Showing posts with label Atheism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atheism. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Plato's Cave Is Not An Atheist Revelation, It's A Longing For The Gods

The Analogy of Plato's Cave has fascinated many different kinds of people and groups, and continues to influence our imaginations and philosophies to this day. Everyone seems to draw their own interpretation based on whatever area of interest they want to insert into the opening. Atheists in particular enjoy using it as an argument against theism, suggesting that the shadows on the walls are illusions of Gods made by men for the sake of holding people in control, and that to break out into the light of the day is to become atheistic. This has grown to be a dominant interpretation, or at least one used among the most often. However, this is not the case at all. 

In our examination, we must first begin with the clear fact that Plato was no atheist, and neither was Socrates. And secondly, that they also clearly believed in the Greek Gods. Not only were they theists, but polytheists. This makes Plato's Cave a little more revealing because caves were sometimes considered precincts of Gods themselves; starting points of holy and sacred places of worship and wisdom. People who went into these caves did not go there to be chained or shown illusions, but rather, to connect with the Gods.

When Plato talks about the shadows and illusions of the cave being all that men are shown, what he's saying is that there is only so much that the human mind can perceive about life and this world, that it's not possible for humans to know everything. Our capacity is limited in many respects. However, to come out into the light, or into the Sun which was considered a God that touched all things and descends from the realm of the Divine, is to be able to see more through the wisdom and guidance of the Higher Powers of the world, aka the Gods. Plato's Cave is actually something which suggests that, without the Gods, without the guidance of the Higher Powers above, man is bound to nothing more than what his own eyes can see, which is sometimes shadows at best. Humans are extremely bound to a limited perception, and it is by the light of the Gods that we see more. 

Plato and Socrates were men who not only understood man's lack of knowledge when relying entirely on himself, but also, as Socrates put it, I know that I know nothing. The Cave is a reflection of this unknowing that man still possesses in many ways to this very day. We come out of the darkness and into the light through the Gods who know all things, and it is this natural light from above that allows us to not only be free of our chains, but to actually see where we are going. It gives direction to our lives, and therefore meaning and purpose. The biggest problem, which is also elaborated on in the Cave, is that there are some in the Cave who are content with the ignorance and don't want to move, even becoming hostile toward those who try to set them free. The reason for this is because, even today, in many subjects, men are content with what they want to believe and how they want to see the world. This is especially revealed in things like politics, where millions of people will support their candidate no matter what they do, or what surrounds them. The facts are irrelevant, and therefore, they are content with the images they are shown. They simply don't want their worldview to be upset, as is the case with some of the Cave inhabitants. This isn't a slap at spirituality, it's simply an acknowledgement of the sloth and confirmation bias of the human mind. We would often rather be comfortable in our beliefs, than working for the truth.

To come out of the darkness and into the light of the Gods, is to gain the capacity for philosophy, personal examination, free thought, and a liberated life. The Gods wish for no one to be chained. They gave us a mind so we could think and live. To be a philosopher is to love wisdom, and as Plato said, "Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods." To love wisdom is to seek truth, and as Plato also said, "Truth is the beginning of every good to the Gods, and of every good to man."

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Atheistic Paganism???

This post is not to be taken as a doctrine of intolerance, but of historical and intellectual honesty.

There seems to be a new movement popping up in Paganism called "Atheistic Paganism," which consists primarily of people who think they can be Pagan without believing in and worshiping the Pagan Gods.

By definition, Pagan is either someone who believes in the old Pagan Gods, or who worships nature, and therefore recognizes the conscious Divinity of the natural world and universe. Therefore, it would be impossible for an atheist to be a Pagan because Pagans acknowledge Divinity. Atheists do not believe in any form of God, Gods or conscious Divinity. I think the atheist community as whole would agree on that. That's why they're called atheists. It is A-theism, which means an absence of theism. Whereas Pagans believe in Gods or Divinity, which makes them theists. If you believe in a God, Gods, or Divinity, then you are NOT an atheist. You can call yourself a theist; it's ok. It's not a bad thing.

