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Crackpot Mailbox: Tony Cox and James Discuss Atheism [Manny Alert—Extra-Long Article]
© 2018 James LaFond
Fri, Dec 7, 1:45 PM (11 days ago)
You write of the rampant atheism of our age, and seem to view it negatively. Could you clarify your position on atheism?
As one who is concerned with uncovering truth, I see atheism as a dead end, the same way I view religion as a dead end. Is it perhaps that having gods to worship enables the human soul to accomplish what would otherwise seem foolish to even attempt?
Or is it with an anthropologist’s eye that you see worship as an essential function of social systems?
I have almost always maintained an agnostic view of the universe, something makes the grass grow and it ain’t just photosynthesis. I completely disregard all those who claim to have answers, and instead listen closely to those who admit they have no answers, and don’t try to represent their ideas or theories as anything more than ideas and theories. If you have covered this in a book already, let me know, I’ll buy the book and save you the trouble of writing the same thing twice.
Your pal,
James LaFond <>
Sat, Dec 8, 12:44 PM (10 days ago)
to Tony
Will do this week, Bro
As you can see, I dropped this ball a few times, in all of the last 11 days not feeling up to addressing the subject. Never have I addressed atheism and theism to my own satisfaction in non-fiction and doubt if I shall here, but will try. Let me first don the cap of Big-Headed Yakub and hope it does not slip down to my shoulders...
First, in my mind, spiritual matters are inherently masculine, as women are so wedded to their vulnerable forms that their overwhelming tendency is to worship the temporal structure of society that was traditionally erected on the visionary actions of men.
First, we must define atheism.
disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
nonbelief · nontheism · disbelief · unbelief · scepticism · doubt · agnosticism · irreligion · godlessness · ungodliness · profaneness · impiety · heresy · apostasy · paganism · heathenism · freethinking · nihilism
belief · faith
late 16th century: from French athéisme, from Greek atheos, from a- ‘without’ + theos ‘god’.
Note how recent this definition is, coming into currency at the same time that other notions for ages held in doubt [such as the existence of white people] also came into distorting use.
When/Where Has Atheism Arisen?
I have fond four historic sources for atheism:
-1. Deism, specifically the doubt implicit in Aristotle's search for "the cause uncaused" or "the unmoved mover" which arose among his disciples [note that term] as traditional Hellenic Civilization died even as Her sciences blossomed, with a leading female philosopher based in Sicily, and possibly known to Archimedes, leading an atheistic cult not unlike Ayan Rand's 20th Century Libertarian circle.
-2. Christianity, by negating vast pantheons of belief amidst the death of the Roman Civilization which replaced the Hellenic Civilization, was so sweeping in demoting all beliefs from outside Heretical Judaism to false gods, demons, devils and superstitions, that most religious people [which was to say virtually all folk] rejected it as an atheistic philosophy promoted by disenchanted members of the educated class. Early Christianity was not a religion of the poor or the rich, but of the tiny minority of literate citizens and slaves who existed between the masses and the rulers. Paul's ministry was conducted largely in letters in an age when less than 1% of people were literate.
The two things that simultaneously propelled Christianity to a universalistic faith were the adoption of pagan deities as saints and of pagan holidays and the monastic poverty gospel explicit in the ministry of Jesus Christ, which appealed to the ruling elite of the reviving Greco-Roman Empire as marking Christianity as non-threatening to government operation, permitting the upper-class to buy salvation and the masses to earn it through their suffering and faith.
Note: Many modern Christians, who are students of the Gospels, discount the process by which Christianity was spread through syncretism and geopolitics as non-Christian. So one may say that to many current Christians Christianity was hijacked by the first Pope and slept until the early modern era when Martin Luther began the Reformation. I challenge any Christian who rejects the iconography and saints of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches to name a denomination of Christians who survived the slaughters of the Gnostics, the Arians, the Bogomils and the Cathars and many other heretical Christian sects to form an unbroken protestant church from Paul to Luther. I sincerely hope that some such cult survived those 1500 odd years of sword and fire.
Further note that no Christian will accept what I just wrote or what follows as reflective of his faith, and that one of the hallmarks of Christianity since the very beginning was that various sects deny that most who claim Christian status are in fact Christian. Indeed, virtually all people who believe themselves to be Christian in our time are denied this status by others who believe themselves to be Christian. Dozens of Christian-on-Christian genocides occurred in Late Antiquity and, the Middle Ages and Early Modern times, with the body count attributed to followers of Jesus and Paul similar to those who followed Marx and Lenin. This is an important this point as "Religious war" is the most common justification for post-modern atheism, with most atheist so daft that they do not recognize the rise of Soviet Union as a religious war, even though the Catholic church did, even secretly blessing a blatantly pagan force as a crusading army of a weird sort.
-3. Modern atheism, emerged during The Enlightenment as a science-based rejection of Christianity extended to other religions on general principle, generally without any direct refutation. In other words, those geniuses who discounted Christianity on the basis that science could be used to refute specific precepts of the Faith, generally had little or no knowledge of other faiths and relied upon the Christian negation of "false faiths" to prove by proxy that all religions were hoaxes upon the ignorant. So, as Christendom died amidst the searching of scientists for a provable universal truth, atheism, or the "belief" that there was nothing worthy of Believing in, almost immediately failed to satisfy the masses yearning for belief, which had been noted by Aristotle 2,000 years earlier, that as he searched for "the cause uncaused" simple villagers needed to believe in Hera, and drunks in Dionysius and rulers in Zeus, conquerors in Herakles...etc.
-4. More recent strands of atheism have tended to emerge from members of the intellectual elite who can trace their lineage to teachers of Christianity or its root religion. These people include the formulators of modern ideologies like Communism and Libertarianism and extreme masculine cults like the Wolves of Vinland [the founders being sons of an Anglican priest] and most famously include Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.
I have only read 151 religious texts and have only read the Bible and the Koran thrice each, so cannot be regarded as any kind of expert on religion, as these texts are generally so poorly written or translated and/or so dense that dozens of readings are required to plumb them. My favorite religious text is The Epic of Gilgamesh, which many will deny is a religious text. As you guessed, most of my reading on matters of faith are anthropological, which does leave me in a better position than any biblical scholar I know of to tender one observation:
I have found no indication that any aboriginal, pre-civilized belief system served as a seedbed for atheism but that atheism is an exclusively Civilized commodity with roots sunken directly in the sciences, politics and faiths which have come to us from the ancient Greeks, The Middle East and China.
The Character of Faith
