Friday, May 20, 2011
Where Atheists And Eckists Can Agree
One week ago, while having dinner with my Eckist sister-in-law Krimhilde, and Atheist friend of 40 years, Rick, the topic came up on whether there might exist commonalities though one (Eckankar) is based on spiritual approaches, and Atheism withholds belief or acceptance in anything spiritual other than what transpires in the brain's OAA or 'Orientation Association Area'. As pointed out in previous blogs the OAA translates an image into a religious reality. This image might be anything from a picture (artist's rendering) of Christ, to a page in a bible, or a specific quotation therein. Whatever it is, the mere physical image is transmogrified by the brain into something real and important.
So is there anything on which Eckists and Atheists could agree? The consensus of the extended conversation, not including various divergences was the following would make the short list:
(1) There is no "afterlife" in the sense of some final good or bad place analogous to heaven and hell. This is what Stephen Hawking recently said it was, a "fairy story". Eckists for their part believe people return after death via multiple reincarnations until purified. After final purification and consummation, after their final incarnation, the fully mastered soul transfers to a state of Unitary Nothingness. (The 'Nirvana' in Buddhist terminology). Meanwhile, Atheists accept the Nothingness doesn't wait for any reincarnations and occurs immediately at death. You're here one minute, and gone the next (apologies to the kid - Coleton Burpo- featured on a recent ABC news segment who was claimed to have out 'argued' Hawking on the issue since he was said to have "died" at age four and come back. Sorry, kiddo, unless the account is published- not necessarily by you in an authorized, peer-reviewed journal it's mere anecdote). See e.g.:
(2) The Bible is an imperfect and incomplete guide to obtaining the truth and in any case, most people aren't equipped to read it properly and parse for corrections in language, metaphors used, or the loss of signal that arises from multiple translations. As Rick also put it:"And saying God inspired it isn't worth very much if there are thousands of errors and contradictions! I mean, what kind of inspiration is that? Not much!" Krimhilde concurred asserting that no Eckist would ever be instructed to simply live their lives based on a book written by nomadic sheep herders 2,000 years ago. As she put it: There is so MUCH truth to be learned and absorbed. To think it's all in just one single book, and 2,000 years old at that, is totally insane!" She also agreed with Rick that the majority of bible-obsessed folk are under-educated which shows in their myopia. They mentioned the same statistic that 2 of every 3 "bible-punchers" only have a high school education. Hardly the basis to qualify for having one's opinions taken seriously.
(3) "Sin" is a macguffin invented by religions to keep humans in an inferior state as opposed to attaining mastery over their lives. Sin is also a ridiculous concept. As Rick put it, how can a finite tiny flesh being "offend" a supposed infinite Being? it's totally ludicrous. If such a Being existed one could no more offend it than an ant could offend a human ten billion times its size by attacking the human's boot with his antenna!
(4) There is no such thing as "original sin" since infants can't enter the world with any such millstones. Original sin is merely a confection of theological idiots who take the "Adam & Eve" story literally. Humans are evolved apes and thus their behavior is totally explicable in terms of our Simian past.
(5) There is no such thing or event as a "Rapture". Krimhilde observed this is an invention of a Scottish girl and she learned of it herself while living near Edinburgh, Scotland, in the early 1960s. People in pubs laughed that anyone could be so dumb or naive as to take it seriously. So much for that. (Rick merely rolled his eyes).
Bottom line here: even people coming from widely disparate positions on spirituality and whether it is real or not, can agree on certain basic insights.