Believing in nonsense

WE are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

Recent surveys show that it is not the religious, but non-believers who are more likely to believe in nonsense such as astrology, clairvoyance and the Loch Ness monster.

Recently I met with a declared atheist who I noticed wearing an angel pin. I asked her why she was wearing it and she said: “for luck’’.

In this New Age, the accepted spiritual symbol – one of the graven images perhaps – is a sweet angel on a lapel pin. It’s accepted even for atheists it seems

Angelology, like astrology and UFO-ology, has become a New Age science to be exploited.

Superstition – the acceptable atheist kind – has been sanitised, popularised and sentimentalised by fast-buck merchants posing as truth gurus.

The agnostics are lured by vacuous tomes and try to fill ill-defined yearnings with distorted and romanticised teachings on life and death.

It is tempting to embrace the spiritual darkness on the planet and become cynical and bitter. Or superstitious.

Yet, Jesus said – elevate your minds, and the truth will become clear.

Irrational gobbledygook? No, a work of art.

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33 thoughts on “Believing in nonsense

  1. I agree with you on most of this post. As a atheist, I really don’t understand why some atheists tend to wonder in the realm of the metaphysics and wierd new age beliefs that have not got a spread of evidence. If people use rational to dispense with religion, they should use the same techniques when looking at astrology, tarot, physics, and other chicanery.

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  2. I actually hear this quite a bit, I even wrote about an atheist church not that long ago.

    My opinion, people do this so they can say they don’t believe in God yet still claim that they are ‘spiritual’.

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  3. WOW!
    I do hope you’re wearing bullet-proof sandals!

    For a start, how about some definitive distinctions between “such nonesense as astrology, clairvoyance and the Loch Ness monster” and such nonsense as ‘god’ expressing himself in celestial manifestations (astrology?) including such more earthbound fancies as pillars of fire and non-burning bushes, etc., or ‘prophecies, divinations, and absurd iconography of all (manufactured and impossible) kinds.
    eg. What’s the difference in credibility between Nessie and Jesus (allegedly risen from the dead!!) zooming off into an unlikely heaven to sit on a throne unsupported by even a floor?
    At least Nessie has flippers: Jesus didn’t have wings ~ let alone tailfeathers! Credulity? Indeed!

    And how does ‘luck’ differ from ‘divine intervention’ ? Or some angel-pin-wearing ding-a-ling’s reliance on ‘luck’ differ from your reliance on ‘prayer’ to some god as evidentially realistic as Lady Luck?
    ….or do you have a problem with the concept of guardian angels?

    “Angelology, like astrology and UFO-ology, has become a New Age science to be exploited.”
    …as distinct from ‘Old Age’ religion you mean? ….(You appear to have overlooked the “truth” that “Angelology” is NOT an invention of New-Agers: It is, in fact:- “The branch of theology that is concerned with angels” ~ to cite The shorter Oxford.

    (not that either version can be called a “science”….though god can legitimately be described as a UFO. )

    “The agnostics are lured by vacuous tomes and try to fill ill-defined yearnings with distorted and romanticised teachings on life and death.” precisely as godbotherers are.

    ….and neither group can even define what ‘life’ and ‘death’ are.

    ….truth be told! 😉

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  4. Some interesting thoughts to ponder and peruse…

    “Experience is, for me, the highest authority. The touchstone of validity is my own experience. No other persons ideas, and none of my own ideas are as authoritative as my experience. It is to experience that I must return again and again, to discover a closer approximation to truth as it is in the process of becoming in me. Neither the Bible nor the Prophets … neither Freud nor research… neither the revelations of God nor man… can take precedence over my own direct experience. My experience is not authoritative because it is infallible. It is the basis of authority because it can always be checked in new primary ways. In this way it’s frequent error of fallibility is always open to correction” Carl Rogers psychologist author “The Humanistic Approach”

    “The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence”
    Aldous Huxley

    Science has even acknowledged that aspects of spirituality are real … such as prayer ….

    because people have experienced it.

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    • Hi Jimbo.
      According to Lazarus Long:- “If it can’t be expressed in numbers it isn’t science: it’s opinion.”
      Though I’m not much of a mathematician I can’t help agreeing with him.

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    • “A new survey shows that atheists and agnostics are 76 percent more likely than Christians to believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life.”

      “The religious group with the highest percentage that believes in extraterrestrial life was the Muslims at 44 percent. The Jewish and Hindu groups were similar in their percentage of believers, 37 percent and 36 percent respectively. Christians had the lowest percentage for the belief in extraterrestrial life at 32 percent. However, the lowest group was those who did not wish to share their religious affiliation. Only 18 percent of this group believes extraterrestrials exist.”

