Category Archives: Agnosticism

What I think about Satan

One of my readers E-mailed me recently and asked what I thought about Satan. This was my response:

“I don’t think much about Satan, but I did write a comic about Satanism, which says a lot about how I feel about Satan:

This Was Your Life: The Satanist

The Bible is full of enigmas like Satan that theologians could study and argue about for centuries, but in the end, since the Bible is mythology, devoting one’s time to studying and talking about Satan is tantamount to obsessing over Hades in Greek mythology. You might be able to gleam some moral truths out of the stories, but psychology and logic are far better tools for measuring morality.

My Secular Theory on Ethics

Another Attempt at Explaining my Theory on Ethics

Since you asked though, I will say that I always found the idea of Satan illogical. I know the Bible says the wisdom of man is foolishness and God is unknowable, and I used to believe those “truths.” But even then, the idea of Satan seemed suspicious. An all powerful God wouldn’t choose or need to create an all-evil creature and give it leeway to mislead God’s most precious creation into needless eternal torture.

Some people say Satan and Hell are just the lack of God, but the Bible seems to indicate Satan was a specific individual who God sent to live in exile, which sounds a lot like a story you’d read in Greek mythology.

It’s possible the word “Satan” just means “bad guy,” similar to how the virgin Mary may have just been a young woman, and we’ve been taking these mis-translations too seriously. Frankly, at the end of the day, the Bible is about as clear about what Satan is, as it is on what the Holy Trinity is. There’s just not enough information to make sense out of either of them. You can come up with a lot of good sounding theories, but ultimately, they’re all just conspiracy theories you either heard or made up.

I identify as an agnostic theist. So not only do I concede the possibility of something existing in the universe that fits some definition of God, I’m also pretty impressed by the evidence, which I explain in this blog:

An Agnostic Take on Intelligent Design

When I look at the stars or diagrams of atoms, I see a grand design so elegant, it has a one-in-infinity chance of existing on accident. Scientific laws look like God’s thumb print to me, and the universe we live in provides for us, but it doesn’t play favorites or hold grudges. The universe is an impartial and perfect machine. If God’s creation is any reflection of God’s nature, God wouldn’t choose or need to create anything resembling Satan.

The only person who would invent Satan, or at least the idea of Satan, is a human being who wants to design a theocracy that controls its civilian population by indoctrinating them into believing a mentally and physically abusive mythological state-religion. In other words, the most logical explanation of Satan is that he’s a boogeyman invented to scare children into ostensibly obeying God, but in practice, they’re obeying the leaders of the theocracy.

The Jewish leaders who wrote the Torah would be amazed to see how their state-sponsored boogeyman spread around the world via knock-off versions of their mythology and then diffused into other cultures, creating new hybrid mythologies. I wonder if they’d do it again, knowing how their cult would spread and come back to haunt the nation of Israel.

Ironically, the lesson to be learned from their mistake is that actions have consequences in this life. If that much is true, it sets a precedent that actions could have consequences after death. I fear I may have to pay the piper for some of the things I’ve done, but again, I see nothing in the universe that makes me believe its creator would needlessly torture any of its creations for eternity, let alone appoint one of his exiled rivals as the ruler of Pain Land.

Even if I had done something as morally reprehensible as writing a viral mythology to brainwash people into following and obeying me, I’m confident the universe is reasonable. It’ll more likely give me what I need, than take out its anger on me.

In summary, there is no Satan. If there is a God, it’s not Yahweh, and we’re in the best position we can be to hope for the best.”

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The Non-Believers’ 10 “Commandments”

Religious believers often ask where non-believers get their morals without God. This is ironic, because to the non-believer, all religions are tantamount to mythologies. So to them, it’s like being asked, “Where do you get your morals, if you don’t believe in mythology?”

The answer lies in the question, because if all religious rules were written by men, then the only way anyone has ever defined any moral rules was by making them up. That doesn’t mean no rules have any value. The value of a rule isn’t determined by who says it, or how they came by it, but by how useful it is.

For example, it’s no accident that multiple religions and governments all around the world had already invented the rule, “Do not murder,” before the authors of the 10 Commandments. Anybody tasked with making rules for a society would immediately come to the logical conclusion that forbidding murder should be one of the first rules on the list.

At the same time, the authors of the 10 Commandments also list human beings as things that can be legally owned as property, but any rational person would come to the immediate conclusion that legalizing slavery dishonors the value of life and should be forbidden.

Nobody speaks for God. Every moral rule you’ll ever encounter was created by existentially lost humans, but that doesn’t mean we’re helpless. We all have cosmic supercomputers inside our skulls, and rules are nothing more than guidelines or best practices for accomplishing goals. So if you can use your brain to figure out that people should wear safety goggles when operating a table saw, you can invent useful rules for any and every aspect of your life.

If you don’t know where to start, try looking at other people’s rules and finding what you like or dislike in them. Use that as a springboard to developing your own list of life’s best practices. You can start by constructively criticizing mine:

  1. All life is infinitely valuable. Treat it accordingly.

You don’t need God to tell you all life is infinitely valuable. Even if there’s not enough evidence floating around the universe to deduce why life exists, there’s enough evidence lying in plain sight, a child could come to the conclusion that all life is infinitely valuable.

The universe may seem like a savage, cruel place, but that’s just because it’s indifferent. The universe is operating on autopilot, and it might seem like the universe is out to get you when it runs you over, but if you step back and look at the grand design, you’ll find so much elegance and perfection you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that the universe is too elegant and genius for a human being to comprehend.

From what we know, the universe shouldn’t even exist at all, let alone life. Yet we live in a universe that has been meticulously designed to sprout life on giant, spinning balls of compressed matter that perpetually rearrange themselves according to fixed rules. The universe is an inexplicable life machine that shouldn’t exist. Every living thing is lucky to be here, and we only have a flicker of time to make the most of the privilege. Value life according to its rarity, elegance and the amount of work that went into creating it. Treat your life and others accordingly.

  1. Your life is your responsibility.

The universe is not out to get you or help you any more than it already has by giving you the universe and the tools to make the most out of your life. You don’t deserve, and will not receive, any miracles, bargains or any other entitlements from the universe.

You may receive aid and instruction from people, but you’re not entitled to any. Society doesn’t owe you anything you haven’t signed a contract for. The responsibility to make sure your life is good and complete, falls entirely on your shoulders.

  1. You are lost. It’s up to you to find life’s purpose.

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but you have all the tools necessary to find answers, and ultimately, purpose, in life. Your life will only be as effective and meaningful as the purpose you live towards. Nobody can decide your purpose for you, though many will try. You must find it yourself for it to be yours. Choosing not to find purpose is choosing to live without it.

