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Demeter and Persephone

Like many feminist psychologists, I wonder why Freud was so fascinated by the tale of Oedipus that it became the predominant metaphor of his theory of psycho-sexual development. To make a Greek tragedy short, Oedipus unknowingly took his mother as wife. Upon learning this, Oedipus suffered from such guilt and remorse, that he blinded himself.

There are less male-centric stories from the Greek classics about sexuality and innocence that Freud could/should have considered. At the very least it would have balanced his theories of sexual development and women would not have had to suffer decades of damaging psychotherapeutic advice.

For example there is the myth of Demeter and Persephone. A myth I prefer for reasons I shall explain shortly.

Demeter is the goddess of the earth, agriculture, growing. Her daughter is Persephone. Persephone was kidnapped by the god of the underworld, Hades. It is a classic case of kidnap-rape. Having lost her daughter, Demeter grieves. The earth turns barren and cold.

Soon the other gods must intervene. In the end, despite having eaten of the pomegranate fruit that condemns her to the underworld, Persephone is released by Hades to go home to Demeter for half of each year. Upon her return, Demeter rejoices, sunlight and warmth return, things begin to grow again, the flowers bloom and the world sings. It is a return to joy, where the earth is able to bring forth that which will nourish itself and humankind.

Patriarchal elements aside (personally I would have preferred that Hades be condemned to prison, but he is after all, already in the Underworld), the story has tremendous value as a metaphor for an egalitarian sexuality that would liberate men and women from the pathology of current heterosexist and patriarchal disillusions.

The story can be read in ways closer to female desire, passion, nurturing, joy and power. For one thing, the story of Demeter illustrates what neo-Freudian and feminist icon, Karen Horney states is primordial female power: we give birth, we nurture new life, we see to its growth. It is this that men envy and which is the psychic underpinning of men’s need to control and dominate women’s sexuality.

It is the full recognition and valuation of this primordial creativity, rather than its denial, that is the first step towards towards men’s embrace of child-rearing and other forms of nurturing. It is also a necessary element towards understanding the centrality of sexuality to political theory and emancipatory strategy.

To understand this delight in the fruits of our sexual bodies and to embrace it without fear, is to understand the path to joy without guilt. See Demeter and Persephone’s happiness and how the whole world participates in this revelry! It is a joy so marvelously free of the hate that the religious fundamentalists bring to any earthly and embodied pleasure. And here I would agree with Freud. Unless this misogynistic self-loathing is brought to light, we shall never get to the bottom of predatory sexuality. Here I agree with those social psychologists who say that the impulse to fascism (religious or political) is rooted in psychic structures of control and repression that begins with how we construct the sexual self.

The myth of Demeter and Persephone validates what decent men and women feel about their children, even the girl children that many societies try to convince us are less valuable. There is no heterosexual reconstruction of maternal love for the male child in this story—something Freud would do repeatedly in his Oedipus-based readings of female sexuality; something repeatedly underscored by patriarchal readings of the story of Mary and Jesus. There is no degradation of the daughter who has lost her virginity to the unwanted male.

To the rape victims in my clinic, I try to be Demeter. There can be no stigmatization that is attached to their ordeal. I require nothing more of them but to return to the light and to eventually learn again to dance and sing. There is no shame in having survived, no question as to whether they had anything to do with the rape and kidnap. No degradation that accrues to the victim. Only gratefulness that they have survived and the promise of a return to self-nurture and growth.

Some of my counselees are women coming home from overseas. They bring with them tales of abuse and loneliness. But they also tell me that they have eaten the pomegranate seed—the good salaries they appreciated; the child of their employer they had nurtured and learned to love; the intimacies of friendship and romance they found there; the release from the parochial values of small towns; the sophistication that comes from having encountered a different horizon.

Demeter and Persephone are a metaphor for the homecoming of Filipinos to Inang Bayan. It is especially appropriate for those who, for whatever reason, left the country unwillingly or at great cost. We must welcome them all, particularly the trafficked, the raped, the kidnapped, the abused. We must continue to work for a society that will allow them to stay home for good. Meanwhile, when they return, the earth must sing and dance and welcome them back, with joy.

