Richard Dawkins

I don't think he needs a description :)

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Comment by Aaron B. on December 29, 2010 at 4:04pm
Richard is a man who is never afraid to speak his mind, and I love that.
Comment by Paula T. on December 24, 2010 at 10:43pm
Wonderful to read, in spite of the passing of Mr. Dawkins. I had not heard about this. Thank you for sharing, Keely.
Comment by Joan Denoo on December 5, 2010 at 5:34pm
Craig, I like your statement, "Most of us don't say we're sure God doesn't exist. The concept of God is simply a failed hypothesis ..." Atheism started for me when our minister preached a sermon on obedience; how we are called to obey god, how wives are to submit to husbands, how the hierarchy was in place and no intelligence or action freed me from my obligation to obey.

I made an appointment with my paster and asked how are we to know if we obey the "actual" god, or if our husbands are worthy of obedience when they are thugs, brutes, and dominators? He gave me a long lecture on the meanings of obedience and the following Sunday preached another sermon on obedience. It was the first week of advent; we said the Apostles Creed as we did every Sunday:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.

I believed none of it. I left immediately, in the middle of the sermon, and never went back.

The preaching and teaching of the church was to look outward, to some external force, to some ... thing ... outside myself. So I thought about the equipment with which I was born: my senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, feel and a longing to be. Just to be. Not be better, or more obedient, or more submissive, but to be.

Paying attention to my senses, to the yearnings of my being, my experiences opened to a much larger field and one more satisfying. I exist, I am, I can use all my senses to do that which needs to be done to sustain myself physically, mentally and spiritually. I belong to communities of family, friends, neighbors, city, nation, and the planet. Looking around me, being conscious of my environment and the ways I respond to people and events, I realize I can make my life better and I can do those things that leave a light footprint on the Earth. I don't need a god or a religion to be ethical or moral. My consciousness has proven to be a worthy guide.
Comment by Craig A. James on December 2, 2010 at 7:06pm
Claudia - Most of us don't say we're sure God doesn't exist. The concept of God is simply a failed hypothesis, just as the claims for the other 16,000 to 20,000 gods that have been proposed around the world and down through history are each a failed hypothesis.

There's no circularity at all. If you start off life with no preconceived dogma infecting your brain, and take every hypothesis about the world as something that can either be established as true, proved false, or have no evidence one way or the other, then there's no need for circularity. We believe the things for which there is evidence, reject the things that are known to be false, and aren't very interested in things for which there can be no evidence.

I have no evidence that Bertrand Russell's orbiting teapot exists or doesn't exist, yet I'd wager a lot of money that there is no teapot orbiting the sun because it's inconsistent with many other things I know to be true based on evidence. That's how it is with God - I have no evidence, nor does anyone, for or against the existence of God. So why should I even consider it any further? It's just an ancient superstition that should be left behind.
Comment by Randy Reed on December 1, 2010 at 9:47am
Agreed, I really like that Joan and a splendid simple way of addressing "meaning".
Comment by Joan Denoo on December 1, 2010 at 9:41am
Thank you.
Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on December 1, 2010 at 5:15am
@Joan Denoo
You have put together that piece about 'being' so very beautifully.
Comment by Joan Denoo on November 30, 2010 at 10:46pm
Hi Paula: meaning is a tricky thing to think about because it can so easily get caught up in notions of existence for others. I like knowing I exist! Period! That is enough! I don't have to do anything ... my mother and father put the chemistry together, I came into the world with valuable traits and I learned others along the way.

A bee doesn't get up in the morning, rub its limbs together and say, "I must go and do the work of the lord!" It flies to a flower that smells good and is pretty to it, wallows in it for a moment, goes to the next, and on and on; When the apple tree finishes it's task of blooming beautiful, fragrant blossoms, the bee finishes it's task of pollinating the orchard, then in their time, apples appear. It is a natural process.

You and I are like that; we awaken each morning, do what we need to do and a natural process completes our cycles of life. Our mandate is not to go out and save souls, it is to be.
Comment by Paula T. on November 30, 2010 at 6:05pm
Thank you, Joan. I can't explain why, but events, even small ones, seem so much more meaningful now. Perhaps I can appreciate the little things for what they are, rather than see everything as a means to an end. I hold a door open to be nice, not to get into heaven. I don't fret over swearing anymore, when I used to fear going to hell for that infraction.

I've seen a number of your posts as I've explored the forum and I've enjoyed every one. Eloquent, to the point, and a joy to read. Thank you for sharing :)
Comment by Joan Denoo on November 28, 2010 at 6:39pm
Paula, your response makes very good sense to me. There is so much more to celebrate, having access to all our senses to see, hear, smell, taste, feel, and realize that you and I are part of all this splendid universe. We are not under some obligation other than to see our earth and all its aspects as part of this wonder. I especially love looking at the stars and seeing how gigantic it all is, or looking through a microscope and seeing how small it is. Gigantic/small and you and I have the great gift of being able to be a part of it.

I realize I do not own it, I participate in it. I am not under an obligation to obey it, I enjoy it. I am not required to sacrifice myself for it, I breath it, drink it, eat from it. I grow a splendid garden, but I do not grow flowers, I grow soil ... it is the caring for the soil and the microbes in it, that I receive the delicious and beautiful bounty.

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