  1. Consider and honor the cost/benefit analysis of your actions.

The value of your actions are determined by how productively they accomplish a goal. Ultimately, the value of all actions are relative to how productively they fulfill the meaning of life. Whatever you do, ask yourself if the benefit to the end goal outweighs the cost. Take risks at your discretion, but always honor the cost/benefit analysis of your actions.

  1. Never stop learning and studying.

You are your mind. The quality and quantity of your mind is relative to the information inside it. Never stop learning and teaching yourself so that you may never stop growing.

  1. Think rationally.

Mastering the art of thinking is a moral imperative, because every mental and physical action you’ll ever perform are based on decisions you calculate in your mind. The more effective your reasoning skills are, the more effective you’ll be at everything.

  1. Put everything you learn to the test of truth.

Nothing is true by divine authority. The truth of a fact is determined only by the quality of the evidence supporting it. So question everything, especially your answers, because the more reality-based your beliefs are, the more effective they’ll be in the real world.

  1. Find and define yourself

Some aspects of your personality were set at birth, and others you get to pick. Discover what makes you who you are, decide who you want to be, and then become that person. The more you, you are, the more you exist, and the more able you are to fulfill your purpose. The less you, you are, the less you exist.

  1. Take care of your body.

Your mind and body are parts of the same machine. The better you take care of your body, the better your mind and body can do what they’re designed to do. The less care you take of your body, the less you can do and the harder everything is.

  1. Enjoy the moment.

No one knows why we’re here or what happens after death, but we do know we’re here now. If we can’t know anything else about life, we know the current moment is an opportunity to enjoy yourself. No one has found any irrefutable reasons why we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves. If you take nothing else from this life, find ways to take joy out of it before it’s too late.

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My quest to find enlightenment

enlightenment through logic

Everyone has heard of enlightenment, but most people don’t care enough about the topic to study or practice it and probably couldn’t even give you a coherent definition of the word. I’m not a genius or a spiritual guru. I’m a poor white trash kid from Texas, but I spent thousands of hours studying and thinking about enlightenment, and I came to some novel conclusions. In order to fully appreciate their meaning, you need to understand why and how I tried to teach myself enlightenment in the first place.

I have an identical twin brother, and we were born two months premature. My twin was born healthy, but my heart was underdeveloped. So I spent most of the first year of my life in and out of the hospital surviving a series of near death experiences. These factors forced me to be lucidly conscious of my mortality and the surrealness of existence for long as I can remember.

I believe the sensory deprivation I experienced in the hospital during the formative weeks of my development wired my brain to adapt to solitude, stillness and quiet. This may be where my INTP personality type comes from. Either way, I’ve always been an introvert who enjoys spending time alone thinking, writing and working on long, tedious projects. So my temperament and life situation predisposed me to pondering philosophical questions.

I wasn’t raised rich, with every education opportunity money could buy, but the small Texas towns I lived in had old fashioned, strict, rigorous schools. So I received a solid understanding of science, history, English and critical thinking skills. I was also put in “gifted and talented” classes from the third grade where I was encouraged to think outside the box. These two education styles shaped how I approach philosophical questions.

Growing up in the Bible Belt, I took Christianity for granted, but I didn’t really practice it until high school when I made a conscious decision to accept Jesus as my savior and devote my life to being a Christian. Then I applied all my skill sets to proving the Bible to be the true word of God, but within a year I found so much evidence that the Bible is mythology, I wrote a book on it.

After losing my faith I plunged into existential despair and read as many religion/philosophy/self-help books as I could, searching for new insights into the riddle of life. I found the ancient Eastern religions and philosophies like Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism the most interesting.

The concept of enlightenment in particular appealed to me. I already knew enlightenment existed, but my deconversion gave me new motivation to take it seriously. I’d lost the need for faith or salvation, but I still needed purpose to strive for, and enlightenment made the perfect substitute. It offered a way to become more than I am without having to surrender my life to a mythological deity invented by a primitive tribe to justify their culture.

When I was a Christian, I reasoned that if connecting with God was the best thing we could do, then we should do it. Now I reasoned that if a man has the potential to reach a higher state of mind, then he should, not because God commanded us to, but because it offers the most benefit to the individual. The cost/benefit analysis simply adds up.

I wanted to make the most of my life on a personal level, and I wanted to justify my existence on a philosophical level. To be completely honest, I also thought achieving enlightenment might give me some kind of super powers. So I approached the study of enlightenment with childlike enthusiasm. To my surprise, my zeal dissipated into disillusionment as I found at least five holes in traditional theories of enlightenment:

1. There’s no agreed upon definition of what enlightenment is.

Hindus, Buddhists, Zen Buddhists, New Age gurus and thousands of other groups have different definitions of enlightenment and instructions to achieve it. There’s no test you can use to prove which definition or methodology is the true one. Ultimately, it’s all one big pile of stuff people made up. Some schools of thought claim enlightenment can’t be labeled or bottled, because that’s the point. It’s beyond words. That idea is vague to the point of being useless. If it does mean something, skeptics can’t disprove whatever it means, but proponents still can’t prove it’s true or disprove anyone else’s theories either.

2. You can’t prove a higher state of mind exists at all

10,000 years of religion and 200 years of psychology have proven if you commit your mind to connecting with Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, a higher level of consciousness, a parallel universe or Elvis, eventually you’ll find something that feels real to you.

There’s no scientific evidence that a spiritual-level higher state of consciousness exists at all, and the burden of proof doesn’t lay on the skeptic to disprove its existence. The burden of proof lies on the self-proclaimed gurus of the world to prove their “higher” state of mind isn’t just a subjective experience that satisfies their subconscious desires, but it’s impossible for them to do that. So their personal testimonies are hearsay.

3. Every self-proclaimed authoritative source contains evidence of lack of authority

Any Hindu Yogi will agree that you can’t put Om in a test tube, but when you look at Hinduism on a whole you’ll find text-book signs of mythology such as an oppressive caste system, astrology, scientifically unsupported statements about the nature of the universe and animistic deities. New Age books on enlightenment are just as baseless. When a belief systems contains inconsistencies, absurdities and culturally-relative idiosyncrasies, it casts doubt on its authority on any subject.

The authority of a book doesn’t come from who wrote it, how long its been around or how many people believe it. Its authority comes from how rigorously its conclusions have been vetted. If you want to learn about the human mind, then study psychology, not mythology.