Posted in SocietyComments (2)

The Black Jesus (The Black Nazarene)

6a00d8341c570653ef00e54fc78bf88833-800wiEvery January 9, thousands of devotees from all walks of life come to Quiapo to take part in the procession as a way of strengthening their faith or fulfilling their “panata” (vow) to the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

The Black Nazarene is a life-sized, dark-colored, wooden sculpture of a “black” Jesus Christ carrying a cross held to be miraculous by many Filipino devotees. Its original carver is an anonymous Aztec carpenter and the image was transported by a galleon from Acapulco, Mexico by the first group of Augustinian Recollect friars sent by Spain. Legend has it that the Black Nazarene was charred black because of a fire that broke out on the galleon during its trip to Manila from Mexico. It arrived on May 31, 1606, in this form and has always been depicted as such.

It was transferred from its old home from San Nicolas de Tolentino in Intramuros to its present site in Quiapo, Manila at the Saint John de Baptist Church (Now called Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) in 1787 by then Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santa Junta y Rufina.

On the day of The Feast, the church doors open wide and the pilgrims of the area and abroad search for healing and hope. They wave white towels and throw them towards the statue hoping for the chance to touch the image too. The procession begins and the statue in its gilded carriage moves slowly as honored participants dressed in maroon pull the carriage along ropes as thousands of barefoot devotees follow along. The procession followers walk barefoot to mirror Jesus as he walked on to Mount Caramel.

It is said that only the body of the Black Nazarene is displayed in the procession, the original head portion of the statue is safely protected in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene tucked away in the high altars.

Just last January 9, 2010, it was estimated that at least two million devotees of the Black Nazarene flooded the area from Luneta to Quiapo to join the holy procession. Walking barefoot, these devotees will endure the intense heat of the midday Sun, the crushing crowd and the hot asphalt pavement just to touch or wipe a towel on the body of the paraded idol.

So why do you think these devotees will do all that trouble?

Let see…I think it’s all about petitions – the request for some benefit or a reparation of a grievance. Come on guys…you won’t do all those sacrifices without expecting any compensation. It’s really a form of ancient worship. Our ancestors created elaborate ceremonies and rituals to please the gods so rain will fall on dry rice fields. Sacrifices and fasting are required for a bountiful harvest.

Biblical speaking, such practices are forbidden (unless you’re a Roman Catholic) Exodus 20:4-6 is quite clear in the issue.

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I The Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My Commandments”

Is Jesus a Nazarene or from Nazareth?

There is a lot of issue concerning the word Nazareth in Jesus’ title. Are we saying that Jesus was from Nazareth or if he’s a member of the Nazarene sect?

Christians will gladly point to Matthew 2:23 for the answer.

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

But a thorough search of the Old Testament will turn up nothing. There isn’t any prophet in the Old Testament that prophesied it. In fact, the town of Nazareth is never mentioned in the Old Testament.

Excuses varies. Some suggest that Matthew refers to Isaiah 11:1 yet Isaiah and the whole Old Testament never indicated or even implied that the Messiah will be called a “nester”.

There are also who would say that the Nazarene in Matthew refers to the Nazirite. If you are not familiar with it, it can be found in described in Numbers 6:1-21.

It is said the person that took the Nazirite vow should follow the following:
1. Abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins, and according to some — alcohol and vinegar from alcohol.
2. Refrain from cutting the hair on one’s head.
3. Avoid corpses and graves, even those of family members, and any structure which contains such.
So, is Jesus a Nazirite?
Jesus couldn’t have been a Nazarite by vow because He didn’t live alone or apart, He drank wine, and He touched and raised the dead.

Also, Matthew was clear that Jesus was called a Nazarene (Nazaraios) because he lived in a town called Nazareth. So there! The issue about “natser” or “natsar” or nazir” has no bearing. Matthew 2:23 is a “fulfillment” of a non-existing prophecy.

Is it possible that Jesus and his black counterpart are just stuff of legends? I’ll just leave this thought to the devotees…as Ol’ Bernie Russell once said, “Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, or if he did we know nothing about him”.

Posted in ReligionComments (5)

You Call That Science?

51txcUm8IqL__SL500_AA246_PIkin2,BottomRight,-17,34_AA280_SH20_OU01_Do you notice that religion has two different positions when it comes to science? Some religions seem to incorporate science while some are too aggravated with science.

ISKCON and their guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Gosh! Another of those tongue twisting swami names) seem to be too irritated with science and everyone incorporated to it. According to him (it is written on his pamphlet, Life Comes From Life), “I am not a Ph.D., yet I can challenge scientists. Why? Because I know Krsna, the Absolute Truth” (p.20).

