Sunday, July 6, 2008

Letter To My Mother

Dear Mom,
First, I want you to know how much I love you and Dad. In fact, my love for you has grown tremendously over the years. I'm in my forties now, but because I've always lived so far away since becoming an adult, I miss you more then ever.

I admire you, Mom. You have taught me more then you will ever know. You brought me up in a strong Christian home, even though this faith was rejected by much of the extended family. Your belief in Christianity and its principles surely gave us a foundation that others only wished they had. Your intense belief in the Bible motivated you to do decades of research into it, even to the point of publishing a book on your findings and beliefs. All of this while battling personal obstacles that might have crushed anyone else. You, Mom, are an amazing woman.

I must tell you, Mom, that one of the most powerful things you taught me, whether it was intentional or not, was to think on my own - to question things and come to my own conclusions. This, I feel, was your greatest lesson for me.

It probably won't come as a tremendous shock to you, but may disappoint you - I no longer consider myself a Christian. I too have done a lot of research, and believe that all of the revealed religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and the like, are no more then man made belief systems made up of fantasies, superstitions, folk lore, myths and fables. I also believe that these religions were created, at best, as guides for human existence, but more probably to control or favor different groups of people. I believe these faiths have been both a tremendous blessing, and terrible curse to humanity.

I want to point out that I absolutely, positively, unequivocally believe in God, the single supreme creator of the Universe. I believe this through the observance of Nature and the divine gift of Reason. I want to tell you, Mom, that I'm a Deist.

Please know that just because I've given up the dogma of Christianity, it in no way means that I relinquish its values. In fact, as a Deist I hold myself to an even higher standard. Through the God given gift of Reason I now understand that it benefits all of us to live a good life, to obey the laws of humanity (such as the Golden Rule; be honest and don't lie, cheat or steal; freedom, dignity and equality for everyone; etc.) and to give back and support others in these endeavors.

Mom, I'm trying to think of what you may be thinking. That I'm a heretic? Well, as a Christian I was heretical to many other faiths. Maybe that I'll miss the rapture, won't go to heaven, or will go to hell? If these concepts were real, I'd be concerned too - but they are a man made fabrication. Maybe that I'll now lead a sinful life or that the whole world will fall into chaos and anarchy if they were to convert to Deism? No way! The whole idea of Deism is to believe in God based on Nature and Reason, and to live a good life based on the laws of humanity. If everyone believed these principles, the world would certainly be a better place.

I give thanks to God every day, Mom - for you and Dad and our family; for my wife, child and grandchildren; for the challenges and the blessings that befall me; and especially for this life that I live, as humble as it may be. God did good in creating our Universe, and I'm happy to be a tiny little part of it.

I love you Mom.
Your son,
One Deist Φ

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jerome Bixby's "The Man From Earth"

So what if this movie was not at the top of the box office charts; and maybe it is a low-budget snoozer. You simply must see this movie!

From the producers:
On a cold night in a remote cabin Professor John Oldman gathers his most trusted colleagues for an extraordinary announcement: He is an immortal who has migrated through 140 centuries of evolution and must now move on. Is Oldman truly Cro-Magnon or simply insane? Now one man will force these scientists and scholars to confront their own notions of history religion and humanity all leading to a final revelation that may shatter their world forever.

It is a very well written and wonderfully acted story that may as well have been written by a team of ... us! Now let's see; if 100 Deists got together to create a movie, what would they want to tell the world? Jerome Bixby did us all a huge favor in writing this. His final work, by the way, finished by dictation from his deathbed.

One Deist Φ

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Extra Points for Originality

Although there will surely be other postings in this blog, there is no other subject that betrays my trust in "revealed" religions more than the one I'm going to cover here. My search for a religion or faith to apply in my personal life ends now. The topic discussed here puts the final nail in the coffin of "revealed" religions and guides me to the purest form of belief in God - Deism.

