Have read this thread with interest.
Valerie Tarico does a good job in her
'Away Point' blog post, "I Don't Believe in a God - What Should I Call
Myself?" laying out "atheist", "anti-theist",
"agnostic", "skeptic', "freethinker",
"humanist", "pantheist", and "none of the above".
Take your choice. Mix and match. Or reject them all together. The important
thing to do is to find whatever works for you. I Agree.
Norma, you wrote: "Dan, That's some
profound stuff you wrote in the 'Away Point' blogger's text." I assume
(and correct me if I'm wrong) you were referring to the comment by 'dan
master': "After a 30 year search that wound its way from Baptist
Fundamentalism to Charismatic churches to exploring Catholicism with a detour
through eastern religions that led to a new found love for science, reason, and
community, I have labeled myself a humanitarian. I like that "label." Think I'll add that to my "evolving string of labels I've "livingly-adopted" ("Living Labels") see yellow highlighted toward end of my comments (in violet) in this thread (before the "Away Point" blog at end of thread). I have decided that it
doesn’t matter what you claim to believe or dis-believe. The only thing
that does matter is what you do. If you are not working to make your small
corner of the world a more just, compassionate, and healthy place, I have no
time for you or your message." I would summarize this as, "It's what
you do, not what you claim to believe. Act from compassion." I
I blush to admit it but
Norma is referring to me. --Dan S.
Dan, you don't have to "blush" -- it's O. K. to Admit it--you wrote a thought-provoking & worth-reading essay. "The Creator is Worthy of Recognition."
As for the comment by Nobuo Ishiwata, I
would say a few things. He (best I can tell this is a male's name) addressed
"God", humans, consciousness (individual, and collective),
illusion/delusion, and objective reality vs. perception through the senses. And
in response, you commented on scientific theory vs. religious dogma, scientific
theory vs. fact (as regards Evolution), and TOE (Theory of Everything). That's
A LOT! Lemme see if I can concisely address these things...
Nubuo's ideas on consciousness are interesting,
but by their nature are hard to substantiate. Individual consciousness is more
tenable than a "collective consciousness". Certainly humans exhibit
group behavior and influence each other, but is their consciousness
"collective"? The noted psychologist, Carl Jung is known for this inventive term, "The Collective UNconscious." And THAT's an entire thread of its own too--the difference between the Conscious & the UNconscious!" That's an entire thread of its own! Next, he comments:
"The gods are just illusion (delusion) that human’s brains
create." Illusion and delusion should not be conflated. (New word to me--got the meaning from the context.) The former is a
held belief that might be true, no matter how implausible; the latter is a
belief held to be true even when the individual knows it to be false. (Fine--but Important Distinctions -- you have a Talent, Swami, for laying out quite clearly "Fine--But Important Distinctions" . . . thanks for the Education.) He goes
on to say: "everything’s existence – including gods – is
depending on your consciousness i.e. human’s consciousness." I find
this in contradiction to his claim that there is an objective reality. The
human consciousness is just perception, not the objective reality. Finally, he
references TOE. (TOE)--I missed that somehow in reading & RE-reading Ishiwata's blog. First, this is a bit of a misnomer as it is an attempt to
explain (i.e. a scientific theory) the interaction of matter and forces
observed in the physical universe. It does not address consciousness,
metaphysics, mathematics, logic, or any number of other things, hence it is not
a theory of "everything". O. K., Swami, so in your understanding of TOE, it leaves out a lot of important fields of inquiry, which means it's not as comprehensive as Dan (who I believe is the only one who spoke of this (TOE) in his response to Ishiwata's blog) presents.
I think there's been a
mix-up in the above paragraph. I referenced the Theory of Everything, not
Nobuo Ishiwata. (If I had read this first, I wouldn't have written what I did above about not finding it in Ishiwata's writing. I meant it simply as a hoped for explanation of how
everything in our physical universe works and came to be. I also
theorized on the possibility of a universal collective consciousness but
that was meant to be a separate thought. I probably wasn't as clear about
that as I might have been but at the time what I said was addressed only to
Norma, who often seems to have an intuitve understanding of what I'm
getting at. --Dan S.
your comments Norma referred to are not in this thread.