Also, this self-promoting guru said, “Darwin is a rascal. What is his theory? We kick out Darwin’s philosophy. The more we kick out Darwin’s philosophy, the more we advance in spiritual consciousness” (p 48).

Real science is in the Bhagavad-gita, where Krsna says, “This means that whatever one worships in this life will determine the type of body he gets in his next life” (p. 50). (Gosh you call that “science” Mr. Swami?)

For Srila Prabhupada, real scientific research should aim at stopping death. That is real science, and that is Krsna Consciousness…Now may I ask, if Srila Prabhupada is a master guru of Krsna Consciousness, did all his so-called “Krsna science” stop him from dying in 1977?

Let’s see… Srila Prabhupada is adamant that the Vedic literature is the source of all absolute truth, and everything written in the Bhagavad-gita has authority. Really? Absolute truth? Authority to what? A literature that segregates society into caste, which places certain people as the lowest part of the social order for no apparent reason. A manuscript that promotes sexism. A “holy” book that says, “It is the highest duty of a woman to immolate herself after her husband’s death.” This is what you call “absolute truth”? Let me stress this, religious truths can never be absolute. But I know one absolute truth and it’s not even a religious claim. It’s the multiplication table.

In the issue of morality, how can I trust the Bhagavad Gita? Addressing Arjuna’s qualms about killing his relatives arrayed on the enemy side, Krishna advises him to disregard traditional values and act without worrying about the results of his action.

Krishna says:
The wise men who reach true knowledge see with equal vision a Brahmin (a member of the highest caste), a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (Bhagavad Gita 5:18).

Those who think that they can kill or those that think they can be killed are confused in the manifestations of ignorance. The infinite, immortal soul can neither kill nor be killed. (Bhagavad Gita 2:19)

Then that means the act of killing is really not an immoral act as Arjuna is free to kill his relatives, considering them only temporary abiding forms for the eternal self, mere mortal frames.

So we can kill a person because the soul can’t be killed…you are only killing its physical form. Wow! With this kind of a mentality, we can now safely say that homicide is not against the law. Is this the same excuse used in the murder of James Immel (Jayatritha)?

Lord Krishna says that he saves those who worship him (12:6-7) and punishes those who are envious and mischievous (16:19).

This is certainly a contradiction of the law of Karma. Karma is an impersonal, natural law that operates in accordance with our actions. It is a law in itself and does not have any law-giver. Karma operates in its own field without the intervention of an external, independent, ruling agent.

Now this is a little bit strange since Srila Prabhupada believes in Karma. He said that people think they completely control their destinies, but they are always under nature’s law of karma yet he believes that everything is working under someone’s direction. Talk about a walking contradiction!

Speaking of karma, in Hinduism the so-called law of karma merely serves the purpose of decriminalizing the foul doctrine of varna-vyavastha by making the Shudras and the “untouchables” meekly accept their degrading position as a “result of their own deeds” in imaginary past lives, and by assuring them “better” birth in “next life” if they faithfully perform their varna-dharma in their present lives. In this way, this doctrine prevents them from revolting against this man-made undemocratic system, which has nothing to do with alleged past and future lives.

It is said that Krishna is impartial to all life forms. He says about himself: “I see all creatures equally disposed and I am not partial to anyone” (Bhagavad Gita 9:29).

Yet Krishna is in fact partial to Arjuna in the battlefield, by serving as his charioteer and military advisor! If God is impartial to all, and if He is absolutely unperturbed, why should He favor the man who clings to Him, and why, for his sake, overrule the world-order of events and in his favor suspend the law of Karma?

There is another inconsistency regarding the character of Krishna. In the Gita, Krishna is called the Supreme Lord of the Universe (5:29), eternal (4:6) and the source of all existence:
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from me (Bhagavad Gita 10:8).

And again:
At the end of an era (kalpa) all creatures disintegrate into my nature and at the beginning of another era I manifest them again. Such it is my nature (prakriti) to follow again and again the pattern of the Infinite manifestations and disintegrations (Bhagavad Gita 9:7-8).

That is to say, Krishna has to follow the pattern of the Infinite manifestations and disintegrations automatically, under the obligation of prakriti”. Yet Krishna is eternal and the source of all existence?
Let see another of Srila Prabhupada sally. According to him, “Krsna’s creation is good; God is good. What you think is bad is good for God. Therefore, we cannot understand Krsna. He is doing something that in our consideration must be bad, but for Him there is no such thing as good or bad. For example, Krsna married sixteen thousand wives. Some people may criticize, “Ah, he is so mad after women.” But they do not see the whole picture. Krsna’s power is so great that He expanded Himself into sixteen thousand different husbands.”