My quest for faith has always centered primarily on originality. I always felt that if I could just find the source for all religions - that is, the root of all religions which eventually branched out into the faiths of the world - then surely it would be the one true divine belief system. Only then could I have a deeply personal relationship with God, and apply His principles to my life. The problem is that every time I discovered a great original source in my personal quest, eventually there would be another older source to take its place; or there would be a parallel belief system - as if two faiths borrowed from each other - not original at all. And now I believe there are completely non-divine sources for them all.

It appears that there is general agreement by scholars and theologians that Moses did not write much of the Pentateuch, (the Torah, or first five books of the Old Testament) traditionally attributed to him. Reviewing a website that defends the Bible, they say a standard argument against Moses writing these books is because there was no writing in his day. After all, we are referring to the late Bronze Age to early Iron Age. The website goes on to prove there was writing long before Moses, pointing out the Ebla Tablets and the Code of Hammurabi [alt link]. The former dates to about 2250 BCE, and the latter dates to about 1750 BCE, while Moses lived somewhere in the 14th to 13th century BCE. Both the Ebla Tablets and the Code of Hammurabi are written in cuneiform script.

The Code of Hammurabi was produced on a basalt stele by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. It is a column listing 282 crimes, punishments, and dispute settlements for the people of his kingdom. Hammurabi believed that he was chosen by the gods to deliver these laws to his people. That sounds familiar. Also familiar, the repetitive nature of punishments in these laws, which specifically mandate an "eye for an eye", "tooth for a tooth", "limb for a limb", and "life for a life".

The Ebla Tablets (first made public in 1981) are even more revealing, yet they are much older. There are over 15,000 tablets describing the life and times of Ebla, a city-state in what is now modern day Syria. Most of the tablets are written in Sumerian, but about 20% were written in a previously unknown language called Eblaite. Part of this collection includes extremely detailed vocabulary lists, which allows for translation between the two languages. The Eblaite language holds amazing similarities to references in the Bible, including personal names, cultural events, and city names from the region, like no other language. These include Adam, Eve, Jabal, Abraham, Ishma-el, Esau, Mika-el, Saul, David, Ashtaroth, Sinai, Jerusalem, Sodom, and Gomorrah. Also, there have been about three creation hymns found in the tablets, all of which follow the same theme and may sound vaguely familiar:
Lord of heaven and earth:
the earth was not, you created it,
the light of day was not, you created it,
the morning light you had not [yet] made exist.
Not only do these tablets predate Moses, but Abraham too! Man has certainly been on this path of discovery for God, for a relationship with Him, and for spiritual fulfillment, a very long time. I believe man took a wrong turn early on, and the rest just stayed the course, fine tuning religions to uplift only themselves and their people. What selfishness - how ungodly!

I believe God's presence has always been directly in front of us, but we haven't been able to see the forest for the trees. Step back just a bit - stop chopping down the trees for the texts of man-made religions - you will see the glorious nature of God, not only in seeing the forest, but the Earth and beyond. Remember, it is only you and I who are even capable of contemplating such notions. Only God could have created the opportunity for humans to have this power. Such is the originality of God!

One Deist Φ

Thursday, June 5, 2008

No Apology Needed

Question: How many apologists does it take to rationalize the "revealed" religions?
Answer: All of them! (And more if you got 'em!)

Why would so many people through the ages believe a holy text that needs explanation and excuses right from the start? Maybe it wasn't - isn't - so perfect and holy after all. Wouldn't God know how to do it right in the first place?!

It's like preaching "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" was real. Then, when someone challenges the new faith, that reindeer can't really fly, you either slaughter the sinful heretic or explain in the most pious way that reindeer do fly in spirit. They must believe in Rudolph and the unerring holy texts which have been dutifully transcribed, word for word, by his eight stag-only disciples, to be saved in the afterlife. (Rudolph was a humble and wise, yet illiterate sage. In fact, Rudolph used to hang out in the biggest herds, boasting just how wise he was, and that humility was his strongest suit!) So you tearfully beg the doubter to join the Reindeerists, lest he be lost to eternal damnation. Oh, you also explain he must never eat clover or fir, but it is mandatory to wear the Reindeerist undies - called The Garment - which itch like crazy! Well, at least the hats are fun. I'll be on my way to Heaven now, thank you very much! Come on people! Sheesh!