4. It’s unlikely that our design is flawed

Some theories of enlightenment claim your average state of mind is inherently flawed, and enlightenment is achieved by eliminating or escaping your base state. Advocates of this school of thought point to stress and crime as evidence that we need to eliminate some part of ourselves. Being a self-loathing Christian, I latched onto this idea quickly and held onto it for a while, but studying astronomy and anatomy led me to the conclusion that it takes less faith to assume our minds work correctly, than it does to assume our minds are cosmically/spiritually flawed.

I don’t know if there’s an intelligent creator, or if the universe came into existence by random chance. I don’t know why or how humans came into existence, but I do know that the universe is designed to behave very specifically and elegantly. Subatomic particles, atoms, molecules and solar systems are ingeniously structured to snap together in powerful and predictable ways.

It can be no more of an accident that humans exist in this universe than it is for stars or planets. The amount of forward-thinking it would take to design a universe that can rearrange itself from nothing, into to an expanding gas cloud, that condensed itself into rotating galaxies full of planets that sprouted sentient beings is staggering.

The complexity of the human body is magnitudes greater than the complexity of the planet that germinated us. Our bones and muscles are a series of levers, counter-levers and pulleys that are positioned to anticipate the need to use opposing forces to create a system of tensegrity that can hold a body upright and perform acrobatics. Humans beings are still years away from designing a robot that can move as nimbly as a human. We’re even farther away from creating a computer anywhere near as powerful as the human brain. We don’t fully understand how the human brain works, but so far we haven’t found anything arbitrary about its design or functions.

If water is supposed to freeze at 32 degrees Celsius and light is supposed to travel at 186,000 miles per second, then the human brain is probably supposed to do exactly what it has been meticulously designed to do by a force infinitely more “intelligent” than a hermit who probably can’t even tell you what the pancreas does.

5. I can’t make a categorical imperative out of devoting one’s life to meditation

If everyone who has ever existed, spent their entire lives meditating in monasteries, we would never have discovered the Periodic Table of Elements. We’d be fighting wolves with clubs and entertaining ourselves around the camp fire by making up fantastic, mythological theories to explain what lightening, wind, and the sun are. That’s not the perfection of the human experience. That’s a wasted opportunity.

My conclusion

I can’t tell you what enlightenment is, or if it even exists. I have a theory that I try to apply to my life. It could be wrong in all or part. Take what you can from it. Leave the rest.

Enlightenment is like love. It’s a feeling, a state of mind, and an action at all once. You can be in love, and actively love someone. You can’t put your finger on it, but everyone’s lives have been revolving around this intangible force for as long as humans have existed. There’s no definitive book on love, but millions of books have been written about it.

Love is a feeling of attraction between people. Enlightenment is the feeling of existing. It’s how it feels to be awake and conscious of your own individuality. The experience of being you is mind-fuckingly fluid. You slip in and out of states of consciousness constantly. In a single day you can experience sleeping, waking, rushing, resting, fearing, loving, fighting, reminiscing, meditating, obsessing, planning, day dreaming, problem solving, memorizing, fantasizing, hating, hurting, regretting, celebrating, hungering and giving up.

Each of these states of mind exist, because our brains evolved to use them to solve real world problems. Devoting your life to holding onto or letting go of any one of these is throwing the baby out with the bath water and sabotaging your opportunity to fulfill your all-around potential. The key to experiencing the most ideal reality is to master every facet of your mind and become the best You that you can be. Through fulfilling your potential, you’ll achieve as much clarity as humans are designed to achieve. You won’t become a higher form of life. You’ll just be more mature, which is profound enough.

You are your reality. Everything you experience is defined by what’s in your head. In order to live in the best mind-space, you need to do at least 7 things:

1. Learn science.

The universe is a big, scary place, but we can study nature and figure out why things happen. Having a basic understanding of science will give you more peace of mind than turning your brain off and ignoring the mysteries of the universe.

Science also gives us the power to create reliable shelters, warm clothing, mass-produced food, medicine and space ships. These luxuries empower people to live more comfortable, meaningful lives than sitting on a mountain training your mind to ignore the cold.

With understanding comes peace and empowerment. Ignorance confuses and disempowers us. So if you want to maximize your mind, the first thing you need to do is learn science.

2. Learn problem solving skills.

Everything you ever do will require you to solve problems. The better you are at solving problems, the better you’ll be at navigating life. The weaker your problem solving skills are, the less control you’ll have over your life. The more you master the art of problem solving, the more effortlessly you can stride past the obstacles that stand between you and your goals. This is a far more effective way of achieving peace of mind than clearing your mind and convincing yourself that your problems don’t exist.

3. Learn psychology.

You are your mind. If you ever hope to cope with your existence, let alone maximize the experience of being you, then you need to understand how your mind works. Studying psychology will teach you why you have so many different states of mind and how to control them. Mastering your mind will bring you more peace and fulfillment than denying it.

4. Define and refine yourself.

The universe doesn’t need us. We don’t serve any practical purpose outside of ourselves. Nothing would be lost if we disappeared. Yet the universe went through almost 14 billion years of trouble rearranging itself to create the conditions necessary to create us. If we were supposed to be nothing, then the universe would have made us nothing. I believe throwing away your identity defeats the purpose of existing in the first place. I believe you’re here to be you.

Studying science, problem solving and psychology give you the tool sets to accomplish whatever goals you have. The morality of an action is determined by how much it helps/hinders life achieve the most important goal, and the most important goal is to become the best you that you can be. To do that, you need to define who you are, who you want to be, and then create/execute a plan to improve yourself.

5. Meditate and smell the roses.

Psychology classes can prepare you to be yourself, but the world off-campus is a brutal place full of idiots and sociopaths with agendas. You’ll be pulled in every direction, and every aspect of your mind will be put to the test. If you never spend any time in solitude, focusing your mind inward, exploring and feeling what it is to be you, then the world will force its definition of you onto your mind.

You don’t always have to sit in a quiet room and clear your mind to feel at one with the universe. You can find moments during the daily grind to stop and smell the roses or to take a deep breath and just be. Schedule time in the evening to stop and marvel at the stars.

If the drama of life is too overwhelming, then turn your mind off for 15 minutes to experience the peace that comes from quietly being one with the universe. Once you’ve centered yourself, pick yourself back up and resume your quest with renewed focus.

6.  Do what you love.

Existence isn’t just something you passively experience. It’s something you do. Being a unique individual isn’t only accomplished solely by sitting in a room exploring the space behind your eyes. It’s something you do. The way you actively “be” yourself, is by doing what you love.