There goes ethics…right down the drain. What you think is bad is good for God….hmmmm. That doesn’t make any sense! If this guru or his followers will say that it doesn’t seem to make sense because I am blind or deaf on Srila Prabhupada’s teachings then so be it! I won’t align myself to this kind of mentality! Just look at that statement: What you think is bad is good for God. If God destroyed innocent infants does that make God feel good? If God killed helpless old folks does that make God good? Gosh! It seems Srila Prabhupada is promoting a monstrous tyrant, not a god!

And what’s this about Krishna marrying sixteen thousand women? What’s so great about that? That only proves Krishna has an insatiable desire for female flesh. And what supreme powers does this Krishna have? Srila Prabhupada proves Khrisna’s greatness and power by saying, He (Krishna) is served by hundreds and thousands of laksmis, or goddesses of fortune. (Brahma-samhita 5:29) That horny ****! And what kind of an explanation is that?

In Mahabharata Krishna adopts and advocates adoption of unfair means like lying and deception for achieving one’s ends. Obviously, he did not believe in the doctrine of purity of ends and means.

Buddha is better compared to Krishna when the former insisted that in the eyes of the law all persons ought to be treated as equal, irrespective of the caste or varna in which he or she is born.

The idea written in the Bhagavad Gita is so topsy-turvy, it’s too far to become a science.

Boy this swami is a real knock-out. But I wonder, if this swami is so dim-witted, then what makes its followers? I guess Einstein was right about the infinity of human stupidity.

Srila Hansadutta Swami’s challenge.

I don’t know if this swami is still alive or dead…but for the sake of entertainment, let us be amused on this so-called challenge that he and some badly informed cult fanatics say that defeated a so-called Sri-Lankan rationalist named Dr. Abraham Kovoor.

The challenge was this: Let him inject the appropriate chemicals into a dead body to bring it back to life. Or let him inject the appropriate chemicals into his body to check his own death and restore his old and worn-out body to its youthful luster and beauty.

If he finds this task too difficult, perhaps he could just produce a simple form of life, such us a mosquito or a bedbug. Better still, let him recombine the chemicals of a praying mantis he decapitated (as described in his article) and bring it back to life. Or is the science of Dr. Kovoor only a one-way road to the destruction of life?

The only thing that Srila Hansadutta Swami proved here is his ignorance to science, especially biology and bio-chemistry. He even called it “word-jugglery” and sure enough only imbeciles will accept his childish explanations.

According to him, “If life is generated by chance biological combinations as some scientists claim, can the scientist Kovoor, given the proper chemicals, make the chemicals come to life?” We must note that Srila Hansadutta’s guru Srila Prabhupada believes that consciousness is the source of life.

So you see what’s the problem here? It’s the definition of the word “life”. What is life anyway, and is consciousness really an attribute to determine life as what these cults believe? First let us define both terms: Life means the organic phenomenon that distinguishes living organisms from nonliving ones while consciousness means an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation.

So far so good…

Now based on both definitions can we conclude that consciousness is one of the attributes that distinguish living organisms from non-living organisms? Simple elementary biology stresses that what distinguishes living things from non-living things are these 4 attributes:
1. reproduction
2. movement
3. growth
4. metabolism

These 4 attributes are the best standard we can use. Now that doesn’t include consciousness, right? Why not?

That’s because not all living things in this planet have consciousness. Hey you can be unconscious yet you’re still alive right? But seriously, trees are living organisms, right? Yet they don’t run for cover when the lumberjack enters the forest.

Now here’s what Srila Hansadutta Swami or should I say Hans Kary claims: He believes that the spirit/soul is the reason why a living organism becomes “alive”. In his letter to Dr. Kovoor in September 6, 1977 he said, “The fact is that the soul is there, but in order to understand its existence we have to accept knowledge from the right person – Sri Krsna or his representative in disiplic succession, the spiritual master.”
That’s not science. Science is not about reliance to authority. Hans Kary’s statement is a religious belief, not scientific.