Thank God for Deism! The beauty of His text lies open before us. God's holy book, the Creation, can never be adulterated by man; and it is absolutely perfect! God and His Creation has no precedent nor equal; it is everything, and we are in it. We each can find His words in our own way, whether the delicate beauty and smell of a flower, or the grandeur of a mountain. In an intricate latticework of a microscopic specimen, or seeing a star birth through a powerful telescope. We are surrounded by God's word and work! Apologists need not apply.

We are living within the work of God, and the coolest part is that
only we humans have the capability to acknowledge that fact!!

One Deist Φ

Monday, May 26, 2008

You and I in the Grand Scheme of Things

Reviewing a previous post, "God's Awesome Power", reminded me of an internal concept I've had of our place in the Universe. In that post I gave you some very elementary statistics about our Universe, both near and far, yet the numbers are almost incomprehensible.

For instance, our tiny corner of the Universe - the Milky Way galaxy - is 100,000 light years across. At six trillion miles per light year, that equates to 600,000,000,000,000,000 miles in diameter, which is 600 quadrillion miles. It's important to note that this number is tiny in comparison to the Universe - infinitesimally small. Then we can zoom in to our solar system within the galaxy, and then our planet within the solar system, and finally to each of our little plots on the planet. Now, I don't know about you, but those kind of figures really make me feel small - not insignificant, but small.

It makes me realize how unimaginably great God is - truly, ineffably grand. I believe God exists, not in spite of this vastness, but because of it. I don't resent my smallness in the Universe, I am inspired by it. In no greater way do I believe the Universe could exist, except by God.

I don't believe any human has ever spoken to God, as this would be paramount to communication greater then the Universe. I don't believe any human has seen God, as this would be paramount to vision greater then the Universe. I don't believe I can comprehend God, nor can anyone else, but I can certainly recognize His work.

One Deist Φ

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pick a Prophet, Follow a Faith

I have come to the conclusion that the success of any given "revealed" religion is merely a popularity contest. It's whatever is in vogue or fashionable for a given period of time in human history. Problem is, we humans have always taken our beliefs so seriously - so fervently - that we often massacre anyone who doesn't follow the fashion.

No question there has been tremendous sincerity in our various religions. Every sect believes their religion is the only true and righteous way, and they want to make sure you and I are a part of it. Their beliefs are the only way to bring good fortune, live a holy life, and be saved in the afterlife.

Our perception of God has dramatically changed throughout history. No longer do we think Emperors and Pharaohs are God. Few if any people still believe a volcano, the sun, or an animal is God. No longer do we make human sacrifices to the Gods as some cultures did. But I'm certain the people who once believed these things knew they were being Holy and doing the right thing. They were simply living in the culture of their time - these things were in vogue. Would we consider them Holy now? Would we think they were (or are) heaven-bound? Well, eventually someone comes along and says, "Hold on folks. You have it all wrong."

Here's a not so little list I unashamedly borrowed from Wikipedia. It shows many of the religions throughout history and who founded them. (Please don't hold it against me if there are issues with the data. It's purpose is only to demonstrate an idea for this post.)