His ORIGINAL comments ARE in the Ishiwata blog. They're in BLUE--the color Dan usually writes in. His follow-up Essay I've just posted tonight with This email. Dan was having technical difficulty trying to post to the OFH Mailing List. That's why I was posting some things for him, as well as my comments to his emails to me that I felt were relevant to the OFH site's purpose. Dan didn't know at the time I did the original posting of his
comments inserted in the Ishiwata blog that they would be read by a wider audience; so at the time, understandably; he probably wasn't thinking he needed to the writing to the level of a "doctoral thesis" to be published in the N. Y. Times (LOL). I've also posted his follow-up essay above from Thursday, October 18,[masked]:27 PM -- so we are all up to date now on the complete sequence thus far.
(Swami, to be kinder to me the reader & other readers to follow; I'm increasing the type size in your further comments here to 12-pt. instead of 10. The 10 is just too hard to read, plus the color of it makes it more difficult. I'm bolding it too -- to match the way you started out in this paragraph: bolded & 12 pt.)
Nubuo also mentioned TOE, and collective consciousness. Oh well, that’s
how this form of communication goes sometimes. That said, I’m still apt
to point out (to whomever) that a TOE is lacking in that it is not a theory of
literally “everything”, nor does it even address where the matter and forces came from, or why. To be sure, I am very interested in
TOEs, but just like to keep them in context. As for a collective consciousness,
sure, it’s “possible”. How about a Jungian "Collective UNconscious?" I’ve just never heard it described
+/or explained in any reasonable way. I’m all ears, thoughJ
Norma, you wrote: "Religion says it's
Absolute (Dogma)--& Science says it's a theory. . . except though in the
case of evolution . . . 'I'm "confused."' I thought it was
still called the 'Theory of Evolution' although scientist-type people--&
many people in the OFH group talk about it as 'fact.'"
Yes, dogma is unchanging, whereas
scientific theory is provisional (subject to change). As for the Theory of
Evolution being a fact, allow me to offer some distinctions in definition.
First, a scientific "theory" and a "fact" are two different
things. A theory is an explanation,
whereas a fact is an observation.
And importantly, a theory does not become a fact - nor does a law, as a
“law” is a description.
So, a theory is based on observed facts and contains supporting laws (as
equations, and word statements). Also, a theory cannot be proved, only
disproved. Its acceptance level is solely passed on its ability to explain and
predict in accordance with observation. “Don’t
mistake the map for territory” - which is to say, the theory
is not the thing, but just a model. So, here’s the distinction: the Theory
of Evolution is not a fact, but that organisms evolve (i.e. change) is a fact.
So, any debate is on the explanation, not the fact. Of course, people can, and
do, differ on definitions and meaning, so it’s good to ask and find out
how they view things.
(My computer insists on italicizing this.) Again; Swami, "Fine--but important distinctions. Thank you for the Education -- gets quite "cerebral, " doesn't it? However, precision IS important & defining definitions to see if we are "on the same page" in our discourse. Sometimes it can feel "brain-draining/boggling" & "hair-splitting" -- [I came FROM that type of Religion--intellectual (AND DOGMATIC) in Theology -- (minored in SDA (Seventh-day Adventist) Religion at the SDA "liberal" arts private college) -- yet humanitarian in the practical world.] -- however; we're talking about BIG things here -- like The THEORY OF EVERYTHING--so it's important to have precision in stating what we think & why.
Our whole world functions on different Theories -- as Humanists/Agnostics/Atheists/Freethinkers/Non-Theists, etc. see it) -- but which are actually Practiced as dogmatic, egocentric religions about "God" ("god"/god) & Cosmology -- certainly seeing that "playing out" in this current Election--which will affect our Daily Lives--so Yes, I agree, "one can't be 'too careful'" in being painstaking about the words we use.
As Marshall McLuhan, the Father of Modern Communications, said: "Meaning is not in Words; It is in People." And no two People are alike. That's why it's vitally important we take time to "plumb the Essences & Depths of our Meanings"as we express them in the words we use -- to question the words themselves. To question is to Not be dogmatic. And to continue to question even our own "answers" or "hypotheses." THAT, as I understand it -- is part of what it means to be a Free Thinker & an Open-Minded Person; Open-Minded Scientist.
