste of time. More than that, I think it is a waste of time even if you accept the beliefs of those religions. Let me explain: Most religions believe that ultimately God is in charge. If God is in charge, what good does praying do? Building on that, if you believe that God is in charge and man is not near as powerful, how is one little prayer going to change God’s mind? Lastly, if god predetermines the fate of the universe what good does prayer do to change God's plan? Now I don’t believe that God controls man or predetermines our fate and this odd logic justifying prayer helps explain why.

Again that e-mail is matthew@matthewedgar.net or leave a comment below under "responses"!

Matthew Edgar // Link //
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Monday, July 01, 2002:

Deism is belief in god without the divine intervention. Rationally certain laws of nature exist that bring an order upon the world. The fact that the world is run under a consistent methodology and set of rules does not necessarily require the existence of god. A belief in God is an idea that explains the origin of the universe. I became a deist as a reaction to the feelings of guilt I received when going to church. A place of worship should not be a place of punishment but somewhere to embrace the goodness of God.

Belief in a god that does not selectively intervene does not mean that deists are nihilists. It is far from the case. It is the greatness of man that I hold as being of prime importance


Cal Ulmann // Link //
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Deism 101
(Introduction to, But Not An Argument for, My Personal Religious Philosophy and a Brief Overview of Deism)


"'I also know,' said Candide, 'that we must cultivate our garden.'

'You're right,' said Pangloss, 'because when man was put in the Garden of Eden, he was put there 'to dress it and to kept it,' that is, to work; which process that man was not born to be idle'."


With those words near the end of Candide, Voltaire's famous short story, my religious faith became clear: man is a self controlled being that must seek out his own destiny; the future is not pre-determined. However, man is not totally free to do as he pleases. Rather, man is subject to natural laws, such as laws of science and laws of fundamental characteristics of various objects. Rocks by nature contain the characteristics of rocks and man by nature contains the characteristics of man.

This does not necessarily mean that I disagree with the Bible. "The Book of Genesis" talks of man's need to cultivate the earth. This much I agree with. I believe that it is a natural law for man to have a desire to work and cultivate their natural resources. Man's natural ability is to work and moreover to think about the work. More than that, man's nature is to think about ways to improve and ease the work by thinking. Unlike a Christian I believe that all this is done by natural laws, not by the will of God.

Furthermore, I believe that some force was ultimately responsible for the beginning of the evolutionary process much like the Bible. The Bible calls this force God. For the sake of argument, I accept that name of that force responsible for the starting of the evolutionary process can be called God. Personally, I accept the more scientific term for this, namely the "Big Bang". Either way, some force began the process of the universe's evolution.

However, this is the point at which I begin to disagree with the Bible. I think that whatever this force was (whether it is called God or the Big Bang) that force has no actual control over the actions in the universe or the functioning of the creatures in the universe beyond its initial control in the starting of evolution. Because this force was highly organized by a series of natural laws, these natural laws guided not only the evolution ignition but also the continuous evolution in the universe. There was a thing called god that started the evolution process or a big bang that started a chain of reactions that started an evolution of the universe, and this thing left natural laws in the wake of the ignition, but that was it. (Yes, I am an evolutionist not a creationist. I believe fundamentally in a quasi-Darwinian form of evolution.)

Those that believe in a controlling force, such as the Christian view of God, believe that fate is predetermined or at least influenced in some way by an omnipotent God. I do not believe that there is such an omnipotent force that controls our actions on this earth. Because of these natural laws and this lack of a controlling and omnipotent force, we must cultivate our own gardens - no controlling and omnipresent force is there to cultivate the gardens for us. This is why Candide is so appealing.

I am a Deist. In short that means that I believe that there is no controlling force exists that predetermines or outright controls our fate. Man is left alone to determine his own fate and the universe is left to evolve by a series of natural laws. With that understood, I will now utilize this blog to prove the various beliefs I have set forth in this post.

Matthew Edgar // Link //
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A blog dedicated to the discussion of alternatives to organized religion.

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