In Perfect Harmony

How to trust your brain.

Turns out the way, the truth, and the life, is really the half way, the half truth, and a half a life—and it meddles with nature, a serious setback.

Holding to faith as the pinnacle of religious virtue, it has created a great famine of original thought and stunted the collective growth of the species. But we were told it was so much more than it is, which is fine if you never examine any other ways of thinking, or being.

Even atheism with its functional, unlimited connection and hope for humanity—to grant every inhabitant of the planet equal asylum, surpasses religious morality with ethical behavior—simply a more natural, organic development based on fairness.

Religions in general have failed to accept nature as boss. But in the end, after all the information-gathering research, decisions are made by hunches, snap judgments from somewhere in the consciousness, and often against your own judgment. Hunches that have billions of people raising families and living in homes and going on holiday. To the pious skeptic regarding the natural man, isn’t this a testament to the effectiveness of nature and the brain? The more we try to fix the world and shoehorn religious ideals into the public forum, the more we have to look around and say, wow! everyone seems to be getting along just fine, with or without my belief. Nature is best left alone to do its thing. Be happy with that and leave it be—it’s a lot smarter than you think.

It brings in to play innate and spontaneous intelligence by using it without forcing it. It is fundamental to both the Taoist and Confucian thought, that the natural man is to be trusted, and from their standpoint it appears that the western mistrust of human nature is a kind of schizophrenia”—Alan Watts

This point of view is that the brain is a fundamental organism of nature and is to be trusted without coercion, which is evidenced by the success of humanity—in spite of the various commandments and synthetic religious dogmas. Even the Native American traditions exemplified this process.

I am the walrus, 2020

If The Religious Were Truly Honest

How loving god has proved an impossible task.

Lord, I know I have been commanded to love you, but you bore me—you’re too demanding, authoritarian, and domineering. I probably ought to love you—but I’m sorry, I don’t. So rather than lie to you and everyone else I’m going to be straight with you”—Alan Watts

You think an honest expression of your feelings would be disruptive to the church? Not at all. If you are honest and say; I’m not doing this because I love you, or because even I like you—but because the book says I must. And I hate this whole hypocrisy game so here’s the deal.

Making a bargain that is most sensible and honest (for you really ought not to ever lie nor pretend when it comes to religious matters) it would go something like this; Lord, I really don’t love you (although I have tried) and I really often doubt you were the one, but for now I will go along with it to keep harmony in the family, church community, business, or whatever the benefit is (social insecurities) That type of honesty would nurture the inclusion the churches preach, but never attain.

It is formidable to admit unbelief, or non-love of god in the churches. There is much pressure to say you do, even when you don’t, even for an outright atheist.

The command to genuinely love god is the breakdown

Ought one maintain the pretense of love after entering a covenant with the Lord, or should we now see how we can provide ourselves with these spiritual conveniences? First the initiate attempts the first, then your inner self, your consciousness, your personality, the pragmatic side, the you you can’t insist away, demands the second—so you do. And then you go inserting things into the religion you can tolerate. Creating your own scripture to add to the very book that which nothing can be added. You cannot stop you, from being you, any more than you can insist your blood to stop flowing by hoping.

The demand of God to love Him above all else is to assume you can command the true feelings of your heart. “The moment that you subscribe to the idea that your inner feelings can be commanded, you have opened the door to hypocrisy“—Alan Watts

If you tell someone you love them, but know in your heart that you do not love them—your a liar. And the more you insist on that lie, the more you feel it’s your duty to usurp your true feelings, merely gesturing (pretending) to love that other person, the more you get into trouble. Because in love, if anywhere, the truth will win out. You will not be able to sustain the pretense. You will not have the energy to mock the real feeling of love. You all may say that you love the lord, but the actions of the churches (composed of its members) say you tired of that years ago—about 2000 of them

Real honesty is the authentic basis of morality. Real honesty is not pretending that your feelings are other than they are, so you keep your deal inward because the desire to conform is greater than our respect for objective facts. At the foundation of Christianity we’ve been commanded to love someone we readily admit we can’t comprehend and, other than a couple of neat sermons has shown to be difficult at best to love within our human ability. That would wear anybody down to the nubs.

And by the way, who wants someone to pretend to love them, when they don’t? Certainly not the Lord nor the man or woman. You may want to love god but you really don’t.

Conformity implicitly makes history. The world has seen enough of this type of pretense and would benefit itself to write some different chapters.

Real Faith—The Faith of an Atheist

How atheists show the greatest faith of all—but it’s not what they think

It is not about the science. Atheism is the ultimate expression of faith—letting go of the idols of gods with complete confidence in the central mystery—we are the midst of it, swimming in it and completely surrounded. We are It. How else would you know but that it is so central as our being we cannot consciously recognize it.

Atheism in the informal sense is a profoundly religious attitude. An attitude in life of total trust of letting go. When we form images of god they are all really exhibitions of our lack of faith—something to hold on to, something to grasp.

When we don’t grasp we have the attitude of faith. If you let go of all the idols of faith you will of course discover that what this unknown is precisely, the foundation of the universe, which is precisely you.

It is not the you you think you are (it is not your opinion of yourself) it is not your idea or image of yourself, it is not the chronic sense of muscular strain which we usually call “I” You can’t grasp it, of course not, why would you need to? Suppose you could, what would you do with it? You could never get at it!”.

