the Dao of Atheism :jeffers' petroglyph, pre-dakota, minnesota : the Shaman Atheist 3/81


By not saying
one is better than the other
we prevent argument.
By turning down
promises and rewards of another life
we eliminate competition for heaven.
If other realms of existence
are not promoted as new and improved
religions will not seek converts.

Empty the heart and mind of ambition,
fill the stomachs of the hungry,
live simply without material and intellectual treasures,
live simply by your own physical labor.

People are led best when information is value-free
and their basic needs and wants are fulfilled.
This way people in power cannot manipulate and interfere.

Through nonaction and noninterference
all becomes better.

Along with the charge of corrupting the youth of Athens through his 'subversive' questions and teaching, Socrates was also charged with and found guilty of the capital crime of atheism -- of not believing in the same gods as those worshiped by the Athenian men in power. Yet Socrates believed in a god or two. So too were the early Christians charged and arrested by the Roman state for atheism -- of not believing in the same gods as those worshiped by the Roman men in power. For both Socrates and the early Roman Christians, the crime of atheism was punished by death. By the obverse of Athenian and Roman definitions, every theist is an atheist to gods not their own.

Religious conflict begins when one group claims that their beliefs and experiences are better than another's: heaven is better than living with one's ancestors and abundant hunting, Mohammed was closer to god than Joseph Smith, Sun Yung Moon, Jesus or Moses, political utopia is better than spiritual utopia. So it goes.

None of these claims to superior spiritual quality are based on superior experience -- at least no one has ever written a comparative study on the experience of multiple god/desses. One person's experience just cannot be replicated by another. The theist's experience of god is as unique as is the atheist's lack of experience. Neither is better than the other, each is different. When theists give up the need to save atheists or demean them as ignorant and wicked, atheists will acknowledge the unique and unexplainable experience of theism. When atheists stop god-mocking and scripture-bashing, theists will accept them as co-travelers on the religious path.

back :: next
first :: middle :: last
cover :: endnotes