Doing what you love will bring you more peace and fulfillment than suppressing your passions. Those passions aren’t unnatural. Nature put them there. Nature gave you the freedom to express, enjoy and validate yourself through doing the things you love. If you’re not doing them, then you’re just letting life pass you by.

7. Love.

Solitude is an important tool in the quest to refine yourself, but if you were meant to be alone, then you would have been the only person to ever exist. If you want a transcendental experience that is more real and powerful than words can describe, then host a dinner party at your house and invite all the most important people in your life. The joy you’ll experience while communing with your loved ones will bring you closer to “God” than cutting yourself off from the world.

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How I became a Christian and then lost my faith

I was born and raised in the Bible Belt, specifically, Texas. In my community it was taken for granted that the Bible is the word of God. From the earliest age I remember going to church and saying this prayer before bedtime, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord, my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake. I pray the Lord, my soul to take.”

Other than going to church, buying Christian themed decorations and quoting a few select Bible verses, nobody in my community lived like Jesus or the Apostles. They lived like modern Americans, and I naturally adopted their lukewarm approach to Christianity as well. I tried not to lie, steal, lust, hate, miss church or masturbate, and I felt profoundly guilty when I committed these sins. Sometimes I prayed and put a few dollars in the offering plate at church. Outside of Sunday school I never read the Bible.

My real life revolved around going to school, trying to make friends, figuring out life and coping with the drama that the world throws at you. I had a very rocky childhood, and my life started sliding out of control before I got to high school. I started hanging out with the rejects, smoking, drinking, doing drugs, stealing, committing petty crimes, running from the cops, and listening to heavy metal music.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I did all of those self-destructive things because I was looking for meaningful connections to life. I hung out with the rejects, because they accepted me without judgment. I poisoned my body, because that was the only other thing outside of my friends that made me feel alive. I binge-listened to angry musicians, because they understood my emptiness and pain.

By my sophomore year I was basically never sober. The farther from sobriety I ran, the more I lost touch with reality. I lived in a dream land. Sometimes I danced through technicolor flower fields, but mostly I wandered in the dark looking for a lighted path that would take me back to the happiness and wholeness I felt as a child.

As my life spiraled downward, I had two near-death experiences on drugs and almost got arrested when a house I was doing hallucinogens at got raided by the police. Before things could get worse, my mother kicked me out of her house, and I had to move from Paris, TX, to my father’s house, eight hours away in Jourdanton, TX. The only Bible verse I ever heard my father quote was, “Spare the rod; spoil the child.”

Having lost all my friends and all meaningful connections in my life, my soul drifted in free fall. I felt like I was in outer space. I didn’t have anywhere to go, and I didn’t want to spend time with my father. So I stayed in my room and listened to songs that reminded me of my friends. The only book in my room was a copy of Nave’s Topical Bible, which listed Bible verses according to topic. Having a lot of anger at God and nothing else to do, I read what God had to say about love, hate and forgiveness.

I didn’t understand the context of any of the passages or the passages themselves, but they fascinated me. There was a murky message of love and salvation, both of which I needed badly. These thoughts percolated in my brain for months until I had the opportunity to go back to Paris and see my friends. We got together like old times and did drugs. It was refreshing but painfully nostalgic. At the end of the night, everyone else went to sleep, and I stayed up for several more hours day dreaming intoxicated visions.

That night I had a vision of God. His body was in the shape of a human but made of glowing love. He looked like one of the aliens on the movie, “Cocoon.”  We had a long conversation in which He told me I was loved and accepted. Everything is fine, and everything is going to work out. Life is important, and we all have something important to do with our lives. I could still fulfill the meaning of life. I just have to give up my hedonistic ways. So the next morning I threw away my cigarettes and quit all my poisons cold turkey.

I made up my mind that it was time to get serious about God. So I started going to church regularly, and I got a real Bible. I read the New Testament cover to cover several times. In 1997 I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior at a Billy Graham convention in San Antonio. A few months later I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church in Charlotte, TX.

I took my faith as serious as life and death. Everyone who knew me my senior year of high school knew that I was a serious Christian. I went to church twice a week, read my Bible, prayed to Jesus, invited the Holy Spirit to guide me and behaved impeccably moral even when no one was watching.

By the time I graduated high school I was convinced I should become a preacher. So I scheduled a meeting with the pastor who had baptized me, Brother Sewell. We met at a Dairy Queen and talked for about an hour. In the end, he told me that if there’s anything else I could imagine being happier doing than preaching, then I should do that. Reluctantly, I admitted, I would be happier teaching art or being a comic book artist than standing in front of a crowd, blowing peoples minds while begging for money once a week. So Brother Sewell told me to become what I wanted to become most.

I wasn’t a good (or rich) enough artist to go to art school, and I wanted to work in a profession that helped people directly anyway. So I decided not to go to seminary school and preach in a church. I would get a day job as a social worker helping the neediest of the neediest. In my free time, I would write Christian books and comics.

So after I graduated high school, I enrolled at the University of Mary~Hardin Baylor in Belton, Tx and majored in social work. I picked that school because it’s a Christian university with a reputation for being unapologetically serious about Jesus Christ. Every event on campus opened with a prayer, and every student had to attend mandatory church services. There were always student-led Bible studies going on somewhere on campus. Every student had to take at least one semester in religious studies.

I chose to take the hardest course they offered, a year-long, in depth survey of The Torah. I wanted to know every detail about how my religion came into existence, and The Torah was so boring and confusing, I figured this was my best shot at understanding it. I felt confident that if I could master the basics of Christianity then I could write the proof to end all proofs that would convince any Atheist that the Bible was the true word of God.

To my delight, my professor turned out to be a genius named Dr. Stephen Von Wyrick. He spoke Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin fluently, and he spent his summers in Israel excavating religious ruins. The textbooks he taught from weren’t Christian propaganda. They were gigantic, rigorous, boring history books. Dr. Von Wyrick knew as much as a human being could know about the historical context of the The Torah.

He also believed wholeheartedly in the divinity of the entire Bible. So I’m sure he would be appalled by the fact that, more than anyone else, he was responsible for me losing my faith. He took my class through the Torah line by line and explained everything that was happening. He showed how to tell when different authors had written different passages within the same book. He explained how miracles could often be attributed to naturally occurring events. He pointed out where the authors had copied stories from other religions. The two most important things he taught me where how the Jewish theocracy and culture operated at the time. They were both barbaric and superstitious.

