Frye Lake, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming

Frye Lake, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

THEISTIC TERMS, WITH SECULAR INTERPRETATIONS
(These interpretations are simplistic and subjective.)

 

Blessed: Privileged.

Blessed with: Endowed; manifested with; fate has enabled with. 

Coincidences: Are precisely those. Events (all are predetermined) can and do occur simultaneously.

Creator: Nonbelievers typically spell creator with a lower case "c", and define their creator as nature.        

Creation by divine creator (supreme being): Myth. There is no universal agreement upon a theory of origin of the universe. Most cosmologists simply ignore creationist ideas, and espouse either a Big Bang or Steady State theory.  

Creation science: Based on Christian or other religious myth, not science.              

Divine guidance: A special communication of knowledge, or influence on the minds of human beings, attributed by clerics to a supernatural agency.

Divine providence and divine intervention: Only the good consequences of coincidence and predetermination.       

Evangelicalism: Proclaims that accepting Jesus Christ as one's personal savior (being “saved”) absolves a person of all previous wrongdoing. Evangelical networks are (to me) analogous to multilevel marketing: they exploit Christian beliefs, and provide rewards for recruitment. Appears to be a form of social programming which values outward declarations of faith over scientific, logical, and free thought, or acts of humanity. Evangelicalism is losing adherents, and has been declining as a religious faith in the 2000s. Article:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0310/p09s01-coop.html

Free will: According to people with a deterministic perspective, free will is an illusion; a fallacy, because all is predetermined. So it would follow that humans never act “freely”. From Britannica: Arguments for free will are based on the subjective experience of freedom, on sentiments of guilt, on revealed religion, and on the universal supposition of responsibility for personal actions that underlies the concepts of law, reward, punishment, and incentive. (Free Will. [2013]. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.) An analogous problem obtains regarding God's omniscience: if God, being omniscient, has foreknowledge of every choice that humans make, how can humans choose other than what God knows they will choose? (Moral Responsibility, Problem of. [2013]. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.) A nonbeliever’s possible response to the statement “God gave me free will” might be: If God is the prime mover—the first cause of all things and events in the universe, including human actions, how can humans do other than what God has caused them to do? How then can humans be morally responsible for their actions?

God: There is no universally accepted definition of this term.  This blog finds "Nature" and "God" to be synonymous terms in describing our beautiful and profoundly mysterious universe. The Christian anthropomorphic god was created by man in the image of man.

God's will, or Karma: Nature, determinism, cause-effect, coincidence, predetermination, or fate.            

Heaven: Ideal and imaginary perfect place, with equivalents in many religions. Fear-based reward for good behavior (or bad behavior which has been forgiven); alternative to Hell. It may be attained if a person is “saved,” or if forgiveness is granted by clergy performing last rites (regardless of crimes committed in life). The idea of life simply ending at death is too fearful for many to contemplate. Heaven is a convenient avoidance concept - avoidance of responsibility for all wrongdoing, and avoidance of thoughts of decomposition of one's mind and body. We are simply born, transmit our DNA, and die. 

Hell: In most religious traditions, the opposite of heaven.

Higher power: Usually an imaginary, anthropomorphic entity (see God). To satisfy others who insist I must select a higher power, I respond that my higher power is a truth, obtained through clear, unrestricted and logical thought. (Of course, I am aware that there is no absolute truth, only varying degrees of ambiguity, perception and understanding. And an individual’s truth will differ from truth as perceived by others.) 

Holy spirit: Imaginary presence of the “spirit” of God, or Christ. No evidence for holy spirit exists, nor does faith require there to be.

Holy trinity: Father, son, and holy ghost (or holy spirit). Is God God, or is God Jesus? Who or what is the holy spirit or the holy ghost? Why is God sometimes referred to as Lord God, and Jesus is referrred to as Lord Jesus? These inconsistencies and incongruencies seem incoherent to the nonbeliever.  

Immaculate conception: Myth of virgin birth.  

Intelligent design theory: "Intelligent design is not a testable theory in any sense, and as such it is not accepted by the scientific community." –Kenneth Miller, PhD., Brown University faculty.

Miracle: Either a myth arising from the embellished retelling of an ordinary event, or an actual natural event misinterpreted and stressed for moral effect or to support belief in divine power (the supernatural).

Mother of God: Mary, as recited in the Catholic Rosary.

Omnipotence and Omniscience: Epicurus (330 BC) opined: Either God can prevent evil and chooses not to (and therefore is not good) or chooses to prevent it and cannot (and therefore is not all-powerful.) David Hume, in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) wrote, "If God cannot rid the world of evil and suffering, he is not all-powerful; if he could, but he won't, then he isn't all-good; if he is powerful and good but not all-wise, then, even though he is trying his best, there are bound to be disasters." Averroes (1126-1198) also examined an omnipotence paradox: "Could (God) create a stone so heavy that even he could not lift it? If he could lift the rock, then it seems that he would not have been omnipotent to begin with, in that he would have been incapable of creating a heavy enough stone. If he could not lift the stone, then he would never have been omnipotent to begin with, or would have ceased to be omnipotent upon his creation of the stone." (Omnipotence paradox. [2013, June 9]. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:04, July 6, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Omnipotence_paradox&oldid=559126790 )

Prayer: The action of fervently or strongly wishing or hoping for an event, condition or circumstance, or of beseeching an imaginary entity.

Preordained: Fate (the logical consequences of predetermined events). 

Prophecy:  Knowledge of the future, usually attributed to a divine source.

Salvation (being “saved”): Required before entry into heaven. Forgiveness of all “sins” and wrongdoing, no matter how inhuman. Implies a fear of death. I believe individual humans must take legal and moral responsibility for the consequences of all their actions in the past, present and future.

Sin: Acts which are in conflict with written or implied religious teachings.

Spirit: No evidence for spirit exists.       

Spiritual and spirituality: Misused terms of convenience, at times used indiscriminately, to explain gods, ghosts, unexplainable or apparently supernatural/paranormal mysteries, or used as metaphor for profound thought. False concepts, because the supernatural cannot exist. "Spiritual" people claim access to supernatural beings, states or realms. The "holy spirit" or "holy ghost" is a Christian mythical construct. 

Truth: There are countless differing opinions on what constitutes truth - how to define and identify it; the roles that faith-based and empirically-based knowledge play, and whether truth is subjective, objective, relative, or absolute. For most secularists, God and heaven are nonexistent; the universe is deterministic, infinite, eternal, harmonious, and systematic. Truth-seeking must oppose flawed, illogical, erroneous, delusional, or fallacious thinking. There is value in the very act of searching for truths that may ever remain elusive. The search alone may reveal the incoherence and hypocrisy of traditional belief systems. Contemplation, introspection, critical thinking, and valid, empirical research are essential processes in the evolution of evidence-based truth. The truth one discovers is his or hers alone; it need only be supported by evidence one deems sufficient. One who continues to value and seek truth is continually rewarded with new wisdom. As one's deepest truths are found, one must live them.

Worship: 1. Culturally-defined rituals, obeisance to a mythical being, and/or beliefs in the supernatural. 2. (Britannica): Broadly defined, the response to the appearance of that which is accepted as holy - that is, to a sacred, transcendent power or being. Characteristic modes of response to the holy include cultic acts of all kinds: ritual drama, prayers of many sorts, ecstatic speech, veneration of various persons and objects, sermons, silent meditation, and sacred music and song. Also included in worship are acts of private response: spoken or unspoken prayers, silence, the assumption of particular postures, ritual acts and gestures, and individual acts of veneration of persons or objects. (worship. [2013]. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica)

Will Walsh © 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

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