Tag Archives | God

Did Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Cause The Birth Of Monotheism?

Via New Scientist, a new theory claims that a specific form of genetically-inherited epilepsy among several generations of Egyptian pharaohs is responsible for the sun-inspired visions that led to humanity’s belief in a single supreme god:

Tutankhamun’s mysterious death as a teenager may finally have been explained. And the condition that cut short his life may also have triggered the earliest monotheistic religion, suggests a new review of his family history.

Tuthmosis IV had a religious experience in the middle of a sunny day, recorded in the Dream Stele – an inscription near the Great Sphinx in Giza. But his visions were nothing compared with those experienced by Akhenaten. They encouraged Akhenaten to raise the status of a minor deity called the “sun-disk”, or Aten, into a supreme god – abandoning the ancient Egyptian polytheistic traditions to start what is thought to be the earliest recorded monotheistic religion. If Hutan Ashrafian’s theory is correct, Akhenaten’s religious experiment and Tutankhamun’s premature death may both have been a consequence of a medical condition.

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The Five Heresies (Part 1)

[disinfo ed.’s note: the following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates by Howard Bloom (“I have met God and he lives in Brooklyn” – Richard Metzger), courtesy of the author and Prometheus Books.]

Before we probe for clues to the God Problem, we need to equip ourselves with five tools—the five heresies. Remember the second rule of science: look at things right under your nose as if you’ve never seen them before, then proceed from there. Question your assumptions. To question your assumptions, you have to find them. And that’s the really hard part. But here are five assumptions conveniently overturned for your edification and delight. Five heresies we’ll use to crack the code of cosmic creativity.

  1. A does not equal a.
  2. One plus one does not equal two.
  3. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, that all things tend toward
    disorder, that all things tend toward entropy, is wrong.
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The Problem With God

[disinfo ed.’s note: the following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates by Howard Bloom (“I have met God and he lives in Brooklyn” – Richard Metzger), courtesy of the author and Prometheus Books.]

Imagine this. You are a twelve-year-old in a godforsaken steel town that once helped suture the Great Lakes to the Atlantic coast of North America and Europe. A city that, for you, is a desert—a wasteland without other minds that welcome you. Buffalo, New York.

Your bar mitzvah is coming up. (Congratulations—you are Jewish for a day.) And you are avoiding a huge confession. One that will utterly change your life. A confession about one of the biggest superstars of human history. God.

You are not a popular kid. In fact, other kids either ignore you or try with all their might to keep you from getting anywhere near their backyard play sessions, their baseball diamonds, their clubs, and their parties.… Read the rest

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Doubt and Denial in Pursuit of Reality

“Does God exist?” Of the near-limitless variety of questions that can be posed by human beings, few are as profound, as important (or to certain fanatical Nietzsche lovers, as inane and tiresome) as this one. Few other questions have such a powerful effect over daily life, politics, and human interactions as this one simple query, and any given individual’s reply to it speaks volumes about his or her worldview.

For billions of people on planet Earth, its answer is a resounding “Yes!” – a declaration of faith so central to their lives that even a moment’s hesitation or doubt can induce feelings of severe guilt and internal conflict.  For a large and growing multitude however, the answer to this question is instead a confident but qualified “No.” And yet, for many others still, the only sensible reply is “Maybe,” “I don’t know,” or even “It’s impossible to say.”

Although plenty of people simply don’t care one way or the other, rolling their eyes and far preferring not to talk about it or even think about it, that’s just dodging its repercussions.… Read the rest

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Gods and Aliens: The Infinite and the Beyond (Podcast)