Once I actually read the Torah cover to cover, I looked back and realized I didn’t just read a story about God’s love and salvation. The original covenant God had with mankind, was for humans to slaughter animals on altars so God could bask in their blood. In return, God would kill the enemies of the Jewish state. The laws God commanded His people to follow were barbaric or trivial. The whole story was so chaotically thrown together, there was no hope of reconciling all its contradictions, scientific inaccuracies, mysticisms and psychotic moral codes.

Making sense of the Bible is even more difficult when you try connecting the Old Testament and the New Testament. Why does a perfect, all knowing, all loving God, write a book that approves of slavery and war. Then He changes his mind and writes a book that approves of slavery and love (most of the time)? But after saving everyone from having to please God with blood, now you have to please God by believing in His son, who is somehow also God at the same time, and maybe one other person/thing called the Holy Ghost.

I found a million holes in the Bible, and I couldn’t ignore them. They weren’t making me doubt my faith yet, because I believed the answers existed. I just had to find them. So I asked dozens of highly educated Christians to explain the gaping holes I’d found in Christianity. Without exception, every single person told me to, “Just have faith.” They couldn’t explain any of the problems and didn’t want to. This infuriated me, because if we didn’t understand the Bible, that meant we didn’t understand what we believed in. So when we witnessed to non-believers, we were telling them, “I don’t know what I believe in, but you have to believe it too.”

The further I looked for answers, the more I found myself piecing together an explanation of why the Bible is just a standard, archaic mythology produced by a primitive culture and not the word of God. This scared me to the depth of my soul. I was afraid God would send me to Hell for entertaining those thoughts, let alone believing them.

The more I dove back into the Bible to find the clues I’d missed, the more mythology I found. It was like watching a train wreck. I watched it until I couldn’t take it anymore. I shut my Bible one last time and let out a huge defeated sigh as I accepted the undeniable truth staring me in the face: Christianity is mythology, and I would never find salvation in it. Even then, it took me over a year to admit out loud that I’d lost my faith.

That happened at the age of twenty. It wasn’t until seven years later that I began writing down my argument for why Christianity is mythology. I’ve been posting those on my blog ever since. In 2015 I consolidated them into a stand alone E-book that you can purchase on Amazon. You can still read them individually for free on The Wise Sloth.

After leaving the church I didn’t think of myself as an Atheist. All I knew was that I was lost. If I had to label myself at the time, I would have called myself an Existentialist, or simply a searcher. Search I did. As depressed and disconnected as I felt, I wasn’t suicidal.  I didn’t know what life was for, but I knew a lot of trouble went into creating it, and I believed life was some kind of opportunity with some kind of potential.

Desperate for any glimmer of direction, I read most of the other religious books the world follows. Without exception, I found the same patterns of inconsistencies, incoherencies, inaccuracies, absurdities and culturally relative morals I’d found in the Bible.

Like the Bible, they all also contained useful information. You could even find patterns in some of their wisdom that different religions agreed on. I didn’t take this as evidence that God had a hand in every book, but rather that some morals are self-evident. If you were going to make your own religion, probably the first rule you’d pick is, “Don’t go around killing people.”

Simply proving mythological gods don’t exist, doesn’t prove God doesn’t exist.  Since I know that I don’t know the first thing about the universe, I’m not qualified to state emphatically that there is no God. The ingeniously elegant patterns in nature give me reason to suspect a higher force could have played a hand at creating the universe, but that force seems to have left us on our own to sink or swim.

I would like a more cut and dried answer to life’s questions, but the evidence seems to point to the conclusion that we’re here, and our lives are our responsibility to figure out using the tools we’ve been given. I’ve been trying to do that as best I can. I’m constantly updating my conclusions, which you can find listed below and on my Table of Contents:

The Bible is mythology

Christianity is bad for you and society

Churches and Christian Culture

Life

Agnosticism and Atheism

Thinking

Ethics

Personal Growth

Personal Behavior


My quest to find the meaning of life

Over the course of 10 years, I wrote a book on the meaning of life titled “Why: An Agnostic Perspective on the Meaning of Life.” I didn’t do it to get rich quick, or because God told me to or because I’m the smartest person alive. My motives came from somewhere much more down to Earth. To understand why I wrote this book, you need to know the whole story.

I’ve always been an introvert, predisposed to working alone on long projects, and I’ve always loved puzzles. At the age of 17 I made a conscious decision to make a hobby out of solving difficult logic puzzles for the fun and challenge of it. Originally, this consisted of completing puzzle books, which I did with varying levels of success. That got boring quickly though, because I was just rearranging words, letters and numbers, which felt tantamount to mental masturbation. I wanted to solve real problems that had useful implications for myself and hopefully the rest of society.

The first big challenge I picked was creating a perpetual motion machine. Although I failed to build a working perpetual motion machine, I don’t count the quest as a failure, because it provided me hundreds of hours of entertainment and valuable problem-solving practice. When that thought-experiment had run its course I started looking for a new one. It wasn’t long before the question of the meaning of life caught my attention.

The challenge started out as a game, but the more I thought about it, the more seriously I took the question. I considered myself a responsible person who followed all the rules and lived a successful life by modern society’s standards, but could I say for certain I knew the meaning of life? No. So could I honestly be sure I was fulfilling it. No. I was just expecting I’d nail it by chance; I was leaving it up to chance whether or not I validated my existence or wasted it in vain. For the first time it struck me that the meaning of life might not be a novelty riddle after all. It might be a matter of life and death. In fact, it might even be a matter of eternal life and death… and that wasn’t even the worst part.

What shook me even more profoundly was the realization that if I didn’t know the meaning of life then I couldn’t teach my future children what it is or how to fulfill it. I was leaving their fate up to chance as well. How could I do that in good conscience?

To my surprise I found I wasn’t playing a game any longer. I was waffling at a crossroad in life. Should I go down that rabbit hole or find a way to write these thoughts off and get back to my routine, comfortable life? I didn’t have to second guess myself for very long. Regardless of anything else, the bottom line was I was planning on become a parent, and I had a responsibility to my unborn children. A father’s job is to teach his children how to make the most out of life, and since I didn’t know the meaning of life I didn’t have an end goal to teach my children how to accomplish. I was going to have to find some kind of answer to the meaning of life so I could teach my descendants everything needed to know to have the best chance at validating their existence and making the most out of life.

Being a child myself at the time, I had no idea where to begin answering such an enigmatic question, but I knew history was full of people much smarter than me. I assumed/hoped one of them had already figured it out. So I started making trips to the library and book stores hunting for the book the master wrote his/her revelation down in.

