Andrea responds to Does God Exist?
Gentlemen, eloquent speech on both your parts, but the argument is one that can never be completed or otherwise dispatched to even the simplest common ground between you - why? Simple. You are arguing conviction.
How often do I see debate over Godís existence or lack thereof end up in an opinion-fest between the several parties involved. Religion and all its summary parts tend to be based upon theory anyway, that is a basic tenant of how they are derived from the outset. That being the case, someone other than the believer will always find another way to view it.
However, what if a few facts could be brought to light? What if things we had yet to understand about items left for us from the past became more the issue? What if we actually took the time to trace the beginnings of the most well seated religion in the western world-- that being Christianity-- and were to follow it down to see where and how it started and why? Would that make a difference? Or would we still need to cling to our opinions turning a blind eye to new data?
Letís back up a step and look at this entire debate a bit differently and see if any comment will be forthcoming from either of you.
By the way, I just want to note here that I have read Lizards comments before at his personal web site and am somewhat acquainted with his style and his proudly documented point of view. Walter Lee is new to me, so I am taking what I read here in the Spectacle as an example of his position.
The bible is, for many people, a book that is mystical, magickal (if I may use that term loosely when referring to the bible), and full of profound wisdom that must be deciphered by its priesthood to be understood, then fed back out to the flock to put into application. It is a book for thousands, in fact, millions that sets up a standard whereby they can live their lives and seek redemption for misdeeds to achieve the reward offered in its pages to those who live a "good" life.
What was before the bible? What was before this god of the bible? These questions do not even enter the minds of those debating over the existence of god because the work done by the priesthood of the bible did their work exceptionally well. The idea that there is no god is not a novel one, many have stood and proclaimed that and had their heads lopped off for it eons before those who say it now ever thought about the idea.
To argue whether there is a god or nay, the debaters have ALREADY missed the point. The argument itself is like debating which laundry detergent is best to put in your clothes the one without the chlorine bleach or the one with the chlorine bleach; itís a moot point.
The one arguing for the existence of god is convinced there is a god because of his or her own personal experience. The one arguing there isnít a god is doing so because they cannot find a personal experience that could be defined the same way the other defines an experience and call that "god". Both are presuming the argument itself has meaning, when it doesnít. In other words both are saying the argument about the existence of god is the issue when it is actually nowhere near the issue. The argument is not whether there is a god or nay, the argument that has any meaning at all, is why do we, as beings, feel the need for such things outside of ourselves and what went on during our evolution (mentally and psychically speaking) that required such a thing.
It has been said that history is written by the conquerors of the world. In the past thirty five hundred years that is most assuredly the case. The religion of the society is also defined by the conquering tribe, nation, king whatever the case might be, and the religion is always meted out by that conquering nation in their own favor. A wonderful quote by Mark Twain, "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." That has been the case in our world for about 3 millennia and is still the case today.
In this modern society, I would venture to say that most of the people in the United States (targeting one nation on the planet) could not fathom a world without toilets or microwaves or grocery stores. Those things which we simply take as a granted in our world, those things which equal comfort to us, have also caused us to become so detached from our past that we couldnít possibly begin to understand the mindset of our ancestors unless we changed our point of view drastically. It would require divesting oneself of the modern eye long enough to see a world that was far different from this one. To try to feel as they did, see the sunset the way they did, to look at the stars above the way they did. Our ancestors though there were human and the beginnings of this species, which we call "human", were very different from us. So much so that they could be considered a different genus altogether based solely on the psychic differences in the evolutionary process, their "sense of the self" and how that related to the outside world in which they lived.
We think we have come so far in our world today. Our use of technology is deplorable, but the fact we figured a few things out makes us feel as if we have something on the ball. We project everything of value outside ourselves and call it progress. We detach ourselves from spirit, from feeling, from the earth, from self-realization and loose sight of the most important things we are. That my friends, is what patriarchy has brought us, a tree with no roots, a sky god with no connected to earth, to nature, to us. A male deity that cannot bear life, that is disconnected from life, is some substance so unlike us that he is now unreachable and we must sacrifice ourselves into his service to gain his favor.
His power elite priesthood, the ones who breathed the breath of life into him must now rewrite natural cause and effect to keep their hold on their power base, which came through heinous acts of violence to gain. They wrote a myth wherein a male god draws a rib (another word for womb by the way) out of the man and disgrace the most beautiful process there is, a woman bearing a child. They had to give this new male god the same qualities that had existed in the Goddess for millennia to show he is somehow capable of what the Goddess did for eons before his rise to power.
Twenty thousand years ago in the modern day country of Turkey there are two cities that have been unearthed, Catal Huyuk and Hacilar. These two cities have provided a wealth of information in the five tells that have, so far, been exposed about the culture that dwelt there for, at the very least, 5,000 years. There were aqueducts, wooden staircases, indoor plumbing and burnished walls in their houses, and ovens that burned hot enough to smelt metals.
The people who lived there were matrilineal and peaceful. Their divine was perceived and worshipped as feminine and there is not a single depiction in the 150 well preserved archeological artifacts that illustrates war.
