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About Zenagain

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    Please see my website for more information about who I am and what I am about
  1. Ok this is strange . I post on a Christianity Forum and get an Atheist view on Novak. I posted on a forum taken over by Atheist called Evc (Evolution/Creationism) and actually got a Christian response. The thing is I know Novak is not necessarily sincere or a serious thinker. I am not surprised that his other writings are so unimpressive. I guess my interest was in the book itself. He makes alot of assumptions about atheist while trying to appear open minded. So here is the reply I got on Evc in response to this same post. Alright. So I have not read the whole book, nor even a majority of it, but I did look into it quite extensively and read up on Michael Novak. I am, of course, in no position to judge you. But I find much what you say here to be quite interesting. It sounds, looking at your overall theme, you have failed to understand the purpose of this book. From my reading, I get the impression that Novak approaches this entire topic with a tone of humility and non-bias, going so far as to write in the preface that those who laugh at his beliefs may in fact be "right at the end of all things." This area of writing, at least from the Christian perspective, is often plagued with polemic and defensiveness and yet Novak writes in a completely contrary manner. On page xxiiii Novak makes his thesis clear: "nonbelievers and believers alike need to learn a new habit of reasoned and mutually respectable conversation." Throughout the book, it appears that Novak is trying to exhort both sides of the equation by finding commonalitybetween the two, mainly human suffering. You wrote: Spiritual Anarchist writes: My main interest besides the ID debate is to understand how Christians think so that the book I am writing will not offend Christians so much that they think I have no compassion or respect for them.This is a bit hard for me because I have little respect for how Christianity was created out of other peoples myths historically and used to repress and conquer nonbelievers for a political agenda. Using historical data I can show that Christianity is based on Judaism which was based around Tribal Deities of the Canaanites and Babylonians. This is sort of an impasse for me having a dialogue with believers. Here you have clearly demonstrated that you are unwilling to work towards commonality and mutual respect between different sides of this debate simply because of an assumption made on your part. .This is a bit hard for me because I have little respect for how Christianity was created out of other peoples myths historically and used to repress and conquer nonbelievers for a political agenda. While this may be true, you have not proven it thus, therefore your reasoning for rejecting Novak's proposal for community and respect is faulty. If you had proven that Christianity was created out of other peoples myths historically before making your assumption, it would be a conclusion instead of an assumption. I say none of this because I specifically disagree with you, although I basically do I just hope that in everything surrounding this dialogue both sides of the ID debate can approach one another with respect and to knock a respected writer's appeal for commonality simply because of an assumption you had previously made doesn't really seem fair. Just some thoughts Regards! - Raph
  2. I have just began reading a book titled No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers by Michael Novak I am not sure what to make of it so far. I bought the book to see what he says about the Intelligent Design Debate. So far I am not impressed. His book is very well written in some ways but his reasoning ability is lacking. Like other Christian thinkers he often frames topics with the word hate. Why do Atheist "hate" design for example. I will post more on here as I get through more of his book. My main interest besides the ID debate is to understand how Christians think so that the book I am writing will not offend Christians so much that they think I have no compassion or respect for them.This is a bit hard for me because I have little respect for how Christianity was created out of other peoples myths historically and used to repress and conquer nonbelievers for a political agenda. Using historical data I can show that Christianity is based on Judaism which was based around Tribal Deities of the Canaanites and Babylonians. This is sort of an impasse for me having a dialogue with believers. If you read this book "No One Sees God" you will see why. Michael Novak addresses the historical fact of the Philosophers God being with us very far back into history. But he fails to address the problems this raises. He seems to think along with many other Christians that this supports Theology of Christianity. Richard Dawkins made it very clear he respects men like Einstein using metaphors to point to at least an appearance of intelligence behind the universe. But he also made it very clear that at best Einstein was talking about a sort of Pantheism. That is we are seeing a conscious universe because we are conscious and we project our intelligence onto the universe. I think that Einstein really was a Pantheist just not one that used Pantheism to justify Jewish or Christian beliefs. Einstein was influenced by the writings of Spinoza who saw God as the Universe. But Spinoza tried to reconcile Pantheism with a Judeo personal God outside the Universe and a Pantheistic God that was the Universe and failed. I bring this up because in No One Sees God Michael Novak tries to use man's awareness of the Universe being more than stars and planets and random events to conclude that a Christian God directly follows from pure reasoning. This is a problem because a Christian concept of a God man sacrificing himself to himself as a sort of blood offering doesn't directly follow from the Jewish Concept of God let alone from Pantheism. In point of fact no religion including Judaism directly follows or is anyway connected to Pantheism in any way. And to support this you will find that most Pantheist are actually Atheist. Anyway I do not mind if you want to make comments on what I posted so far. But what I am really interested in is what anyone has to say after reading this book. What do you think of this book No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers by Michael Novak Anyone?