Prophet or FounderReligion or BeliefEra
AkhenatenAtenism~1300 BCE
ZoroasterZoroastrianism~1200 BCE
MosesJudaism~1200 BCE
Numa PompiliusCodified and organized Roman religion717-673BCE
LaoziTaoism~600 BCE
Siddhārtha GautamaBuddhism563-483BCE
PythagorasPythagoreanism520 BCE
MahaviraJainism~500 BCE
LeucippusAtomism440 BCE
PlatoPlatonic Realism427-347BCE
EpicurusEpicureanism307 BCE
Zeno of CitiumStoicism333-264BCE
PatanjaliRaja Yoga~100 BCE
Jesus of NazarethEarly Christianity6BCE-27 CE
Paul of TarsusPauline Christianity~50 CE
Simon PeterPetrine Christianity~50 CE
Judah haNasiTalmudic Judaism~100 CE
NagarjunaMadhyamaka150 - 250
PlotinusNeoplatonism205 - 270
Marcion of SinopeMarcionism110 - 160
ManiManichaeism210 - 276
AriusArianism250 - 336
NestoriusNestorianism386 - 451
EutychesMonophysitism380 - 456
MazdakMazdakism~500 CE
BodhidharmaZen~500 CE
MuhammadIslam570 - 632
Songtsän GampoTibetan Buddhism~600 CE
PadmasambhavaNyingma~700 CE
Adi ShankaraAdvaita Vedanta~800 CE
KūkaiShingon~800 CE
Ad-DaraziDruze~1000 CE
BasavaLingayatism~1100 CE
MadhvacharyaDvaita1238 - 1317
RamanandaSant Mat Vaishnavism~1400 CE
KabirKabir Panth, see Sikhism1440 - 1518
Srimanta SankardevaMahapuruxiya Dharma1449 - 1568
Guru Nanak DevSikhism1469 - 1539
Baba Sri ChandUdasi1494 - 1629
Vallabha AcharyaShuddhadvaita1479 - 1531
Martin LutherLutheranism1483 - 1546
Chaitanya MahaprabhuAchintya Bheda Abheda1486 - 1534
Henry VIII of EnglandAnglicanism1491 - 1547
Conrad GrebelSwiss Brethren, Anabaptism1498 - 1526
John CalvinCalvinism1509 - 1564
Akbar the GreatDin-i-Ilahi1542 - 1605
George FoxReligious Society of Friends1624 - 1691
Raja Ram Mohan RoyBrahmo Samaj1772 - 1833
Ghanshyam PandeSwaminarayan1781 - 1830
Nakayama MikiTenrikyo1798 - 1887
Allan KardecSpiritism1804 - 1869
Joseph Smith, Jr.Latter Day Saints1805 - 1844
Jamgon KongtrulRime movement1813 - 1899
BábBábí Faith1819 - 1850
Bahá'u'lláhBahá'í Faith1817 - 1892
Ellen G. WhiteSeventh-day Adventist Church1827 - 1915
Madame BlavatskyTheosophy1831 - 1891
Mirza Ghulam AhmadAhmadiyya1835 - 1908
Swami VivekanandaRamakrishna Mission1863 - 1902
Aleister CrowleyThelema1875 - 1947
Gerald GardnerWicca1884 - 1964
Mary Baker EddyChristian Science1821 - 1910
Swami Dayananda SaraswatiArya Samaj1824 - 1883
Guido von ListArmanism (Germanic Mysticism)1848 - 1919
Sri AurobindoIntegral Yoga1872 - 1950
Charles Fox ParhamPentecostalism1873 - 1929
Ngô Văn ChiêuCao Dai1878 - 1926
Ernest HolmesReligious Science1887 - 1960
Wallace Fard MuhammadNation of Islam1891
Paramahansa YoganandaSelf-Realization Fellowship1893 - 1952
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami PrabhupadaInternational Society for Krishna Consciousness1896 - 1977
Zélio Fernandino de MoraesUmbanda~1900 CE
L. Ron HubbardChurch of Scientology1911 - 1986
Maharishi Mahesh YogiTranscendental Meditation1917 - 2008
Sun Myung MoonUnification Church1920
Prabhat Ranjan SarkarAnanda Marga1921 - 1990
Mestre GabrielUnião do Vegetal1922 - 1971
Nirmala SrivastavaSahaja Yoga1923
Sveinbjörn BeinteinssonÁsatrú1924 - 1993
Sathya Sai BabaSathya Sai Organization1926
Anton Szandor LaVeyChurch of Satan1930 - 1997
OshoOsho movement1931 - 1990
Sri Sri Ravi ShankarArt of Living Foundation1956
VissarionChurch of the Last Testament1961
Tamara SiudaKemetic Orthodoxy1969

Here's the point: Not a single faith on this list was founded by God. Not a single one. Every religion and sect was formed by - you guessed it - man! Sure, these men may say they are chosen; they may say they are a prophet; they may say God spoke to them; they may even say they are God. Wow, man sure says a lot! Imagine the number of people who have believed these delusions and fantasies throughout history, even to the death.

