What Happens When Atheists Pray?

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A lot of people seem to think that, by believing in the myths of a religion, they will acquire some sort of privilege above all other people—they can become those chosen by their god to impose his will on the world around them. In return for their dedication, they expect some kind of payoff—a manifold return on their investment. So they pray for what they want. Sometimes they get it. More often they don’t. From this many conclude there is no god. Of course they would be more accurate to conclude that there is no god that fits their image of deity or, if there is, he’s not inclined to give them what they want. At least not just because they want it. And, in the final analysis, if  your god won’t give you what you want, what good is he?

But stop and look at this the other way around. Suppose you were a genuine omni-cubed god, how would anybody know you were around unless there were places and times you weren’t around? But you can’t ever not be around if you are omni-cubed. And how could one ever expect that such a deity would be directed by the personal wishes of one person among the vast number populating the universe? So let’s start by accepting that, if a prayer is going to be answered in a personal way, the answer won’t come from the omni-cubed god, if he exists.

Many people think that, if they only believe in god, then he will exist and solve their problems for them. That is mere magical thinking. Suppose, however, a believer comes to know the existence of god and understand a part of his very nature. Such a knower, self-aware of the power and limitations of divine action in the finite realm, will not seek the unattainable. A knower is aware of how to act efficiently in context to foster destiny and how to accept the enhanced understanding of reality that comes from analysis of each adventure.

Put another way, anything you would get from divine reality must be in accordance with the divine will. It must also be a bonus that can be delivered through the higher functions of mind, emotion, motivation, and experience. Even the Bible says that King Solomon prayed for wisdom and was also the wisest of all kings of the Hebrews. If the human mind indeed contains a spiritual connection through which the more positive attractors of behavior can be illuminated and strengthened, this is surely the domain in which the correct attitude of receptiveness to concepts that will fill a cavern of desire can be translated directly into enlightenment.

But what of the atheist, the person who cannot or will not believe in a personal “god”? And here we come to a basic paradox in the human limited concept of spiritual faith. Just as the individual “names of god” have no meaning in and of themselves, so the individual “beliefs in god” are also meaningless. An atheist who needs and knows that he wants a shot of wisdom is going to get it from somewhere. And it makes little difference whether we believe or science shows us it is from some otherwise imperceptible level of divinity or from the associative capabilities of the human mind. And if it comes from that mind, it does not matter whether it emerges from the physical architecture of the brain or from some inherited or learned cognitive process.

In the final analysis, what happens in life that matters is defined by the satisfaction of basic drives, be they human or divine, to make life better for ourselves and the generations that come after us. And that is a high destiny that all may share, regardless of their imagined or real relationship to some undefined “higher power.”

To truly know what you need is to possess it. And that is the key to true creativity. And that is real magic.

—Dan Massey

Where Did All This F*cking Evil Sh%t Come From?

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También en español It is undeniable that there is often a lot of pain and suffering in a human lifetime. While individual experiences vary widely, over the course of a lifetime most people will experience instances when they are confronted with the reality of an apparently genuine evil. And this inevitably starts the discussion, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this? If God loves me, why is he doing this to me? How can we love a God that would let something like this happen to anybody (not just me)? I refuse to accept the religious proposition that there is a God because I see only evidence of universal randomness, filled with constant strife between good and evil partisans! And even if there were one single personal God of the universe, he’d be way too busy to pay attention to the crap going on down here.”

But there are fundamental assumptions in this line of questioning that often go unappreciated. First and foremost are the implied assumptions about the nature of God. If one assumes that the God referenced is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent throughout time and space, then why isn’t the universe perfect? Surely a universe under the total control of a God of Love would never tolerate the amount of human misery and grief that surrounds us on all sides. Therefore, since the observed world does not match my prediction of what the world would be like if there were an omni-cube God, either such a God does not exist or my predictive method about what the world should be like is wrong. Sounds bad for my predictive methods—what man dare attempt to compass the purpose of God? Well, men have minds that, if you are God-oriented, are surely gifts of God. And my mind tells me that simplistic faith contrary to reason is most definitely NOT what any God I could personally respect would ever require of me. Therefore, if I believe the workings in my mind are True, I must perforce reject the concept of the omni-cube God. There simply is no such deity active anywhere I’ve been in the universe because his existence is refuted by the reality of my own experience.