  3. Please visit my new website at The Spiritual Anarchist I have completely redesigned my site and I am adding content almost daily
  4. I have found an interesting facebook page for spiritual atheist. I notice that there seem to be a lot of Spiritual Atheist on here so I thought people might want to check it out. Spiritual Atheist on Facebook
  5. I am a new writer but I have not published a book yet so I can not ask anyone here to review any of my books on here. I have however been working on essays that I would like peoples opinion on. So I was wondering if I could post a link to my essays somewhere on this site? Since this is the book review part of the site I figured I would ask this here. I also am working with a group of people to start a publishing company. So if there are any writers here that lean towards Spiritual Atheism or Mysticism or basically any philosophy that challenges organized religion or even that challenges atheist materialism in a nonreligious way feel free to contact me. If your writing is out of the norm but not New Agey then contact me. I hope I am obeying the rules of this forum. I apologize if I am not.
  6. Ironically there is a movie coming out about this very topic. http://www.hellboundthemovie.com/ Apparently as on most topics Christianity can not decide on this subject either . I have not seen the movie yet but the website pointed me to a resource a book actually Shades of Sheol: Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament The movie is about Christian Theology and Universalism but this book goes even further back to Judaism and their conflicting views on the after life. I am providing these links as alternative views because I am not a Christian and so I do not accept Hell or the Bible. This being the case I can not argue for Theology on either side. But I can point out that not all Christians or Jews believe in a literal Hell. I am a Buddhist and I follow the teachings of Buddha Socrates and Jesus but I do not think any of them taught what religion teaches. But that is just me. As far as demons are concerned not being a Christian I can not accept Demons or Devils. But as a Buddhist I also follow the Shaman path because the Buddhist path I follow has its roots in Shamanism. I mention this because even if Christianity isn't true it doesn't mean you are crazy to worry about possession. Shamanism being the oldest religion understood dream work and negative energy beings. But the Christians got their idea of a devil from the Persians specifically I think. Hell is a mistranslation of Sheol which simply means Earth or Underworld depending on whether you follow the Annihilation interpretation which is why I mentioned the book. I also was attacked in my dreams by negative forces that my Christian upbringing led me to believe might be demons. I knew that religion was misleading but I had no other way of understanding what was going on until I encountered Shaman teachings. Apparently the shamans knew or what they call Inorganic Beings and not all of these being are nice. Some feed on fear. So I had to learn to find love because the more real love became to me the less fear had power over me.Then I had to face these beings. That is a whole nother story. But I will share it with you if you are interested. The main thing I learned is that these beings can not have power over us that we do not give them. Any religion Buddhism Christian etc will teach you that. But as said before every religion teaches contradictory things. So it may help if you learn to meditate and learn you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts can not control you if you realize that you are the gap between your thoughts and not the actual thoughts themselves. To do this you must reconnect to the Source that most call God . Again I could tell you my story on that if you are interested. I am simply writing this to let you know that you are not alone and that I have been through a lot of what you are going through. So I will leave my post here. And wait to see if I have helped you or if I can help you further. I can not do the work for you but I can be there for you as a friend.