Some of the things I read had promise, but without exception they were all flawed in one way or another. Most of the self-help books were oversimplified and based on emotion more than logic. You could sum up most of them in the phrases, “The meaning of life is a good cup of coffee.” Or “Love everybody.” Nice sentiments but vague to the point of being useless.

The books written by self-proclaimed spiritual gurus tended to ramble incoherently and not be based on any kind of evidence whatsoever. The authors just said, “This is the answer,” and expected the reader to accept their mystical conclusions without asking for any logical or empirical proof.

As for Western philosophy… I know I could get crucified for saying this, but I would describe most of what I read as nine parts academic masturbation and one part insight. For all the amazing and useless things I read, I never found a systematic, logical, empirically valid explanation of the meaning of life.

And then there’s the world’s religious books. The first problem they pose is that most of them claimed to be the final truth on life and state it is foolish, arrogant, or outright immoral to question them let alone believe in any other belief system. So even if I quit searching for the meaning of life and bet my soul on any religion, I would still be committing blasphemy according to multiple other self-proclaimed holy books. This concerned me deeply, because I don’t want to go to Hell. If blasphemy is immoral, then I don’t want to commit it, but we’re all in a no-win situation. In the end I figured, if you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, you may as well do your best.

All things being blasphemy, the way I chose to commit it was to put all the religious books I could find to the test of empirical and logical truth. Without exception, they all contained historic and scientific errors, textual problems, absurdities, contradictions, and incoherent moral codes. Hundreds of thousands of books have been written about each religion, attempting to explain their mysteries. But Occam’s Razor can explain all of them in one sentence: All the religions humans have created are mythologies.

If that’s true, it creates as many questions as it answers. How was the universe created? What defines ethics? Is life meaningless, or is the purpose of life simply beyond the grasp of human intelligence?

The last question bothered me the most. If it really was true that we can never know the meaning of life then that would mean we have one, but can never sure if we’re succeeding at it. Does that mean we were never meant to fulfill it? Would that mean, for all practical purposes, life has no meaning? Are our lives nothing more than pieces in a cosmic game of Periwinkles? Are we not important?

My inability to answer any of these questions drove me to existential depression. I tried to act like nothing was wrong and continued going to work and socialize with friends but found it hard to be enthusiastic about anything since it seemed nothing we did mattered in the long run.

Walking through my tiny corner of the universe, I couldn’t shake my suspicions that it would be absurd for life to exist without a purpose. Surely there had to be a reason why such a complex universe full of complex living beings existed. So as I went through the motions of life I continued to think about and observe the world around me hoping to find the clues I’d missed.

On my way to work in the mornings I passed by a large oak tree, and I’d often stop to stare at it and ask myself, “What are you doing there Mr. Tree?” One day I was studying Mr. Tree when I found the clue I was looking for. The tree contained patterns. The branches weren’t geometrically organized, but there was a pattern to how trees in general look. Then I looked down at myself and found patterns in my body. We can recognize humans from other animals because our structure follows the same pattern. Skeletons follow patterns. Heredity follows patterns. Biology is all about patterns. For that matter, so is the rest of nature: gravitational pull, chemical reactions, and mathematical equations. These all behave according to patterns which reflect phenomenally elegant order in the universe.

It would be illogical to assume that everything in the universe behaves according to predictable patterns, but life (and all the patterns it contains) came into existence on accident. It’s no more an accident for life to exist than it is for water to freeze. The universe was meticulously designed to produce living beings. The immeasurable level of detail in the design of the universe isn’t an accident.

Atoms, molecules, solar systems and DNA are so ingeniously designed that I can’t discount the possibility an intelligent God created them. If that’s true, then why does God let bad things happen? Does/should God answer prayers? How do you learn about an absentee God of science? Do you even need to know God, or were we put here to do something else?

I wanted to explore these questions, but a voice in the back of my head kept asking, what if I’m wrong about religion, and there really is an angry, jealous God?  If I ever claimed to figure out life for myself, would I be punished? Would I go to hell? Were humans not meant to think for themselves? Why would God create children who aren’t supposed to think for themselves?

With or without God, is it still impossible (or at least too difficult) for humans to figure out? If the question can be answered, who’s smart enough to do it? Could I do it or should I leave it to the professionals? But who are the professionals? What would make someone qualified/disqualified to find the meaning of life anyway? Do you need a doctorate degree, a Nobel Prize, membership in a high IQ club, or at least published book under your belt before you’re certified to… ask questions?

I lost sleep asking myself these questions. I knew if nobody else had life figured out, then I’d have to do it on my own, but I didn’t think I could or should for all the reasons stated above. But then again, not trying was as good as suicide…and in the case of my potential offspring I was responsible for, manslaughter. This infuriated me. I kept telling myself, “This is insanity. It doesn’t make any sense.” Then, after a long night of tossing and turning in bed, I finally let myself admit the simple and obvious truth of the matter. It was insanity. It didn’t make any sense because it was illogical.

There may or may not be a God. We’re all just stranded in this big, elegant universe. We’re so lost we don’t even know how lost we are. If God’s out there, we’re left on our own to sink or swim. We don’t know the difference between right and wrong or if there is one. There is no instruction book. All we can do is figure out life for ourselves.

Whether we know or will admit it, everyone does this. We look at everything around us and come to our own conclusions. So I said, “To Hell with taboos,” and made a decision to consciously do what I’d already been doing all along. I’d figure out my own systematic, logical explanation of the meaning of life. The point wasn’t to create a book to publish. It was to create my own personal guidebook to life. 

Having decided that, I turned my attention to the enormous task of figuring out where the hell to begin. Ask yourself, “What is the first thing you need to do to answer the question, ‘What is the meaning of life?’” That’s a riddle within an impossible riddle. When I posed it to myself, I felt completely dumbfounded, but in that boggled, fuzzy state of mind I had a moment of horse-sense clarity. I realized if you want to answer any question, you need a step-by-step guide to answering questions.

So I went back to the library and the bookstores and read a stack of books on logic and problem solving. I learned a lot of useful things from those books, but I didn’t find the streamlined guide to answering questions I was looking for. So I looked back over everything I had learned about thinking and boiled it down to a neat list.

  1. Ask a question.
  2. Gather data
  3. Identify the variables you have.
  4. Identify the variables you don’t have.
  5. Sort the data.
  6. Apply formulas.
  7. Ask sub-questions.
  8. Question your answer.
  9. Apply the solution.