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alejandro-rojas/less-god-less-extraterrestrials_b_3999273.html

      For the atheists/agnostics, it could be that they do in fact experience ‘spiritual’ episodes but are unwilling give the name God to them, because God has rules. The other spiritual stuff, is much more fun, light and fluffy and maleable to their own wants.

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      • So then, Monica, you agree with the huffingtonpost that 68% of christians actually believe god is actually either earthbound or not alive?

        ….and I guess if the heavenly hosts are also non extra-terrestrial then heaven, too, must occupy some little …. er, ‘corner’ of our ‘globe’.(Wouldn’t that mean you don’t need to be a Believer so much as you’d need a good compass or street directory?) 🙂

        But perhaps the first step would be to definitively determine whether god is
        (and spirits generally are ) indeed ‘alive’: that’s the basic assumption for the whole argument.

        I’ll look forward to your ideas for proving that.
        (given the stresses he has to endure a good place to start would be to check out his blood-pressure: the reading would be a lulu!!)

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      • Hi Kathleen,
        I dont find it very surprising that Christians should have a low percentage for belief in extraterrestrial life. Christianity is based originally on a system of the Universe that has a heaven above that is only populated by The God, the Angels and the Saints. No room for any sort of ‘mortal’ extraterrestrials.

        Atheists are clearly going to be more open to the possibility of other mortal creatures existing in the universe. Extraterrestrials to my understanding bear no inherent spiritual existence.
        Rian.

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      • Kathleen,
        Just a further thought on the question of extraterrestrials.

        A few years back the papers (was it the Age or the Murdoch press?) carried a big survey on beliefs. there were a couple of the questions that to me seemed badly worded. The public was asked if they believed in UFOs. Well, I cant see why any single person should ever answer No to that query.

        Since the acronym merely stands for Unidentified Flying Objects, there is no suggestion in the phrase that these ‘objects’ are necessarily supernatural. I guess I can affirm that I’ve seen lots of UFOs. Some might have been flying insects, or bats, or meteorites or weather baloons etc etc. Until they are given names, they remain for me under the heading of ‘unidentified’.

        Rian.

        PS just for the record, the other question that I thought was badly worded or ambiguous, was the one that asked ‘Do you believe that Jesus is the son of God?’ A far better way to word it would be ‘Do you believe that Jesus is God the Son?’

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      • Yes, Rian, I’ve seen a few unidentified flying objects in my time too lol

        You’re right, it is often the way things are worded. True.

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  5. I agree with what you say Bryan,

    But to be fair, you should also include the superstition that is rife in Christianity.

    God would not allow me to wear a crucifix around my neck or to hang pictures of Jesus and have statues of the Blessed Vigin Mary in my house. I had to painfully get rid of every icon, and I can assure you that all we’re given to me as gifts. I did not want to part with them because they were given to me by friends I loved and cherished, but God was adamant. In fact, it was the one time that He terrified me when His retort to my protests was, “Do you fear man more than you fear God?”

    Truly, our religious paraphernalia means nothing to God and, take it from me (my personal experience), it offends God when a hypocrite Christian like myself, proudly displays their symbols of faith, like the crucifix I wore around my neck, and knowingly go on living for themselves and in habitual sin.

    Now is the time to re-evaluate our walk with God. Now is the time to get real.

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    • Hey Mon.
      Did I ever tell you about the first time I appeared in the Supreme Court ~ in my mid-teens ~ and had to defend myself against a slew of really serious charges (and a couple of blabbermouth accomplices!)?
      I was completely awestruck by the grandeur of the environment and the pomp and splendour of the proceedings ~ including ( the aptly-named) Mr Justice Lush perched up on high on his throne in his scarlet robes and flowing wig, glaring down on the world….and me!

      The morning was taken up with jury-selection and other minutiae, and I was in a daze when led back to the cells for my pie and peas.

      And I must’ve looked the part, too, because some old-timer who’d been-there-done-that gawd-knows how many times took me aside and gave me a bit of advice that’s stood me in good stead ever since:-

      Don’t be scared of anyone. When you get back in there stand tall and look the beak straight in the eye
      ….then picture him gettting out of bed that morning with a foul taste in his mouth from the night before, grumpy because his wife pinched all the blankets, scratching his arse, and not being able to decide whether to burp or fart…and in that frame of mind not paying enough attention when he went to the dunny and wetting the front of his pyjamas and the floor, same as we all do ……..and all that before breakfast!
      Picture that and you’ll never be worried by anyone again.