The Infinite and the BeyondPodcast: Episode 026 — Gods and Aliens

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Alien Pope

In the latest episode of The Infinite and the Beyond, discuss gods and aliens and the ideas surrounding Ancient Astronaut Theory. Do you believe in extra-terrestrials? Do you think they visted and helped ancient human civilizations? Are you a supporter of Ancient Astronaut Theory? If your answer is a resounding YES, then this episode is not for you, because I take a look into some of the propositions made by Ancient Astronaut Theorists and offer my thoughts on the matter which may not jive with you and your alien putty, but do not worry there is always Stonehenge! Later in the episode, I discuss the only alien abduction case I have helped with as a paranormal investigator. Hear the details as I share my diagnosis and methods of addressing the issue in my effort to help a friend. In A Corner in the Occult we learn about Lam, Aleister Crowley’s favorite martian, as well as the Typhonian Order which focuses on working and communication with extra-terrestrial entities, The Great Old Ones, as well as some of the darker aspects of metaphysics. We hear a track from our featured artist and future guest Alka, an electronic music composer who incorporates magick, occultism, and estoric practices and systems into his music making process. We discuss evocation in the Essence of Magick. I read listener email and talk about James Randi. We see which two lucky listeners won copies of Etched Offerings, and to close we ponder the origin of deity. This episode is really out of this world!

To message the show please go here.

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41 Percent of UK Don’t Think God Made the Universe (Highest Ever)

Cosmic HistoryCaspar Melville writes at New Humanist:

A press release reaches us from Premier Christian Radio with the headline “UK’s belief that God created the Universe at an all-time low”. It reports the findings of a study conducted by ComRes for PCR (2054 were polled online across the UK in April), ahead of the conference, called “Unbelievable 2012″,  PCR are holding in London on May 26 at which “academics and scientists” from the US and UK will be arguing that contemporary cosmology indicates that God created the world.

The headline findings of the survey are that only 26% believe that God created the world, 41% said they didn’t believe this and 23% didn’t know or didn’t want to say. In what the press release describes as a “strange twist” fully 25% of those who identified as “Christian” did not believe that God was the cause of the Universe.

So, why would a Christian outfit be trumpeting numbers which show that the idea of a God-created universe is is decline, even amongst their own gang?

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Analytical Thinking Erodes Belief in God

The ThinkerDebora MacKenzie writes on New Scientist:

Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein famously did not believe in a supernatural God, and neither do some scientists today. It now appears there may be a good reason for this: thinking analytically dims supernatural beliefs, apparently by opposing the intuitive thought processes that underpin them.

The vast majority of people believe in a supernatural god or gods, says social psychologist Ara Norenzayan of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of atheists and agnostics who do not. While scientists have begun to study the psychology of belief, we know little about what causes disbelief.

Humans use two separate cognitive systems for processing information: one that is fast, emotional and intuitive, and another that is slower and more analytical.

The first system innately imputes purpose, personality or mental states to objects, leading to supernatural beliefs. People who rely more on intuitive thinking are more likely to be believers, while the more analytical are less likely.

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What Kind Of Believer Are You? Take The Dawkins Test

As Mark Cheney writes on Big Think, the criteria:

Richard Dawkins’ Belief Scale Scoring Rubric

1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
7. Strong Atheist:
I am 100% sure that there is no God.

Do you believe in God? Sometimes this question warrants more than just a yes or no answer. To categorize one’s own beliefs about the possibility of the existence of a deity, Dawkins proposed a “spectrum of probabilities” in his book The God Delusion.

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The Politics of Belief

Aboriginal War Veterans Monument

Photo: Padraic Ryan (CC)

A tribal shaman was once interviewed by a skeptical anthropologist and asked whether or not he actually believed in the truths behind the spiritual medicine he practiced. The shaman’s reply was surprisingly candid, for he admitted that his technique was completely fraudulent, and yet he still defended it for the simple reason that it often seemed to heal the patients.  This brief exchange cuts to the core of the issue of why some people are religious and others are not. It all boils down to two simple questions – “Is it true?” and “Is it good?”

An atheist is someone who answers “no” to the first question, and usually (but not always), “no” to the second question as well. As such, there are a variety of tactics that atheists will employ in promoting arguments against religion. Charles Darwin, for example, was supposed to have been nudged permanently over the cusp into disbelief after having studied the behavior of a certain species of parasitic wasp.… Read the rest

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In Norway’s Hills, Anyone Can Be The Voice Of God

It seems like a very egalitarian, Scandinavian approach to divine pronouncements. No matter whom you are, you may dial the number and hear your voice echo across the land. Via Unsworn Industries:

Telemegaphone Dale stands seven metres tall on top of the Jøtulshaugen mountain overlooking the idyllic Dalsfjord in Western Norway. When you dial the Telemegaphone’s phone number the sound of your voice is projected out across the fjord, the valley and the village of Dale below.

mountain

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