On that note, I might also point out to Walter Lee, that the human mouth does not show carnivorous eating patterns it is more akin to the cow with flat teeth that are not for the purpose of tearing flesh but rather for the mastication of dense materials like grains and fibers. Our intestinal tracts are also 36 feet in length which is the intestinal tract of a herbivore and/or vegetarian by nature. Animals who are carnivorous have intestinal tracts of less than seven feet to facilitate the quick absorption of flesh before it rots in their systems. Possibly a total misunderstanding on your part sir?
If Father God religions are reactionary and anti-evolutionary, the reason is simple: They are built in reaction to the original Goddess religion, which dominated human thought and feeling for at least 3000,000 years. By contrast, God has been conceptualized as a complete male for only about three to four thousand years. For this reason, patriarchal religions must begin by denying evolution; for, if that long stretch of human growth time was acknowledged, it would have to be credited as the evolutionarily creative time of the Great Mother. To avoid this the Father Gods just somehow appear, as it were, by spontaneous generation, and human life just suddenly appears with them, fully formed, sprung arbitrarily from the forehead of the He-God, sometime around 2000 BC.
Yahweh, like all male gods, was first the bisexual Goddess herself, then her son, then the lover of the Goddess (a shepherd-king). In his process of individuation from the Goddess, he first appeared alongside her, as "in the time of Jeroboam, the Goddess shared the temple with Jehovah". Eventually, his priest and warrior followers turned him into the supreme and only God. To enforce this new regime, the old Goddess religion was damned, her people slaughtered, and the (mostly stolen) mythology of the new male God was written down by the male prophets (a word that also meant "poet"), and thus given textual authority as the word of God. *[The Great Cosmic Mother, Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth] God or the divine or any other name we use in our society for "godness" is really an attempt to define what we have failed to understand about archetypal energy. The reason we have yet to understand it is because our psychic development was eclipsed about four thousand years ago by the rise of patriarchy. We have been stuck for about four thousand years as a species, hanging in the balance, struggling with our view of ourselves with the world around us, and with what we are truly capable of and least but not last, our fears.
Every continent upon this planet, bar none, began with the humans on them perceiving god as feminine in its beginning stages-- The Great Mother--and that was so for 300,000 years. Thirty five hundred years of patriarchal male god rule is adolescent comparatively. Yet the reality of those cultures that have preceded patriarchy are not taught in our schools, colleges or universities unless people like Marija Gimbutas, Robert Graves, Monica Sjoo, Barbara Mor, Riane Eisler, Merlin Stone, stand up and proclaim their hard earned findings to the world. Even then, the average person on the street will never hear a word of it. Television, radio, major communications channels will carry little to nothing of those findings because they do not fit into the paradigm of a world starving itself on its own vomit and laziness because it is easier to rake those millions over the proverbial marketing coals. People are like sheep going to the slaughter because they have no knowledge.
Archetypal energy can be proven. It does exist and it does effect our lives-- daily - hourly. The presence of a divine energy called "god" is there, but where is there? There is within us all, not outside. The argument of whether there is a god or nay is a useless debate when that which is god is us and has been all along. The need for some to express that outside of themselves has only created a gap in communication and mis-understanding for them as individuals, for the world as a whole for centuries.
Further, the yearning to hold to traditional religious needs, due to our eclipsed psychic evolution as a species, has fostered the ability to create priestly castes that benefit far more than the people they serve (said sarcastically). I am not saying that all shepherds have raped their flocks, but the scales would tip precariously to the side that they have more so than not.
Walter Lee brought up the name of one of the revered "fathers" of the church in past ages, Thomas Aquinas. I am going to place here a quote from his writings, "Further, the husband is bound to correct his wife. But correction is given by inflicting a just punishment. Since then the just punishment of adultery is death, because it is a capital sin, it would seem lawful for a husband to kill his adulterous wife. Further, it is a more grievous sin to kill one's mother than one's wife, for it is never lawful to strike one's mother, whereas it is sometimes lawful to strike one's wife. But matricide is not an impediment to marriage. Neither therefore is wife-murder."
Those are the words of one of the most revered and respected church "fathers" of our time. I could go on, but I think my point is made.
The idea that god is arguable to "his" existence (step one) is moot because a male god IS the creation of a ruling elite priesthood backed by swords and bloody violence to maintain it. The idea that god as an individual somewhere out there in the ether, (step two) is further a moot point, when divinity has and always will be within us. What we, as a society, as human beings have suffered because of our disconnection from that truth is appalling. What prejudice has been given breath because of religion is lamentable. What women have suffered at the hands of misogynistic church fathers that saw fit to burn them at the stake for over three hundred years simply for being women is nearly inconceivable at best. And what we as individuals have lost because we willingly, unwittingly give our personal power away because of fear of reprimand from on high to something that is little more than illusory is the greatest wretchedness.
We must evolve as a society or we will die. My personal opinion (and I state it is an opinion), is that we will find our way. I feel strongly on that point, because there are people waking up from a long and delirious sleep to find it. While Mr. Lizard has what I perceive to be a very mordant outlook on life in general, which to my mind would be a lackluster way to live, I still think he has hit on some profound and direct ways to express his ideas. Walter Lee, to you I would say, give some thought to those "experiences" that you have had, which you call "god", as having been generated by a multi-faceted, extremely intelligent machine, the likes of which manís technology could only hope to copy its most shallow finer points: you.
"The first clergyman was the first sly rogue who encountered the first fool." - Voltaire