And so there is the profound central mystery of the attitude of faith—to stop chasing it, to stop grabbing it. Because if that happens the most amazing things follow. All these ideas of the spiritual, the godly as this attitude of “must“—”And we have laid down the laws which we are all bound to follow“. This is not the only way of being religious and relating to the inefable mystery that underlies ourselves in the world—you.

If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go“—Alan Watts

Physics and philosophy are converging into what is, while religion, the restrictive band (the choke point) is digging another ancient foothold to maintain control through fear and deprecation—

Brainwashing or Conversion?

How tools to manipulate self are inherent to conversion.

I recently read a blog where a woman was asking the audience if she should join Islam, the religion of her boyfriend of six years—his family didn’t know she was an infidel, and they were scheduled to meet the parents in a few weeks. Should she join with the Muslim faith to appease her boyfriend? I reviewed these steps to religious conversion after posting my reply.

In no precise order, and often overlapping:

1. New Identity—Although not always mandatory, a name change is required if her given name was an affront to Islam (Christina) It is common in many religions to assume a new name after conversion. Catholics, muslims, mormon, Hindus, and more. If no new name is officially or ritually given, aligning with the group is done voluntarily. Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Mormon, etc. Giving up your old identity and assuming a new, is just part of the program.

2. Guilt—You are bad. You are born a fallen sinner. Your sin is so grievous in fact, is as though your sin is driving the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet. As a sinner you are eternally separated from the presence of god. Your body is a temple that you have defiled with the ways of the world. You continue to make the lord suffer by your disobedience. He loves you.

3. Self-betrayal—Agree with me that you are bad. Once the prospect agrees that they are worthless without god, they can begin to see their own dilemma before the lord—not a highly evolved organism, but a child of god. Don’t you know what you are? You want to come from monkeys?

4. Breaking point—I am a sinner. I am not a good person nor could I possibly live a peaceful life knowing I am worthless. I need to be saved.

5. Leniency—You can be forgiven of all your sins if you simply believe, confess your sins, repent and be baptized. You want to be forgiven, don’t you? You want to return to god.

6. Compulsion to confess—Confess your sins, often to a clergy member, or authority. I am a sinner lord.

7. Channeling of guilt—the investigators guilt has lost all meaning—he’s not sure what he has done wrong, he just knows he is wrong. Things he didn’t know were wrong, are now wrong. This confusion creates something of a blank slate that lets the teacher fill in the blanks.

8. Releasing of guiltIt’s not me; it’s my beliefs. The embattled soul is relieved to learn there is an external cause of his wrongness, that it is not he himself that is inescapably bad—he was born this way because of the act of another. This means he can escape his wrongness by escaping the wrong belief system, or lack of one. All he has to do is denounce the people and institutions associated with that belief system, and he won’t suffer guilt anymore. The investigator has the power to release himself from wrongness by abandoning his old belief system. With his full confessions, the convert has completed his psychological rejection of his former identity. It is now up to the teacher to offer the prospect a new one. Scapgoating…placing your burdens on another to make you whole. Relief and salvation. I am saved, and I will now be a faithful follower.

9. Progress and harmony—Friendships and alliances form. New family, friends, phrases, I belong here. This is good. Backslapping, hugs and joy. You’re in!

10. Final confession and rebirthI choose good. Contrasting the agony of the old with the peacefulness of the new, the convert chooses the new identity, clinging to it like a life preserver. He rejects his old or non-belief system and pledges allegiance to the new one that is going to make his life better. At this final stage, there are often rituals or ceremonies to induct the converted target into his new community. This stage has been described by some brainwashing victims as a feeling of “rebirth.”

You may have guessed by now, but these are not conversion tactics listed in the numbered headings, but brainwashing techniques discovered by Robert J Lifton used on POWs in N Korean and Chinese camps. Conversion merely follows the same steps.

Here is one version of the sinners prayer. Don’t worry, I’m not fooling you into salvation…but it contains the elements.

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that will ever be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures. Father, I take you at your word. I thank you that I can face death now that you are my Savior. Thank you for the assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Grasping at Straws—A Lecture on Faith

How faith supports evolution in a self serving grasp of ego.

All our efforts at a spiritual life are prompted by self-interest—Alan Watts

Yet again, the promise of Christianity to make one a better person through faith, to dispose self interest for the greater good of mankind, to nobly tame the natural man through the submission of will actually intensifies self interest. The intent does not produce the desired outcome—again. Christians are Christians at the promise of reward and the escape of death. Fear is the underlying motivation of all perceived good in the name of religion. God (the writers) would have you believe you are doing it to please God, but the farther one goes into fundamental belief the more arrogant and self serving that interest becomes.

Psychotherapy and liberation are completed in the moment when shame and guilt collapse, when the organism is no longer compelled to defend itself for being an organism, and when the individual is ready to own his unconscious behavior”—Alan Watts Psychotherapy East & West (1961)

Be-lief comes from the Anglo-Saxon root lief, which means to “wish.” Belief is the fervent hope that certain things are true. A wish

Faith is contrary to evolutionary laws of altruism and self sacrifice for the good of others. Promoting the general welfare through be-lief has put obedience to pious men of words above natural good sense and love—Talk about living a conflicted life. The harder one tries the farther they get from the destination. Like the expanding universe, the more we measure our lives through faith, the farther away they delve into confusion and self interest—the self perpetuating life of grasping at straws.