I'll have to quibble
about the above (Dan is referring to Swami's comments--not to Young's just posted immediately above in this Response) in that I think dogma does sometimes change but usually it's at
a glacial pace. I Agree. Good imagery. (Again; taking the liberty of changing type size from original 10 in the posting--actually looks like 8 to me & bolding it for readability.) Blacks can now hold high office in the Mormon church
and polygamy is no longer allowed. Those changes were at light speed, for
political reasons. The Catholic church's former position that the Sun and
Moon moved above a fixed Earth might properly be considered dogma, based on
biblical narrative. That one took a few centuries to change, as does most
dogma. When experiment and observation verify a theory it then passes
from being just an idea to being an explanation, as stated above, or at least
that's my understanding. I guess it's true that a theory can never be finally
and for all time proved, only disproved, but we can usually accept it
with a high degree of confidence if it has always worked. (Usually, like gravity--except when you get in Outer Space--as our space explorations verified.) As Einstein
proved, however, that doesn't mean we should stop considering new
possibilities. --Dan S.
Yes, you are correct,
dogma does change, but it’s not supposed to, and it generally doesn’t
do so of its own accord! Agreed. It takes "Pushes" from the Outside World. They "change or die" as they see the outside world changing -- & realize if they don't change, they will "dogmatize themselves" Out of Existence! That's what's happening in part (slowly) with the Catholic Church as they find it more difficult to recruit & keep priests & nuns who will unthinkingly for a lifetime be their "robots." I left the SDA Church right after college graduation as my Consciousness began to change--because I realized "Hell would 'freeze over' before The Church (SDA) would change -- & I didn't have time for THAT!" I had a LIFE to Explore & Lead! -- And Purposes to Fulfill and the Responsibility to Actualize my "Holy"/Wholly (WHOLE) Potential. And this fact essentially maintains the comparison
between religious dogma and science that I intended to express. BTW, an
unsubstantiated theory is technically a “hypothesis”. Agreed. And again, a
theory is accepted to the extent that it explains and predicts in accordance
with observation (and experimentation, which is an observation of sorts). Yes, experimentation DOES require observation--in order to know what to do "Next" IN the experiment--whether it be in a human-created laboratory -- or in the "Laboratory of Life. . . which is partially human-created." And
it is true that Einstein provided a better explanation, but
Newton ’s is still valid across a wide
range of conditions and is still used in engineering. --Swami
Finally, regarding the original question
of this thread: as for myself, I self-identify primarily as a (secular) --
[I've been wanting to ASK this for a long time--ever since I joined the OFH & saw the term being used. Every word (or
most) have their opposites. To say "secular" implies there's "such a thing/category" as "sacred" humanist. What IS a "sacred" humanist? And for that matter, tell me first, please, what a "secular" humanist IS. To distinguish "secular, " one has to accept the existence of the Opposite. But I've experienced in the OFH group that the word "sacred" is anathema. In the world I came FROM, "sacred" & "secular" were RIGIDLY separated. So much so, that I wasn't allowed to go swimming on Sabbath (The Lord's Day)--because that was "doing 'one's own pleasure" -- which was considered "secular."
One of the reasons I left the SDA Church: too MUCH separation between "sacred" & secular." Goes back partly, I think to
Plato's & Socrate's days of dualism (still WITH us) of making "heaven" "Good" & "earth" "Bad." Part of the origin of Sexism, I think (& holistic health writings began to educate me) as people, through church teachings connected women more and more with "earthly" & men more & more with "heavenly."
The BODY was denigrated (a condition that still exists worldwide) & the mind exalted in the aestic philosophy. The "Hereafter" was what was important--an attitude that's been responsible for a lot of the justification for "trashing the earth" -- because "This World is Not My Home--I'm just a passin' through" like the hymn goes I was taught in church.