I spent years applying these steps to the question of the meaning of life and piecing my conclusions together in this book. I included a detailed breakdown of my method of problem solving in Chapter 14 since everything you’ll ever do in life will be the product of questions you’ve asked yourself. No matter what the meaning of life is, it involves problem solving since everything does.

If you read “Why” you’ll see how I applied these steps to the question of the meaning of life. If you just want to know the final conclusion I came to, read the next paragraph for the spoiler:

Regardless of whether or not God or an afterlife exists, or even if there’s no meaning to life at all, the most logical thing a living being can do with their brief time here is fulfill their potential. If that sounds anticlimactic, it’s because the most interesting part of the question, “What is the meaning of life?” isn’t “what,” it’s “why.”

This book isn’t the final answer on life. God didn’t reveal it to me. It’s just the conclusions I’ve come to that I base my life around. If you read my book and find even a single sentence lacking I hope you don’t dismiss all my observations and conclusions. Takes what you find to be true, and leave what you don’t. If you have a better answer, the world needs it. I need it. The way I’ll measure the success of my book isn’t by how many people believe me but by how many I inspire to ask questions.

You can download “Why: An Agnostic Perspective on the Meaning of Life” for free on Smashwords. I also have a few other E-books listed for free there, and I have some other books for sale on Amazon. You can find a list of all my books on the E-book page of my website, The Wise Sloth.

If you’re wondering what else I’ve done with my life, here are some more stories from my past:


It’s okay to be lost

not all who wander are lost

There are religions which teach that you were born lost, impure, unworthy, unchosen and in need of salvation. The cure to your fatal disease is to accept and follow the set of beliefs and behaviors outlined in whichever book informed you of your inadequacy. In return for your loyalty, you’re promised that after you die you’ll be spared from a torturous eternal fate you supposedly deserve and get to spend eternity in a vaguely defined paradise.

If you accept this explanation of life, then the path before you will be simple. You just have to keep believing in what you were told and keep following the rules. You can pretty much just relax and wind down the clock on autopilot, and you’ll never have to worry about figuring out the answers to any of life’s big questions yourself. This makes religion sound appealing, but the benefits don’t actually outweigh the cost, because all of the religions humans have invented are simply human inventions. They’re all mythology.

Facing the fact that religion is mythology is terrifying for believers for several profound reasons. First, it means you’ve been lied to and used by the person you thought was your savior, which is too emotionally traumatic for many believers to even consider. Worse than that though, when you lose your religion, you lose your purpose in life and your moral compass. Life is existentially depressing and hopeless if you’re not living with purpose, and it’s confusing if you don’t have a compass. Since you still need answers to life’s questions, if you don’t have a religious book to look them up in, that means you’re responsible for figuring them all out for yourself.

We all know we’re not prophets or Einsteins. We know we don’t have the intelligence or authority to figure out the ultimate meaning of life. This means after you figure out that religion is wrong, you can’t just trade in all your wrong answers for all the right answers. You just lose you’re moral compass and spend the rest of your life lost.

A lot of theists would rather live a comfortable lie than face a lifetime of being lost, not just because it’s scary, but because they view being lost as a sign of weakness, a character flaw that needs to be stamped out. The cold, hard reality of the world we live in, is that we’re born lost, and we’re destined to wander the universe lost until we die. We’ll all face death not knowing what happens afterwards or if our actions mattered. Once you accept that, you can cope with the situation sanely. But denying the reality of the situation only cripples your ability to cope with it, and that’s the definition of insanity. These blogs explain the fantasy-based nature of Christianity in more detail:

Believing in mythology is like trying to hike across America using a maritime chart of the Indian Ocean for directions. Plus, you’re stuck with a traveling companion who forces you to act the way Indian fishermen acted 2000 years ago, and he constantly tells you you’re not good enough. Accepting that you’re lost, and looking at the universe from an honest, scientific perspective, is like hiking around America with a wilderness survival guide, and your traveling companion is Sherlock Holmes.

If you’re losing faith in mythology, and you’re worried about what to do with your life after you throw away your map of the Indian Ocean, just climb to the top of a mountain, and look down at the forests and fields below you. Not one single tree, flower, or blade of grass is stressing about what to do with their life. They’re just drinking in the universe and reaching for the skies. If you were to look at yourself, standing on top of a mountain, eye-level with the clouds, you’d realize you’re already doing the exact same thing, and it’ll make you feel so alive, that the last thing on your mind will be death.

Of course, everyone can’t spend their whole life meditating on a mountaintop, but why would you want to when there are so many other experiences to be had, problems to be solved and wonderful people to be met? Frankly, you were going to spend your whole life chasing experiences anyway, whether you claim to believe in religion or not. You can just do it more effectively when you’re not blinded, gagged and crippled by fictional, mythological beliefs.

You can look at the mystery of life as an eternal curse, or you can look at it as an endless opportunity. The universe might not look as scary if you focused on how amazing it is. Maybe we’re not even really lost. Maybe we’re already home, or maybe this is what it’s like to leave the nest. Maybe what we’re supposed to be doing is using the tools we were given to fulfill our potential and not just sit around on our knees talking to ourselves and beating ourselves up for failing to live up to the moral standards of primitive cultures.

If you want to know more about living well without mythology, you may find these posts useful:

Biker Philosophy

Ethics

Thinking

Atheism and Agnosticism


Reasons to be kind outside of religion

pexels-photo-420748

A cosmic appreciation for life

Think about this. Everything that exists in the universe is made of atoms, which are made of energy vibrations, which have been rearranging themselves according to brilliant mathematical equations for about 14 billion years. This energy is inanimate, and yet it possesses the instructions and power to assemble itself into living, breathing, reproducing, feeling, supercomputers that are supported by a growing, healing frame that’s wrapped in layers of pulleys and levers that work in tandem to create an acrobatic range of motion. Human beings are cosmic mysteries, 14 billion years in the making.

Reality is amazing. If you’re not impressed by life or the universe then you’re not paying attention. To anyone who is paying attention, it’s blatantly obvious that life is infinitely valuable. You don’t need a prophet to tell you that it’s wrong to hurt or kill people. You just need to open your eyes and appreciate life.

We’re all we’ve got.

Healthy babies will die in their cribs if they’re never touched. Solitary confinement is considered cruel and unusual punishment even for violent criminals.Nobody wants to spend the rest of their life alone, and everyone’s best memories are of times they spent with the people they loved. We need each other to survive, and we’re all we’ve got.

Sam Harris may have said it best when he said, “Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?”