Well, I'm not God, nor prophet, nor chosen - I'm just a man. Using God's gift of Reason, this I say:
Believe in God. Have faith in yourself.

One Deist Φ

Saturday, May 3, 2008

God's Awesome Power

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One of the best ways to be completely awed by God's work, is to take just a peek at the science of the solar system and universe. I'm not talking String Theory here. (Although my favorite physicist, Michio Kaku, makes that sound easy too.) No, I'm merely referring to basic facts and trivia. Keep in mind that some of these facts are from memory, some are verified, and some are estimates which are hotly debated.

Our solar system now officially (International Astronomical Union) has one sun, eight planets, and three dwarf planets. Pluto was demoted in 2006, now classified as a dwarf planet along with Ceres and Eris. Some of the planets have moons which are larger then the smaller planets.

Jupiter is a gas giant – its composition is primarily gaseous material. It's so large that 10 Earths could fit in the eye of that big storm alone, and its actual mass is about 320 times that of the Earth – that's a lot of gas.

Most of us know that a planet's rotation on axis makes a day, and a complete revolution around the sun makes a year. Well, Venus rotates so slowly on axis that it's day is much longer then it's year.

Our sun is big – really big! On average it is two to three times larger then the average size of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Its actual mass is about 333,000 times that of the Earth. The sun, and hence our solar system, is about half way out from the center of our galaxy, about 26,000 light years. The Milky Way is about 100,000 light years in diameter, but only about 12,000 light years in thickness (A light year is how far light travels in a year – about 6 trillion miles.) Our solar system rotates around our spiral galaxy, similar to the way our planet rotates around the sun, and completes one revolution approximately every 250 million years.

Let's really crunch some numbers. Did you know that every single star you see with the unaided eye is from our own galaxy? It is estimated that the Milky Way has about 300 billion stars – many of them much smaller then our sun – and this is only the tiniest fraction of stars in the universe.

How many galaxies and stars in the universe? According to the National Maritime Museum in the UK, the universe probably contains more than 100 billion galaxies. And best estimates suggest that there are at least 70 thousand million million million (70 sextillion) stars in the universe.

Now, who wants to tell me that God couldn't communicate directly with each and every one of us – at the same moment – if there were a need to tell us something?

One Deist Φ

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

God's Antithesis

As a Deist, I believe God created the universe. Every day I am awed and inspired by His amazing work. God’s divine task placed in motion the opportunity for this planet, along with you and I, to exist. We are reminded of His power when any living thing pro-creates, thus further developing and carrying on a new generation of the work God began.

I can’t imagine a greater antithesis for God, than killing in the name of God. Taking another life is a horrible crime, but to justify and rationalize doing such a horrendous thing in God’s name certainly puts it at the pinnacle of egregiousness. So many lives wasted and cultures lost at the hands of those who would force their beliefs on others.

If your Holy Scriptures contain any words to the effect that you are justified in killing those who oppose your beliefs - or those who don't worship as you do - do you not have the common sense to question those sacred texts? Think about it - I know it is ingrained into you, as it was me. To question those beliefs, which you may have had your entire life, might be difficult initially, but it can be done – there is a better way.

Taking another human life is diametrically opposed to our Creator.

One Deist Φ

Amazing, Truly!

It simply amazes me that we humans have allowed ourselves to be completely duped all this time. So very many people have happily gone along with the fairy tales and lies of the "revealed" religions. How could this have happened in human history? Forget history, it’s happening even today! One day our species will look back on this “Religious Period” and scoff at us! Our descendants will say, “How could they have been so stupid and blind?!”

