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Author: skepticalseeker

“God” is irrelevant

I’ve been thinking some about how otherwise secular and progressive people redefine the word “God” to mean something other than the traditional meaning. As an atheist, this has irked me a lot. But you know what I’ve decided? “God,” whatever you mean by the term, is irrelevant. I have a  deist friend who comes to the local Atheist Meetup regularly. He likes to say, a bit ironically, that deists are a lot like atheists except that they believe in a god. Very telling I think. I think the idea is that atheists and deists think very much alike, but have come to different conclusions on this particular point. After all, the deist god would have created the universe and then just left it alone to do as it will.  Therefore the atheistic and (modern) deistic universes look exactly alike. The danger of religion comes from the blind adherence to dogma and willingness to do whatever your leader says because he is somehow ‘annointed’ by God. The willingness to set aside one’s own moral reasoning capacity to embrace a ‘divine command’ theory. And the unwillingness to test one’s own beliefs. “Do not test the LORD your God,” right? On the other hand, I think if someone believes in something they call “God” but still uses their own moral reasoning to figure out right and wrong, then their religion is mostly harmless...

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Ashtanga

I went to the beginner Astanga class the day before yesterday. The other option for that time slot was beginning Hatha, and I decided I wanted something a bit more challanging than that. I’m still very sore today. I think I’ll stick with Hatha for...

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Spirituality for the Naturalist

I think words can, and do, change from their original meanings. In fact, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, the word “spirit” was derived from the Latin words for “breath” and “to breath.” Since a person’s spirit was considered to be his or her life, and an easy way to tell if someone is alive is by whether or not they are breathing, it makes perfect sense. The definition of “spirit” as in “the ghost in the machine” was forged in a time when it was assumed that the difference between living and non-living things was that living things contain some sort of supernatural “life force” (see “vitalism“) and non-living things did not. Now we are reasonably sure that this is not the case, and that life is a perfectly natural and material phenomena. (And the line between living and non-living has actually turned out to be rather blurred and not so easily defined.)  So since there is no such thing as the “vital force” that animates living things, does this mean we should therefore throw the concept of “spirituality” out the window? I don’t think so, because even though knowledge and reason tell us that we don’t have “spirit” in any sort of supernatural sense, we still experience the world as if we did. Besides, when people talk of spirit are they not usually talking of the emotional and mental side of the human experience? The private world inside our own...

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