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Spirituality for the Skeptic




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BOOK OF THOMAS HAS ARRIVED!
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WHAT GOOD IS FAITH?

A CRITICAL INQUIRY

Chalice
Is faith the sacred elixir?

Western science and medicine became 
generally successful at healing for
only about the past hundred years. 
For over a hundred millennia before
that (asidefrom certain herbs of
shamans and folk witches) healing
was most often a placebo event -
i.e. based largely on faith alone.  
 
In fact current psychosomatic
studies suggest such a positive
attitude toward healing could have
been a beneficial factor in human
evolutionary survival.  This faith
factor in healing and general
well being proved especially true
with religious faith. 
 
 Numerous studies within the past
decade found significantly lower
rates of blood pressure, heart
disease, anxiety, depression, and
suicide in religiously oriented
groups than in those not
spiritually committed. (e.g. see
the recent book, Realized Religion,
by T. J. Chamberlain and C. A. Hall.) 
 
So it would seem a rational and
beneficial move for even the pragmatic
skeptic to seriously look into this
strange psychological power toward mental
and physical health. But what about the
down side of religious faith -
e.g. the ubiquitious religious bigotry and
violence,the dormant dependence on "faith
alone," the ignorant superstition of blind
faith? 
 
Is it possible to capture the profounder
benefits of religious faith and still 
avoid its forementioned detriments?
 
 
EXPOSING AND ROUTING THE DARK SIDE:
 
Although religious faith can be a most
powerful psychological force for healing,
overcoming, and renewal, it can be an
equally powerful force for horrendous
evil.  Human sacrifice - often of children-  
was common among ancient tribes and
civilizations. The ancient Hebrew "ban"
was a covenant with "God" to slaughter
every man, woman,child, and animal when
conquering a
city or tribe. 
 
Then there was the mass torturing, burning
and murdering of "heretics" and "witches" by
Christians, even beyond the Dark and Middle
Ages. And there always existed the endless
religious wars carried on blatantly to this
very day.
 
But there exists a universal edict -
covering all religions of all times -
declaring all the forementioned behaviors
not religious at all but instead the abject
devil worship of spawns from hell!  That
edict is the universal  Golden Rule. This
statement may at first seem platitudinal.
However, a deeper look might change your
mind.
 
First of all treating others as yourself 
really exemplifies the basic human
feeling of empathy. Today psychologists
agree that the absence of empathy is the
main trait of the sociopath.  Even the
skeptical philosopher Hume declared society
and its laws could not hold together without  
this common trait. (He called it "sympathy".) 
Moreover,all great religions were based upon
it. 
 
Note the following dictums:
 
Hindu Saying:  "This is the sum of
Dharma (duty):  Do nothing unto others
which if done to you would cause you
pain."
 
Confucius:  Tsekung asked Confucius: "Is
there one word that can be a rule for the
conduct of living?"  Confucius replied:
"Itis the word, 'shu' - 'reciprocity': Do not
do to other what you do not want done to
you."
 
Hillel:  When the distinguished rabbi was
asked to summarize the whole Torah while
standing on one foot, he replied: "What is
hateful to you do not to your neighbor. 
That is the whole Torah.The rest is
commentary."
 
Mohammed:  When he was asked, "What is the
best kind of Islam?" He answered: "The best
kind of Islam is when you feed the hungry and
spread peace among friends and strangers."
 
Jesus:  When asked to state the greatest
commandment inthe law, Jesus said:  "You
shall love our God with all your heart,
soul ,and mind.  Then you shall love your
neighbor as yourself.  On this commandment
hangs all the laws of the prophets."  When
then asked who is our neighbor, Jesus gave 
the parable of the good Samaritan - one
who was even fromthe enemy tribe.
 
The list could go  on indefinitely.  What
should be understood here is that it is not
only a universal rule, but the great
religions were based on it.  Moreover,
without such common empathy beyond tribe or
nation in today's shrunken world, humanity
will not much longer exist. 
 
Most important:  based on what is revealed
above, religion is the most blasphemous
excuse for bigotry and violence.  If you
think not and can deify violence, be honest:
Admit you worship the Devil instead.  For
the "Devil" is not some red creature with
horns - it is the dark side of religion
and the dark side of man.
 
What then of faith's good side?  Can faith
live in a vacuum without good works and
deeds?  What can it mean to say: "Not by works
but by faith alone."?  To find out, strike
the link below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

BY FAITH ALONE? NOTHING ELSE?

THE BOOK OF THOMAS THE DOUBTER

Copyright 2003:
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