I can only imagine what might have been, had we not been so consumed on proving that our various religions were the true one. So much of our energy, for so very long, wasted on the fantasies of just a few individuals, then propagated to the masses. Those few may have been charismatic, but certainly not divine.

In the dawn of mankind, and on through ages, we had absolutely no idea about the science of the world around us. Raise your hand if you believe the Bible came from God and is unerring. Don't you think God, creator of the Universe, would know that the Earth is not flat, or that the Universe does not revolve around Earth? These simple facts were unknown when men, who claimed to be inspired and/or communicating directly with God, wrote and assembled the Bible. Because of the “revealed" religions and their abhorrence for anything that even resembles heresy, advancement of human kind has been stifled for literally thousands of years. Shame on us!

The laws of God in "revealed" religions amount to no more then the laws of humanity. The fine folks who revealed the laws, and hence created their religions, may indeed have been wise, especially considering that way back then many of the inhabitants of this planet were very uncivilized and needed some good laws to go by. Using the God-given gift of Reason, it is easy to see that those basic “rules” still apply today. But we do NOT need a Bible to tell us that killing another person is wrong. Lying is wrong. Adultery is wrong. Cheating is wrong. Gluttony, lust, stealing – all wrong. The time of those who once may have been considered inspired and holy for bringing such laws to the people is long past. These principles are now merely common sense.

It is time to move beyond the dark ages of man-made religions. Please, utilize God's divine gift of Reason.

One Deist Φ

God's Antithesis

As a Deist, I believe God created the universe. Every day I am awed and inspired by His amazing work. God’s divine task placed in motion the opportunity for this planet, along with you and I, to exist. We are reminded of His power when any living thing pro-creates, thus further developing and carrying on a new generation of the work God began.

I can’t imagine a greater antithesis for God, than killing in the name of God. Taking another life is a horrible crime, but to justify and rationalize doing such a horrendous thing in God’s name certainly puts it at the pinnacle of egregiousness. So many lives wasted and cultures lost at the hands of those who would force their beliefs on others.

If your Holy Scriptures contain any words to the effect that you are justified in killing those who oppose your beliefs - or those who don't worship as you do - do you not have the common sense to question those sacred texts? Think about it - I know it is ingrained into you, as it was me. To question those beliefs, which you may have had your entire life, might be difficult initially, but it can be done – there is a better way.

Taking another human life is diametrically opposed to our Creator.

One Deist Φ

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Why Phi? Not WiFi.

Why, you may ask, have I chosen the Phi symbol to represent Deism? It goes to one of the basic principles of Deism - God created the Universe. Before this amazing event there was nothing; afterward, there was everything.

The Greek letter Phi is described as a zero and a one combined - nothing and everything. Apropos to God's creation of the universe, I must say. Also, Phi is known as the Golden Ratio, the Divine Proportion, the Golden Mean, and the Golden Section. It is also described as a universal constant of design; the signature of God. Mathematically, Phi is written 1.618033...

To type the Phi symbol with your keyboard, hold the Alt key and on the numerical keypad type 1000. In HTML document creation you should use "& # 9 3 4 ;" (without quotes or spaces) and on web page fields (like the Google search field) hold the Alt key and on the numerical keyboard type 0934. Each of these should create Φ, if properly done, although it may display other unusual characters on some computers.

Most don't know the Greek letter Phi, nor what it means. Hopefully this will change very soon.

One Deist Φ

The Beautiful Equation

I was watching a documentary by Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist who deals daily with equations that are very long and complex. He mentioned [heavily paraphrased from memory] that he'd love to discover the tiny, perfect equation for the universe, holding his thumb and forefinger about one inch apart. He said, "It will be beautiful in its simplicity." This is how I feel about Deism.

The "revealed" religions man has developed over millennia, do much to describe how we should live our lives, physically, morally and spiritually. But they are extremely complex and riddled with superstitions, fables, hypocracy and contradictions. Deism has none of that dogma. It's astounding in its simplicity!

One Deist Φ