I think many people have confused the adoption of Pagan elements with an inherent constitution of Paganism, such as environmentalism, humanism, and a love for mythology. Pagans are most certainly environmentalists, humanists and mythologists, but just because you love nature, humanity and myth, doesn't necessarily make you a Pagan. No more than admiring Jesus makes you a Christian, or thinking parts of the Torah are beautiful makes you a Jew, or loving India makes you a Hindu. I am sure there are many Christians who enjoy Pagan myth and history as a study, and who are environmentalists and humanists, but that doesn't mean they're Pagans and not Christians. Just because you adopt elements of something, doesn't make you part of the larger whole. Barack Obama is an environmentalist, but still a general Christian. George Galloway is a humanist, but still a Catholic (some claim he's actually converted to Islam). My father-in-law has books on Norse mythology, but he's still an Episcopalian.

Never in all of my life have I heard of a Pagan culture that was atheist. Never in all of my years of study have I read any reputable Pagan material, either from modern or ancient authors, that does not talk about Gods and Goddesses or Divinity. Therefore, the Atheistic Paganism movement is an attempt to redefine what it means to be Pagan, and what it has always meant since the times of ancient.

I'm quite a liberal person, but there has to be standards when known identities are concerned, otherwise the Pagan movement is going to become so skewed that it won't know who it is anymore or where it's going. We have to have at least some basic structure. If you don't want to be Pagan, then don't be Pagan. But don't call yourself Pagan if you're not going to adhere to the structure that Paganism has always had since its first days on this planet, and that it still retains as a whole community.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Humanity Is Not Born Atheist

This post should not be mistaken for a doctrine of intolerance or hate, but simply as a response to those who make the argument I am going to address. 

I've heard time and again atheists make the argument that everyone is born an atheist, that no one comes into life with any knowledge or realization of divinity, and I just have to say, that is utterly false. The reason for this all too common fallacy is the fact that these particular atheists are only used to looking at religion from mainstream modern era, where we have numerous religious schools, institutions, families and resources of all kinds that teach and even indoctrinate and force children and adults into one religion or another, and they assume that such has always been the case. However, it has not, and to see the truth of the matter, we only need to go back to our evolution into the species we are today.

The argument is, no one is born with the knowledge of God.

I would first like to point out that no one is born with the knowledge of anything, other than basic instincts, and no one knows where those come from in the first place. But humans are also not born with the knowledge of science, math, architecture, mechanics, computers, or even how to go to the potty. So just because something is taught to you, does not necessarily mean that it's false. Now as far as the argument itself, humans are not born with the knowledge of any particular deity or doctrine, but it's absolutely not true that humans are born atheists, and I'll tell you why.

When we first came into being, there were no churches, priests, books, schools, or even established religions or spirituality. Yet we felt the belief in higher powers within ourselves. This was a belief that developed as part of our mental and physical makeup, not something that was forced into us from the outside because there were no outside forces to push it. We felt spiritual ourselves, and we developed our own belief systems and established our own religious practices. If humans were born atheists, we would have evolved as atheists. We would have never felt or thought of any such thing as deity, spirituality or religion, certainly not by majority. It simply would not have existed to us. But human beings are naturally spiritual and religious creatures.

Secondly, the human brain develops something called schema. This is the organizational system of the brain for external information, and we are born with this ability which enables us to recognize and interpret patterns in the universe and make conclusions based on those patterns. Patterns = larger intelligence. We are born looking for larger meanings, things bigger than ourselves, and are therefore born looking for divinity and deity. 

Point being, such a construct or mindset is there by the very nature of being human, and it's extremely hard to change or even to convince yourself of something outside of it, which is why human beings have not accepted Atheism by and large throughout their existence as a species. Now, I'm not suggesting that someone does not have the right to believe or not believe whatever they want, and each person is as human as another. Personally, I could not care less what someone believes. It does me no harm at all for someone to say they don't believe in any deity or divinity. But the simple fact of the matter is that Atheism has never been the consensus of the human mind. In actuality, Atheism is a learned mentality. You have to learn to ignore the larger meanings, patterns and intelligence, and you have to focus on the belief that everything is an accident with no purpose and we're all floating aimlessly.

In conclusion, it's simply false that the human race is born atheist. We never were such a thing as a species. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,