I think NOW--& have for some decades-- that there should BE No Distinction between sacred and secular. It's ALL GOOD! -- The Mind AND the BODY. We are/should be WHOLE human beings --not separated into 2 halves. The "mind-body split" is what has caused a lot of damage to human beings AND civilization.]
-- humanist (because it represents a positive lifestance/worldview, and involves
principles I identify with that inform my behavior). As for “God(s)”,
I’m and agnostic atheist: I don’t believe in a God(s) (to
the extent that I have evidence), but I don’t claim to know
whether or not God(s) exist (in fact, I lean toward this being not knowable).
So, I’m a secular humanist, agnostic atheist, (A "mouthful" but/and precisely, fully claimed and defined. Good for you. I have a "string" of names to describe myself too. Latest is "Eclectic; Free Thinker; Humanitarian; Agnostic; Evolving-Truth Traveler; Dancing Nudist-Naturist." but I just present myself
as a compassionate fellow human and let the rest fall out as I interact with
people. I aspire/strive to be compassionate--both to myself & others at all times however many times "fall short of "the mark." I would also amend your "presentation" for myself to say "Sister" human. I don't "buy" "fellow" meaning BOTH men and women. Is "subsuming" terminology. Sexist. Same with "guys" used in current vernacular to refer to BOTH males & females collectively. Again, dangerous, subsuming terminology. Subsuming terminology is what was used from the time the Declaration of Independence & the U. S. Constitution were written to keep women from voting -- until 1920 -- & continually -- even now -- from FULL PERSONHOOD in these "United" States of America. Those documents said "Men"--& they MEANT MEN ONLY -- NOT Women TOO!
We want specificity when we want to use the restroom & it's best we have specificity otherwise. If we want to refer to BOTH genders at once, we can say, "folks," or "people" or "humans," etc. Someone needs to Invent a term that would mean Both genders when people want to "speak shorthand & refer to both genders in the room -- say instead of saying "guys & gals," one could say "goyles" (pronounced with the kind of Bronx? accent Horschack used in "Welcome Back, Kotter"). I just NOW thought of this--maybe it'll "catch on like "Ms." to refer to any woman -- without revealing her marital status -- as "Mr." does (not reveal his marital status).
O. K., there My "2 cents" too -- plus a few more:)
"Rainbow Gal" Norma Jeane Young
OK, there’s my 2 cents, plus a few
Forwarded Message -----
From: Mary <[address removed]>
To: 'Norma Young' <[address removed]>
Sent: Friday, October 12,[masked]:35 AM
Subject: RE: Dan's Response: Fw: I
Don't Believe in a God - What Should I Call Myself?
Not a far stretch….things
must have happened before there were eyes!
From: Norma Young [mailto:[address removed]]
Sent: Friday, October 12,[masked]:35 AM
To: undisclosed recipients:
Subject: Dan's Response: Fw: I
Don’t Believe in a God – What Should I Call Myself?
Wow! Dan, That's some profound stuff you wrote in the
"Away Point" blogger's text. I could barely understand
it. I hadn't heard of "TOE" before. An all-inclusive
theory--that would be "Something." The religionists call that
God. But "they" don't say it's a "theory."
"They" say it's an Absolute. That's where Science & Religion
part company. Religion says it's Absolute (Dogma)--& Science says
it's a theory. . . except though in the case of evolution . . . "I'm
'confused.'" I thought it was still called the "Theory of
Evolution" although scientist-type people--& many people in the OFH
group talk about it as "fact."
Forwarded Message -----
From: Dan <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, October 10,[masked]:51 PM
Subject: Re: I Don’t Believe
in a God – What Should I Call Myself?
I "got into it" a little bit. Scroll down to see my
thoughts. I'm off now to a quick dinner and then back to volumes of
e-mail. --Dan : - )
From: Sent: Wed, Oct 10,[masked]:23 pm
Subject: Re: I Don’t Believe in a God – What Should I Call Myself?
I know, Dan. I realized that too. I was going to NOT
forward it to anyone; however so much of what he said was original &
profound & I decided to overlook his less-than-perfect English; I thought
anyone genuinely interested in the subject would see his name & think what
I did. The subject matter, I felt was important enough -- & his ideas
sincere & innovative--that I wanted to give his voice "more exposure."