And from this line of reasoning flows the faith of many devout atheists. It’s not so much that they reject the general idea of some sort of Supreme Being, but they can’t figure out what it would be good for because it doesn’t seem to even try to put things right in the world around us. If it’s out there, we obviously mean nothing more to it than an ant does to the automobile that ran over it in the road. Let’s try looking at this situation from a very different and more hopeful viewpoint.

Suppose that the universe is destined to be a perfect place of light and life—a universe of continuous unbridled joy in loving service, living truth, doing good, and making beauty. By our actions, our relationships, we are building small parts of this great universe of constructed perfection. But the perfect universe is not here today. Only portions are in evidence—the areas where love predominates over the primal emptiness of original space-time—where evil is merely the region into which love has yet to penetrate. Evil is not itself a reality. Rather, it is the absence of meaningful reality.

So evil is not something inflicted on us by an angry God, who abandons us to the vacuum of space-time devoid of Love. Rather, evil is the state of being where there is a weakened or nonexistent presence of Love. Since we are the creatures in the universe who are equipped with the ability to sense the presence or absence of Love, and with the tools of Truth guided reason that enable our will to effectively direct our loving actions, it is necessarily our responsibility to fill the gaps in finite reality where Love does not adequately penetrate.

The response of the finite universe to the force of destiny, the necessity of evolution towards a perfect state of light and life, requires the participation of many beings working together and dedicated to the ideals of Love, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

If you see evil in the world and have sufficient resources of Love, you can make the repair yourself. Our planet seems to have been shortchanged on loving service in the past, so we have a lot of gaps in our Love coverage. Many of these will require the cooperation of many people of goodwill, even entire communities and nations, to bridge vast gaps of lost communication and long misunderstanding.

So let’s get with it. Is there evil in the world? Then let’s work together in Unity to Love it out of existence. It’s our job to do this and this is how destiny is realized. Fear not to act. With Love and Truth you can only do Good and make Beauty.

—Dan Massey


Can Atheism be True, Good, Beautiful, and Loving?

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Of course it can. But first you have to sort out all the funny things about atheism. For example, there are as many varieties of self-proclaimed “atheism” and/or “agnosticism” as there are varieties of any other dogmatic religion.  Certainly atheism deserves to be considered and recognized as a religion in most of its varieties. Only a solipsistic denier of the sensory world could be considered a fully developed atheist, and that state is hardly viable for life.

Ludwig Feuerbach—Anthropologist of Human Religions

One of the problems atheists have is that they associate religion with belief in deity; they recognize that human religions define deity according to their own fantasies based on silly myths and seek to indoctrinate that concept into their communicants. On the other hand, few would have considered that this is a mentally disordered and invalid way of approaching the motivation of human behavior and is the prime cause of the failure of human society on this planet.

A superior approach for deistic religions would be to begin with a unified acceptance of deity, set aside the varied approaches people take to the subject, and work together to realize shared purposes. Such a concept of religion is not at all satisfied by what people claim to believe, but by what they DO with their time and their lives. Anyone who lives according to their highest ideals of truth, beauty, and goodness, is living a life dedicated to love, regardless of how they may name the intellectual belief system they declare publicly.

No evolved deistic human religion can afford to adopt this position, because it would nullify the vast quantity of delusional concepts to which they are committed. Rather, they persist in propagating silly mythologies, insane homilectics, and delusional hermeneutics. This program of false teaching sustains the interest of the thoughtless in supporting a socially, economically, and politically abusive organization. And the unmitigated and unworthy power thus created is then deployed to sustain this collective disorder of human thought by the illegitimate use of force—always psychological and often physical.