      And so it was that I walked straight-backed into the courtroom after lunch, looked Hizzonner directly in the eyes….and burst out laughing
      …and laughing…and laughing……

      I’d bet it’d work with your fear of god, too.

      (Just as I write that an image flashed through my mind of god wandering around heaven poking at cloud after cloud, trying to find one that’d support his weight so’s he could have a poop he’d been busting to have for half-an-Eternity or so. )

      See?……. 🙂

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      • …and in case you’re wondering, I beat the rap, against all the odds.
        And came to quite admire Mr Justice Lush for his integrity and intelligence.
        Both occurrences not even Isaiah or some other astrologer could have forecast. 😉

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    • Its funny, I wear a cross. I don’t always wear it and I don’t believe it grants me any special favours but I do wear it with pride.

      At the same time I used to debate with my mother about statues and pictures. Some people say that they cannot pray without having a statue in front of them. I used to worry that they actually believed that their prayers would not be answered if they didn’t have some clay manifestation in front of them, but mum argues it’s just a visual. They know that even if the statue was smashed and the picture torn, that there is still God.

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      • Actually Kathleen,

        I firmly believe that religious statues and objects of veneration, including the crucifix can have demon SPIRITS attached to them, and if they do cannot bless, but instead becomes a curse to the one who honours them. It has been my experience.

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    • Hi Mon,
      You have offered some very fascinating comments on the blog regarding the existence and activities of ‘Demon’ Spirits. It has been very noticeable that practically no-one has ever commented or debated the matter. And Mon, I must say that my comments and questions here are offered in a spirit (oops, look what word I used there!) of utter respect for you and your postings. But people who are psychically sensitive as you, with your perceptions and visions, are few in the normal world.

      Over the years, I’ve rarely run across anyone – Christian or not – who takes the matter as being a legitimate and important Christian teaching. None of the foundational Christian Creeds mentions the topic at all, and certainly through all my early years within the Methodist Church I never even heard it mentioned.

      I understand that of the traditional mainline denominations, the Catholics are the major purveyors of the teaching, though they don’t appear to say very much about it publically, these days. In vain, I looked up my Pelican text by Timothy Ware on ‘the Orthodox Church’ and found not a single indexed reference to the Devil, Satan or Demons. I expect that the Lutherans would tend to share their contentions with the Catholics, just as Martin Luther undoubtedly did.

      In order some three years back, to cover the topic of Satan, or the belief in demons and evil or unclean spirits, I had to look back into a lot of historical material, and the teachings and legends of the early church on the subject. This was a most fascinating matter to examine; and I finished up with plenty of information and traditions to back up and explain the multitude of paintings that I used to illustrate my lecture. The Bible itself tends to be ambiguous about the matter, and the teachings derived from it, – most contentious.

      Now I would be most interested to find out from any of the other Christians on this blog, just where they stand on the issue. Do they and/or their respective churches take the matter seriously or not, nowadays? My own stance might perhaps best be described as Jungian. And I am normally not inclined to being ‘psychic’ or visionary. I did on one occasion become aware of a ‘negative’ intrusion into my head that might be described as ‘evil’, (knowing as I did, exactly where it had come from); and I dismissed it without any difficulty.

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  6. A defence of faith that calls on reason is hardly valid. It must be tempting to use the same argument of ‘nonsense’ against others, that has been used against ourselves.

    I can talk only about where I am standing, seeing ‘nonsense’, superstition, as being a sort of fundamentalism in traditional religion AND in other -ologies. Angelology for instance preaches what is nonsense to me, but I don’t believe that necessarily precludes the existence of angels.

    I have to say I have found many ‘free thinkers’ to be just as dogmatic in their own way as any other.

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      • People who call themselves free thinkers may indeed not be, just as those who call themselves Christian may actually not be. Are all that call themselves atheists, truly so?

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    • I think what you call ‘dogmatism’ is the stance that many atheists have against all forms of religion. When people tell me to be ‘open minded’, what they really mean is open minded to their particular paradigm, not the others?

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      • You could be right, MAG. I’ll have to think what is my own particular paradigm. Perhaps to never accept things on surface level, always to try to see what is beyond that. To imagine I could be wrong, to accept my ignorance, to know what is right for me is not so for others.

        Experientially, I have a deep faith, but not to be imposed on others.

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  7. People who call themselves free thinkers may indeed not be, just as those who call themselves Christian may actually not be. Are all that call themselves atheists, truly so?

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