I have posted some things on this website in the past about "labels"
-- & I've wrestled with that question too. Right now,
Freethinker/Agnostic works best for me. I like the word "free"
& Agnostic is a pretty comprehensive umbrella -- that appeals to my desire
to be non-dogmatic--since I came from such a dogmatic religion--Seventh-day
can't "get into" this one. Nobuo Ishiwata is obviously not
writing in his native tongue. --Dan
From: Norma To: undisclosed recipients: ;
Sent: Wed, Oct 10,[masked]:25 am
Subject: I Don’t Believe in a God – What Should I Call Myself?
Forwarded Message -----
From: Away Point <[address removed]>
To:Sent: Tuesday, October 9,[masked]:29 PM
Subject: [New comment] I
Don’t Believe in a God – What Should I Call Myself?
Ishiwata commented: "The almost religion claims gods created the world
(the universe) and the human. Then naturally you could have next question.
“Who created God (gods)?” Some answer might be: god of gods, God
anyway has existed and so on. However, there’s nothing expl"
Respond to this comment by replying above this line
in response to Valerie
Note: Este articulo es
disponible en español aquí. Catholic, Born-Again, Reformed, Jew,
Muslim, Shiite, Sunni, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist . . . . Religions
give people labels. The downside can be tribalism, an assumption that
insiders are better than outsiders, that they merit more compassion,
integrity and generosity or even that violence toward
“infidels” is acceptable. [...]
The almost religion claims gods created the world (the
universe) and the human. Then naturally you could have next question.
“Who created God (gods)?” Some answer might be: god of
gods, God anyway has existed and so on. However, there’s
nothing explanations to convince me so far. First, I have to
understand how we recognize ourselves (our existence) because who
recognizes such gods are exactly we – the human. You might know
Descartes’ statement: “Codito ergo sum (I think,
therefore I am). So we have ability to recognize not only ourselves
but others, animals, plants, the world, the universe and even gods.
Our brains can recognize such things by using the senses. But these
human’s ‘sensors’ maybe limited to recognize our
‘true world’, in fact, our eyes can’t see infrared
and our ears can’t catch ultrasonic wave. This means that we
cannot verify aspects of our ‘true world (everything)’
due to a lack of suitable human’s ‘sensor’ You can
feel existence of your solid body and everything through only your
perceptions like a sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, balance,
pain, time and others. And eventually, your consciousness recognizes
them. That is to say everything’s existence – including
gods – is depending on your consciousness i.e. human’s
consciousness. Therefore I can say that the world and everything ware
created by the human consciousness, there were not created by the
gods as the religions claim.Although I
have often conjectured on the possibility of a universal
consciousness consisting of a "networked" amalgam of all
intelligences' everywhere (kind of like the Star War's
"The Force") the probability as I understand it, remains that
a tree really does fall even if no intelligence observes it. In a certain sense
"nothing" may be "something," from which all
existence came/is. In this case we observe the universe as best
we can but it still exists without being observed. That's
counter to Quantum physics and I know work is being done to try to
unify Quantum physics (micro) and Relativity physics (macro)
into a TOE (Theory of Everything). So far, under Relativity, I
believe, things happen even if not observed. I guess we'll just
have to wait and (maybe) see.The gods
are just illusion (delusion) that human’s brains create.
Besides, I can point out that heaven, hell, devils and angels are delusions
also. In fact, I have to say ‘crowded human’s
consciousness or ‘crowded consciousness of all organisms with
intelligence’ because the world and everything’s
existence aren’t composed of individual consciousness.
Multi-consciousness influences each other to realize our real world.
If there would be someone has a special sense that the human
doesn’t have, could see such ‘true world’ above and
if he observe, our real world would be like a Virtual Reality.
However, maybe I should quote some scientific evidence or theory
about my argument above to convince you. Actually there’s
information, which reveals on the crowded human’s consciousness
– ‘Network of the soul’ on ‘life after
death’ of the human. If you have interest about that
information, you might get it, searching the internet. Moreover you
might need to think of the quantum mechanics also for imaging the
mention above as scientific evidence.