By comparison, full recognition of the supreme realities of un-fantasized human existence in a friendly cosmos is easily available to the intelligent atheist of good will.

There are many self-proclaimed atheist/agnostics who live lives of extraordinary service to their fellow humans while denying the existence of G-O-D. I do not believe in G-O-D. I have an inner belief system, but when I try to explain it to others, the word G-O-D is inadequate and misleading because that word carries entirely different connotations to another person. We cannot achieve better communication about transcendent ideals as long as our conversation is limited to such an overloaded symbol.

I consider myself to be a person of faith, but my faith is in the supreme values of existence—truth, beauty, goodness, and love—not in some mythical ultra-father who is presumed to be functionally omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent within the perceptible universe of time and space. My religion, if it may be called such, is living truth, doing good, and making beauty, all in the service of becoming love. This perspective vitiates all imaginary forms of human religion. One may hold mythic tenets for a time without conflict; however, as one grows in living truth, the ancient and static ideals of the legacy of human religious mythology are finally eclipsed by a transcendent personal experience of a supremely coordinated life experience.

At the same time, we see around us the most outspoken defenders of the most regressive forms of human religion claiming a mantle of moral authority that has no relevance to real life OR real people. No amount of proclaiming “the word of god” contributes to individual growth, and missionary impulses inevitably backfire on the person and organization pushing them. Such actions are the most basic way religionists (people who believe in the value of religion without understanding the idea and ideal of a life based on faith) actually “take the name of their god in vain,” for they place their opinions ahead of the inner moral judgment of others. This hideous practice of interpersonal mental bullying and abuse is most hateful when it emerges between parents/adults and children/youth, but we see it supported by the supposed three pillars of human society—religion, government, and commerce—all of which fail the test of true relevance to the human condition and continue to exist because of their unconsidered and systematic willingness to commit crimes against Love.

As the saying goes, the Religious Right is neither. They suffer from disorders of thinking that result from their willful disregard for Truth, which causes them to fail to do Good and to make Beauty. In sum total, they reject the bounty of Love across time in which they may grow towards divine perfection. Like Lot’s wife of myth, they look only backwards and are doomed by their immersion in fateful decay. Such people are true atheists who live by enacting the false tenets of their faith in the material world while rejecting the voice of inspiration. Such people can never love nor live the truth. They are already dead to everything that is important and have deliberately severed their mental connection to reality.

Atheists that affirm the supreme ideals of living

So how about it? If the most highly publicized religious behavior can be so malign and unworthy of the name, is it possible that there is a quiet atheism that seeks only to become Love, by living Truth, doing Good, and making Beauty? And cannot such atheism be that perfect model of living to which human religions aspire, but universally fail to even attempt? Cannot such secular humanism be seen to express values of Love and doing Good to others? And is not the inner person that guides this behavior more worthy than the fanatical materialistic religionist? For they know that Love is to be given, not taken; that Truth is to be lived, not spoken; that Goodness is to be given freely, not contracted; and that Beauty is to be made, not owned.

So my answer to the question, “Can Atheism be True, Good, Beautiful, and Loving?” is “Absolutely yes.” Nothing necessitates that an atheist exhibit these qualities; however, most atheists are people of goodwill, and that is the true foundation of relevant and progressive faith, which may be easier for atheists since their ideas of history and context have not been corrupted by religious mythology. And this is the legacy of backwards-looking religions, to twist the direction and action of human faith to serve the dead hand of history and tradition. Such chains of mythic belief must fall from the minds of all people of faith, enabling them to unite in advancing human development in fulfillment of our glorious personal and planetary destiny.

—Dan Massey



Do You Believe in Fate? I Believe in Destiny!