  7. I want to thank both of you for replying and in such a nice way. I just got through watching a documentary called Lord Save Us From Your Followers. I believe Dan Merchant was the film maker. The one thing the film did not address was the divide between believer and and atheist/agnostics. He seemed very frusterated with Bill Maher having so many points to make. But I notice he did not interview Bill Maher. I guess at this point I feel like my book has a mostly atheist audience because atheist will be open to any book that criticizes religion. But when atheist see my view on their closed mindedness I do not know what to expect from them. Perhaps I will have no audience? I hope not. It seems to me that atheist that deny anything but pure materialism will not be heard. Just as any christian that believes jesus taught different from what the church teaches will not be heard. It is not that most christians and atheist think they are probably right about everything. But that they think they are most definitely right about everything. And any viewpoint that challenges a popular belief in religion or science is the ravings of a mad man to be mocked and scorned. It brings me to the low point of hoping people will hate my book enough to read it and discusss it. That isn't really my goal to antagonize but Socrates pointed out that the gadfly is sometimes the only way to wake a complacent arrogant populace from their self worshiping stupor. Ironically it will probably be me that is made to look arrogant because I have confidence in my viewpoints and I attemptt to prove them even though I know almost no one will agree or even understand where I am coming from. You have your RIchard Dawkins and you have your Michael Behe and if you have the audacity to call both of them wrong then you haven't chosen the right side because your only alllowed one view or the other. So I guess I am posting here to see if the more progressive Chriistian is interested in another point of view. What I am looking for is freethinkers. I am not sure there are any left in the atheist world so now I am wondering if there are any freethinkers left at all? Writing a book is a lot harder work then I ever imagined. I mean emotionally and spiritually it takes everything out of you. I try very hard to repress any fear that my book may not be taken seriously no matter how much I put into it or how sincere I am. All that research and the editing nightmare that I haven't even begun yet could be all for nothing. It makes me shudder to think about it and has caused so many writers blocks. I am so afraid I will hit a brick wall. But I am going to keep at it. I guess I would just like some reasurance that there are still thinking people out there that want to read even if all the viewpoints presented challenge everything they believe or thought they knew.
  8. Hello all. I have been studying Philosophy since I was 11 years old along with Anthropology. I believe Jesus,Buddha,and Socates have something in common. All were teachers that wrote nothing down. All of these teachers have had institutions misrepresent what they actually taught. And all the teachers I have mentioned have influenced history with their teaching and possible lost teachings that resurface in pieces. And finally none of these teachers have left a historical footprint. That is history can not demonstrate they actually existed. If we are to take our world as a physical world of matter and we do not acknowledege that there is any other level of reality then we only accept physical evidence that a person exist or existed then maybe they didn't.. But when I talk about other levels of reality I am talking about physical reality but not necssarily material reality.So if they were conscious beings manifesting in our reality the way we do ourselves in a dream there would be no evidence after they left. My main point is I do not think Jesus taught what Christians say he did which is what interested me in reading John Shelby Spong. I have read a lot of his writings and when I found this website I became very curious on how open minded Progressive Christians are. I am writing abook right now that I do not think will attract many Christians or Atheist. . Since my book is not finished or published and may never be either I am looking for inspiration. I need to know that open minded people exist that question Christianity and organized religion in general and that there are atheist that are open to spirituality and philosophyif it is not organized religion or scientific materialism. Although I believe matter is real I do not believe reality is matter. Although I believe in Jesus I believe he taught reincarnation and pantheism not ressurection and sin. I believe he knew about sin and about karma. I think he used the word sin around the jewish people and other words around more advanced desciples. When I say believe I do not mean belief but experience and study leads me to knowledge which I affirm as true and real. This is how I see things. I hope to meet many people with many different viewpoints. I hope to learn and share and grow. I also hope that this makes my writing better and that I find some inspiration to finish it. Because ultmately my viewpoint does not matter. I need to make absolutely sure that I can make people think and question things. If instead I can not communicate ina way where I am understood clearly and I find everything I say thrown back at me with spin and misrepresenation I will know that I am not as good a writer as I thought I was . If I upset and confuse people when I want to point to clarity and compassion then I will have to reconsider my dream to be a writer. Of course I am hoping for a much more positive experience. If nothing else I wouldn't mind a little support. Between my practically evangelistic mother and my next door neighbor trying to convert me to Catholicism not to mention a life history of persecution for daring to think for myself I could use a little support from people who may have had similar experiences.
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