Beyond Atheism and Theism: The Shocking Truth
With Rev. John D. Allee
It is the first century of a new millennium and here in the United States, there is a cultural conflict between Christians and a new generation of atheists, invigorated by the popularity of British scientist, Richard Dawkins. According to both groups, you are either a believer or a non-believer and agnostics are simply a bunch of cowards who can't make up their minds. Well, I'd like to introduce some new ideas which will shed a different light on some of these old ideas.
While we continue to discuss these issues, I'd like to divert your attention to the following graphic depicting the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Note that the left brain functions deal with external, objective matters and the right side deals with internal, subjective matters. This graphic is very important for one seeking to explain the conflict between atheism and theism.
LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
words and language
present and past
math and science
knows object name
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
"big picture" oriented
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
knows object function
Let's look at Theism, with a primary emphasis on Islam and Christianity: the believer's focus primarily deals with the right brain. Left brain functions (reason, logic) are manipulated by external forces - the written word, dogmatic principles. As a result, popular religion can be dangerous and delusional.
Those who proselytize will tell you that you must worship their invisible friend. If you do not, you will be branded an infidel or burn in a lake of fire for all eternity. Furthermore, if their invisible friend does not like your invisible friend, war could result, lasting for centuries! The radical theist will blow up a clinic, strap on a bomb, attempt suicide or fly a plane into a building, all for this invisible friend. Obviously, capturing the imagination is more important than presenting facts. That's why advertising agencies, politicians and religious leaders have discovered ways to access the right side of your brain, completely bypassing critical analysis from the left. As a result, we have become a race of corporate zombies and theistic slaves.
Well, whenever you have behavior modification on this grand a scale, eventually there will come some form of resistance - a backlash. There is now a popular movement afoot to counter this madness: militant atheism.
The militant atheist says he is in charge of the left side of the brain, mistrusting his intuition and imagination. He is convinced that he has achieved some sort of "balance" since he is no longer fettered by the challenges of a right brained universe filled with thoughts, ideas, dreams and endless possibilities.
The militant atheist is primarily a nihilist who has managed to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And like any social movement, militant atheism does not promote free thought or individual sovereignty. Like the theist, they seek validation in a consensus reality where all atheists think alike.
The atheist says there is but one way to prove whether God is real or not: the scientific method. Now, I can see using science to test the physical properties of substances or how things react in an environment. But testing reality? That's a rather broad area. In the first place, reality is something the human brain experiences on an objective and subjective level. Certainly, Professor Richard Dawkins learned that when he published his book entitled, "The Selfish Gene," where he introduced the concept of memes. Dawkins attempts to explain how cultural ideas, symbols and practices are transmitted from one mind to another. Meme theory was an attempt to codify what is invariably a right brain function, which of course can't be proven empirically. So Dawkins was scientifically debunked by his atheist buddies who are apt to scoff at things like analytical psychology.
The truth is, subjective reality operates on an entirely different set of principles from objective reality and one person's experience will not necessarily be the same as the next person's. Sometimes, a cigar is not a phallic symbol - it's just a cigar - then, sometimes it is a phallic symbol. The point is not to prove whether something is true for everyone, but whether it is true for you.
Believing in weird or strange things is not necessarily bad for you. It is important to critique WHAT people choose to belief and HOW they intend to apply it.
Believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster?? GREAT, I have no problem with that. In fact, that idea can be very empowering if you think about it the right way. But if you tell me the Big Cheese is going to send the Spaghetti into a flaming lake of marinara to boil for eternity and that all must kneel before the Holy Fork or die? THEN I have a problem with you because, at that point, you become an immediate threat to others.
Now there are some people out there who put their faith in cold, hard reality. But when I further question these individuals, I find a wide disparity. It seems one person's version of cold, hard reality is not the same as the next guy's. The materialist can't run or hide from the fact that even he processes reality using both sides of his brain, whether he is willing to admit it or not. Absolutely everyone on the planet has a subjective slant or bias to their thinking and if they tell you otherwise, they are kidding themselves.
I find it odd that the father of the scientific method, Galileo, was a famous astronomer and astrologer as well. He actually charted horoscopes and got paid for it. Militant atheists denounce this practice, but are quick to employ Galileo's methods when it suits their purpose. The militant atheist will tell you that the only scientists qualified to test the veracity of a claim are those with the proper credentials. And even then, before a claim can be verified, it must be rigorously scrutinized and endorsed by all his peers. But such a process has been tainted and corrupted by those with money, power and authority.
And so we have two opposing forces, militant atheism and radical theism. Both are fearful of the day when, using both sides of your brain, you begin to weigh the evidence and then draw your own conclusions.
Would you like to test the veracity of Galileo's belief in astrology? Here's a suggestion: have a reliable source chart your horoscope for the next six months. Tuck that information safely away where you can't see it. Next, keep an accurate and detailed diary for that period of time. At the end of the six month period, take out the charts, the diary, and then compare notes. And here's where you may want to utilize the scientific method:
Are your astrological charts falsifiable? Are they worded vaguely and in such a way that they could be applied to almost every situation? If so, you may want to stop right there and proceed no further. If on the other hand, if the predictions are repeatedly true with a high rate of accuracy, say 80 to 100 per cent, you may want to examine astrology further.
The bottom line is that ultimately, only you can decide if a claim has any viability. Self ownership is where we can think unobstructed, using both sides of our brain, no longer relying on others to shape our opinions. It is reaching beyond atheism and theism, into something I’ve labeled “apotheism” and it's the next stage of human development.
Apotheism comes from the word, "apotheosis" and it is all about self-deification, discovering your own divinity. Of course, this is easier said than done. One is either self owned or one is not. For those of you who would like to embark upon this journey, we wrote what could best be described as a book for the average layperson on dialectic thinking entitled, "Right and Left of Center: Finding Balance In your Mundane and Magical Life." It is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and various other sellers.
I hope you found this presentation interesting and informative. Thank you for listening.