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También en Español You may have noted that we never speak of “fate” and are constantly speaking of “destiny.” This is a very important distinction in our understanding of how the world actually works. As you become more familiar with the concept of destiny, as we use the word here at, you will see how it assists understanding of the nature of progressive change, as well as providing a positive vision of the future.

The Three Fates of Antiquity

Many people hold a viewpoint they consider “rational” or “causal.” They say that what happens next is directly determined by what was just happening and what’s going on right now, so that effects follow from causes in a linear positive direction in time. They claim that, although the future is not accurately predictable, it is nonetheless causally determined. Although they understand and admit the impossibility of accurately determining the state of the present with sufficient precision to accurately predict the future, they still cling to the irrational belief that, if they could do so, they would be able to predict the future accurately.

From this viewpoint, human life has no purpose other than the fulfillment of causation, causation in which human beings are able to participate to some degree to obtain desired physical results. People who adopt this viewpoint see the achievement of a desired result as the culmination of a series of actions, which, taken together, collectively cause the result. Thus, to achieve a desired result, we decompose the result into elements for which an achievable cause can be found. Such an approach is called “analytic” because it depends on the analysis of the structure of the desired outcome and the network of causes that (hopefully) will produce it. Such thinking is also called “reductionist.”

There is another, fully rational way of understanding how things will work. This approach considers the destined end state to be linked to current events by a “force of destiny,” a force that appears to carry pattern backwards through time, imposing it on the past, in order that destiny may be fulfilled. In effect, destiny is a future universe state and the force of destiny is causation expressed outside the range of knowable causes for the observer embedded in time. The necessity of a terminal event shapes unmeasured parameters to obligate all possibilities to a stable outcome, regardless of the factual event. Such force does not override time-forward causation. Rather it shapes and limits the actual active form of the experienced causation. The force of destiny obligates operative causes that are intrinsically unknowable because they are literally (relativistically) unobservable, lying beyond the range of immediately available information.

Most people who are aware of the rigor of so-called “mathematical logic” think of formal geometric proofs, analytic geometric proofs, and simple if-then-else inference logic. Otherwise apparently informed people seem quite unaware of the entire domain of “modal logic,” which provides mechanisms for formal reasoning about possibility vs. necessity and other complementary qualities of being. Such logic provides rigor to certain absolute concepts extending far beyond classical “truth values” of logical statements.

Destined Emergence of Universe Structure

Just as the concept of fate is well modeled by the logical pressure of sequential material implication, the concept of destiny is well modeled by teleological tension within a chain of necessities, which can require the totality of space and time (including domains beyond any possibility of immediate observation) to bring into existence possibilities unpredictable and unknowable from the historic record, no matter how complete. And it is the unification of two patterns in the present that defines us. One pattern flows forward in time from the past, changing to incorporate caused events. The other pattern flows backwards in time from the future, requiring certain qualities to be present in the temporal present.

The manner in which destiny emerges is “synthesis,” a complementary term to analysis. Observable present is the intersection of the possibilities emerging from causation with the necessities that synthesize the force of destiny. In time the universe progresses from an initial state to a final state, attaining destiny through the accumulation of causes. The causes that matter are the ones that recognize free will decisions by individual personalities. And the domain and range of such decisive causes necessarily link up to achieve the fulfillment of destiny.

This means that human free will is a reality with at least one bit of information content—either to do the right thing or to do anything else. But this also means that, no matter what the decisions of any collection of actors, nevertheless, destiny will be attained; therefore, since causation is preserved, the timelines of the universe appear continuous viewed from either direction.

To summarize:

  • Destiny is as real as history and gives purpose to existence
  • Destiny is more important, flexible, and significant than history because it is achieved through personal choice
  • Aggregated personal free will cannot violate either causation or inevitability

Humanity progresses by reaping the results of its actions; however, the productivity and value of those results is assured by adherence to the force of destiny.

–Dan Massey