If you’re looking for a reason to care about people, just go look someone in the eyes, and watch them looking back at you, affirming your existence. If you ever get lonely, you can go talk to that person, and they’ll share a whole universe of ideas and stories with you. They’ll make you laugh, cry, shout, relax, orgasm and all around live. They’re a reflection of yourself and a portal to another world. As cruel as people can be, we all know from personal experience that people are worth living for and protecting.

The war debt

Countless soldiers have died horrific, selfless deaths protecting your ancestors. Countless civilians have dedicated their entire lives to studying the universe, solving problems and improving the world those soldiers died protecting. Everyone who has ever held a job is a cog in the machine that turned the savage wilderness into cities with electricity and plumbing. Granted, there have been a lot of horrible, selfish people who left the world a worse place than they found it, but that just means we owe even more of a debt of gratitude to the people who carried the slackers’ share of the burden.

Even if our actions don’t have any consequences in the afterlife, it’s still logical to be grateful when someone does something nice for you. We stand on the shoulders of giants, and we owe a lifetime of gratitude to every one of our ancestors who fought, worked and died so we could have a better life than they did. The best way we can show our gratitude to them is to continue their legacy and improve the world for future generations. The very least we can do is not be mean and tear down the world we were given.

Fulfilling humanity’s potential

It’s not a burden of responsibility to strive to make the world better by doing things as small as being kind to strangers or as big as devoting your life to curing cancer. It’s an opportunity to be a part of something amazing and meaningful. Look at how far humans have come in 10,000 years. We went from living in caves to flying to the moon. Humanity’s knowledge and skills have been increasing at an exponential rate, and we’re very close to reaching a tipping point in technology that will revolutionize civilization more than the invention of the steam engine or the internet. That’s worth being a part of just because it’ll be fun, and it’s not like we have anything better to do. Why not play a part in fulfilling humanity’s potential?

Sure, we might not personally reap all the benefits, but at least we can enter eternal sleep with a clear conscience, and we can rest well knowing our descendants will have a better life than we did. And if you’re having trouble finding meaning in life outside of religion, or you’re still a little worried about your actions being judged after death, you can find relief in making the world a better place. If it turns out that life really is meaningless, and nothing matters, at least you’ll have spent your life feeling good about your actions.

A spiritual but not religious apreciation for the divine

Agnostics and people who are “spiritual but not religious” are willing to concede that there may be some force somewhere in the universe that fits some definition of the word, “God.” If there is a God, it would be nice to know it’s true name, but we play the hand we’re dealt, and agnostics are comfortable with appreciating The Artist’s work without knowing The Artist’s name. That simple, general sense of gratitude and respect for a vaguely defined, theoretical God still tends to inspire half-believers to treat God’s creations with respect and reverence.

Many half-believers also speculate that God is everywhere and that humans are a reflection of God. Without outright believing in those two statements, the mere possibility of them being true still motivates some nonreligious people to respect life as much (if not more) than anyone who believes in ancient mythology.

Pascal’s Wager (modified)

Blaise Pascal posed the question (and I’m paraphrasing), “Isn’t it safer to believe in Jesus and be wrong, than to not believe in Jesus and be wrong?” This question is illogical for at least two reasons. First, Christianity is easily falsifiable. It’s blatantly mythology. Being a Christian doesn’t require faith in the absence of evidence. It requires active denial of reality in the face of overwhelming evidence.  Secondly, believing in Christian mythology is no more logical than believing in Buddhist or Hindu mythology. So there’s no advantage to picking Christianity over any other random mythology.

Still, the question raises an interesting point. Anything could have happened before the universe came into existence, and anything could happen after we die. We don’t know for sure that our actions will have any repercussions in the afterlife, but why not play it safe and try to behave while we’re here on Earth, just in case?

Of course, that raises the question, how do you know what’s immoral if you don’t have an instruction book written by a prophet? The answer is to think and talk about ethics using the brain and mouth you were given. There are logic-based moral codes out there that are far more humane and productive than mythology-based moral codes.

Atheists may laugh at agnostics for trying to guess what their vaguely defined, theoretical, laissez faire God wants them to do. I’m not saying atheists are wrong, but they’re faulting people for hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Hope doesn’t cost anything, but hopelessness can literally kill you. And if fear of the unknown motivates people to do what they were supposed to be doing anyway then… that’s convenient.

Immediate karma and karma ghosts

Our actions may not determine our quality of afterlife, but they do determine the quality of our experiences in the immediate present. If we spend all day being mean to people, we’ll experience an angry, ugly day. If we spend all day being nice to people, we’ll experience a full day of pleasantness. If we’re mean for 20,000 days straight, we’ll have a lifetime of painful memories to look back on. If we’re nice for 20,000 days straight, we’ll have a lovely life to look back on.

There may not be a supernatural incentive program at work that magically causes good deeds to come back to good people and bad deeds to haunt bad people. However, we do live in the world we create. If you piss off everyone in town, you’re going to live in an unfriendly town. If you’re nice to everyone in town, you’ll inspire everyone to be nice to each other, and everyone will keep “paying it forward,” creating a self-perpetuating cycle of kindness. If we keep being nice to each other, eventually we won’t have to lock our doors at night or carry weapons for self-defense. So, without even getting philosophical, kindness is just practical.

Humility

Religions tend to divide mankind into “the chosen” and “the unworthy,” “the good” and “the evil,” “the saved” and “the damned.” Scientific thinkers don’t have any reason to divide humanity into any such categories. From a scientific point of view, everyone comes from the same place. Everyone had their ass wiped when they were children, and everyone’s shit stinks. Everyone’s body breaks down, and in the end we all die. You can’t level up into a more transcendental being. No matter what we do or believe, we’ll always just be walking, talking puddles of dirty water.

At the same time, we’re also cosmic miracles. We’re biological robots with supercomputers in our heads that are smart and strong enough to reshape the universe itself. A lot of care and effort went into designing us. The evidence points to the conclusion that we’re all equally, infinitely valuable…. puddles of dirty water.

As smart and powerful as we are though, we were born existentially blind. We don’t and can’t know the final answers to life’s mysteries. We’re just stranded in this cold, lonely universe to stand or fall on our own. Since we don’t and can’t know what the point of life is, it doesn’t make sense to punish the hell out of people during life or after death for getting the point wrong. We’re all equally beautiful, and we’re also equally big screw ups. At the end of the day, we’re all family too. The only logical conclusion to come to in life is that we should celebrate, forgive and help each other.

However you felt about this post, you’ll probably feel the same way about these:

Biker Philosophy

Ethics

Thinking

Atheism and Agnosticism


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