Faith requires real or willful ignorance and is why many a wise men have posited that the search for truth is a fool's errand. It is a fact that I am incapable of faith in anything greater than a man, having great faith in certain men. That is it and perhaps my curse. The idea that the search for truth is for everyone is a recipe for mass insanity which first became apparent during the French Revolution some 230 years ago. I endure this process easily and without pain because I was early on betrayed by what I was taught to believe in, for my parents—though they went to a church—only taught belief in one thing, CIVILIZATION or civil society, the only thing they agreed upon, one being a catholic and the other an agnostic. When one is knowingly raised on bald-faced lies the search for truth is painless.
Generally speaking there is a profound need for humans to worship that which gives their people life, with the masculine and feminine tending to divide this according to their dualistic social roles of far and near, seeker and keeper, with sky and earth gods often so gendered as masculine energy and feminine soil. This impulse takes evolutionary and devolutionary form along the cyclic spiral described below:
For aborigines, or primitives, band-based peoples who hunt and gather and lightly manage their environment through controlled burns and planting, the natural world is an object of worship and the place of worship is often internal, vested in dream-states.
For barbarian peoples, for people still somewhat engaged in aboriginal nature worship, but involved in animal domestication and agriculture we see the need of the fractured psyche for some unifying force. This need is often assumed to spring from the dream-state and involves ancestor worship and specific racial identity.
Early civilizations tended to practice actual inclusivity, with various cults living in symbiosis as did the 3 or more tribes that constituted each city. The pantheons of deities worshipped in most ancient civilizations consisted largely of pre-civilized deities which tended to be wedded into a family under a chief deity in an obvious reflection of the coercive-cooperative fabric of human society.
Imperial civilizations, requiring more unified action to facilitate economy of scale, began this process by vesting a priest king with intercessor or inheritor status in regards to the divine pantheon, something Alexander tried to vest in himself in his pharaoh-like quest for godhood through action rather than benediction. Such processes tend towards monotheism, the belief in one god, represented by one ruler, with the Persian King under The God of Light and the Caliph under Allah the two most potent and elegant examples of this form.
Once science develops as an enabling husbanding agent of civilizational scale, than the majority of civilians are effectively domesticated and develop a tendency to worship, as an aboriginal would, that which sustains his people—first his specific society [Britannia, America the Beautiful, The Fatherland, the Motherland] in the way a Roman of antiquity would—and eventually civilization itself, with a concurrent broadening of the definition of civilization along with the broadening of racial identity into macro-zoological categories, a befitting process of self-realization of purpose for human cattle. In other words, the glorification of one's enslavement to a system of people-farming is expressed as patriotism until that results in cataclysmic war, with the now inculcated instinct to worship the human social organism according to cultural-negating scale [English to British, Prussian to German, Virginian to American] transferred to a general worship of the identity-negating process of human domestication and the gaggle-eyed embracing of such soul-erasing concepts as Government Schools, Kensian Economics and Too Big to Fail banking.
Postmodern society has many dying gods of man's conscious, temporal creation presiding over it, from least to most insane:
-Capitalism, belief in material gain as the ultimate good
-Communism, belief of equality of material gain as the ultimate good
-Secular Humanism, belief in the domestication of the human organism as the ultimate good
-Libertarianism, belief in the process of maximizing material gain as producing the most incidental good
-Atheism, the rabid belief in unbelief
By this time, a majority of humans will have been so denatured from the people farming process that devices for mass hypnosis [TV, video games, spectator sports] and a hellishly deceptive return to a primal dream time [the many government sponsored opiate, cannabis and cocaine initiatives] will be required to manage the suffering beast that has become humanity.
In the end, and this is the end, being an End Time, some men willfully worship the gods of various earlier stages of mythic accretion, while most men worship what women have ever worshipped, the collective gaggle of human society as some mindless, simpering goddess, ever dependent for her lingering resuscitation on the very men whom she spurns out of jealousy and malice in her languorous obesity; this jealousy and malice is expressed as late-stage, social self-hatred. The unsustainability of this level of constant explicit woe reboots the social cycle and earlier forms are adopted. If our grandchildren are lucky than earth changes will coincide with such social disintegration, kicking us as far back on the cycle as possible.
To answer directly, Tony:
My position on atheism is that the strident belief that there is no power higher than humanity, in other words, the belief that there is nothing beyond our ken [for instance, the absolute certainty, by some ape chattering on this spinning rock, that no galactic consciousness resides at the center of the Milky Way] is manifestly less rational than the belief in a God or gods and that said belief amounts to elevating the works of man in an orgy of projected self-worship [Civilization] to an actual, monstrous, terrible, wrathful and jealous God of Things, one which actually roasts unbelievers in manmade fire and brimstone and des so "from on high." Furthermore, the body of atheistic thought is so "western" and so heavily referential to specific Abrahamic faiths, that most atheism amounts to a disingenuous foundation for various soulless social engineering schemes.
Worship is an essential function of a social system, but when the object of worship devolves to the point where the system itself is the deity, than suspension of disbelief necessary for societal scripting becomes impossible for the keenest minds, divorcing our best men from the social purpose and inviting disaster. For instance, since I have tracked the very gradual, late, deliberate collective invention of Hell, as a myth cobbled from various elder myths, I cannot believe in Hell. A belief in a pleasant afterlife, of some kind of transmutive enlightenment, is much more common among world cultures and much less obviously a method of mind control. For a man with a free mind, to worship the state organism which murders its own every day and devours others by the burning millions in order to maintain the loyalty of its own drugged, raped and tormented millions, for an intelligent man to believe the lies on the evening news, is asking too much of too many.
The gods our ancestors worshipped were of three types, sometimes and eventually all in one:
-1. Expressions of truth
-2. Keepers of mystery
-3. Achievers of destiny [deified ancestors]
All of these are inspirational on the face and more so for those with faith. So, yes: a bunch of bloodthirsty armored rednecks [the Conquistadors] who believed in God and his slain son and crying mother as a blessed trinity, conquered an entire world unknown to their grandfathers with secondhand gear, second-rate ships and double-digit IQs, and we, with the best gear in history, the knowhow to make the best ships and triple-digit IQs are incapable of, with the aid of a global thought engine, accomplishing the feats our grandfathers accomplished with pencil and paper, unable to even return to the world that they visited, a world known to every race who ever lived on this overgrown rock.
That is the power of faith and the abject squalor engendered by the lack of it.
That is the price of living under The God of Things.
Tony It took me from 10:30 to 2:30 to write this thing off the top of my head, so I apologize for typos and inexact dates. I'm glad I just proofed the subtitle. I had it reading Toy Cox instead of Tony Cox.
Under the God of Things
Last Movie on the Right
guest authors
We the Giving
advent america
menthol rampage
let the world fend for itself
the lesser angels of our nature
Manny     Dec 19, 2018

TL;DR = believe in God.

Thanks for the warning James. Merry Christmas to all Crackpot fans.
Tony Cox     Dec 19, 2018

James thank you for the in depth analysis of religion. Two thousand years of religion gets destroyed by you in four hours. On March the saints...
James     Dec 20, 2018

It seemed to me that I was chronicling the hijacking of faith by politics time and time again.
Mike_C     Dec 20, 2018

My unasked for opinion is worth no more than what you're paying for it—and probably less—but the two-liner is:

AtheISM may or may not be philosophically defensible, but most atheISTs are assholes. And they are blind to irony, because they cling to their personal version of atheism more bitterly than the most stereotyped cousin-humpin' rednecked God-botherer clings to his vision of Baby Jesus.

Personally, I have zero religious impulse. (And no, I don't claim to be "not religious, but spiritual". Sheesh.) That is a statement of fact rather than a boast. In fact, I suspect my non-religiosity may be akin to tone deafness or color blindness, given how prevalent religiosity seems to be among normal human beings. All that said, I have been in places and situations that were to me unquestionably sacred, but I had no impression of a supra-human consciousness (or malignity) behind the scenes.

As specific examples, two places that felt sacred were The Cathedral of the Pines in southern New Hampshire, and the great hall of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon. (The majority of churches I've been in felt neither sacred nor anti-sacred; just buildings.) Those were places of great peace, where one might be content to simply be. An anti-sacred place was the ruins of Dogtown on Cape Ann (near Gloucester, Mass.). Dogtown gave me the creeps, as if the very air was permeated with ancient misery, despair and impotent rage over injustices long forgotten by the rest of the world. I got the chills despite hiking through there mid-day in the height of summer.
James     Dec 21, 2018

This was fascinating reading, Mike_C.

I would suggest reading Jason Jorjani's Prometheus and Atlas in regards to your Dog Town and sacred place experiences.

I, myself have seen the world as prey and predator and have never had an impulse to worship as an adult.
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