It’s not only science that doesn’t believe in these “silly souls”. Take a look at Buddhism for example. According to Buddhist teachings the soul is merely a conventional term that does not refer to any real, independent entity. The soul is merely a combination of physical and mental aggregates or forces: matter (rupakkhandha), sensation (vedanakkhandha), perception (sannakkhandha), mental formations (samkharakkhandha) and consciousness (viññanakkhandha). These forces are working together in a flux of momentary change; they are never the same for two consecutive moments. They are the component forces of the psycho-physical life.

These chemicals don’t have a soul…and neither do we. Yet the combination of all the actions of these chemicals contributes to form this attribute we identify as life.

In a biological stand, what is life anyway? We are all chemical stuff…and life is nothing but a complex chemical reaction from organic molecules. DNA is molecules, so is the mitochondria. Metabolism is chemical actions. All living things in this planet share the same chemical composition. The same chemical found in my body can also be found in a coconut tree. That really is not a very bad idea, DNA, amino acids and RNA are chemical compounds.

Kary’s challenge stressed that in order to prove this, a scientist must mix the chemicals and produce life. But why would Kary challenge the scientists? It’s not the scientists’ fault…it’s Nature, and Nature has a four-billion-year head start.

You don’t need a scientist to do that. Even an ordinary person can do that. Just have sex with a woman and see what you can create. Every sperm and egg cell in the human body is made up of chemical elements. Tell me what material here in this planet that is not made up of elements and compound? Ether? Gosh even your precious ether is made up of chemical elements. So now you know how chemicals create life. Here’s the fact: mind, consciousness, memory, and life cannot outlast the destruction of brain and body. This is the harsh truth, whether you like it or not.

Now why not let’s make the challenge more exciting…Let see if Krishna can create a simple egg. Can he? As you said in your challenge chickens are producing life, now can Krishna produce anything other than empty chants?

Here’s another one of Kary’s misconceptions: Does life emerge by chance?
Just like other ignorant cult-followers Kary doesn’t know that natural selection is not a game of chance.

Be careful with self-proclaimed gurus.

Now is a guru like Srila Prabhupada really scientific?

Let’s see:
• According to Srila Prabhupada, you must approach a person who is learned. You must find such a person, a guru and surrender to him. Then question him, and whatever answers you get from him you must accept. That is the process of understanding God. You must first find the guru; then you must satisfy him by serving and by surrendering unto him. (Life Comes From Life p.102)

• Becoming a member involves choosing a guru and becoming a disciple to him. This guru is so critical that it is said, “without [the Guru] the cultivation of Krishna consciousness is impossible. From the devotee’s side, initiation means that he accepts the guru as his spiritual master and agrees to worship him as God. (Ron Rhodes, The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions 2001, pg. 176)

• In his April 1967 New York lectures Srila Prabhupada remarked, “Although posing as great scholars, ascetics, householders, and swamis, the so-called followers of the Hindu religion are all useless, dried-up branches of the Vedic religion.” ISKCON, he believed, was the only true exponent of the Vedic faith today.

• “If an authority not only expects to be obeyed without
question, but either punishes or refuses to deal with those who
do not, that authority is authoritarian.” ( The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power p.15)

• “Gurus undercut reason as a path to understanding. When
they do allow discursive inquiry, they often place the highest
value on paradox. Paradox easily lends itself to mental manipulation.
No matter what position you take, you are always shown to be missing
the point; the point being that the guru knows something you do
not.” (The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power p.74)

Now does the “guru” lead a person towards more independent thinking, or does he make you completely dependent on him? Does a guru allow you to think or explore? Does this guru claim to be the “true initiate of the Masters” to whom revelations are given?

Real science doesn’t seek disciples and followers. It doesn’t claim absolutes. Science is about developing one-self and to understand the real world. It’s not about blind obedience. It is open to new ideas and it doesn’t judge what is right or what is wrong. It’s not about not eating food, nor shaving one’s head. Science is about discovery. As Carl Sagan has said, “Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which best fits the facts. It urges on us a delicate balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything—new ideas and established wisdom.” (The Demon Haunted World)

Posted in Others, ScienceComments (7)

Atheists are Rascals! (Part 3)

essential_hinduism_thumbIn this post I will be dealing with the ISKCON’s misinterpretation and smear on atheism from their article, “The History and Analysis of Atheism”.

1. The nature of atheism is degrading: its practice leads to bondage and suffering (duhkha) because of an attachment to matter, which degrades (entropy). Matter cannot be a source of anything higher – order, development, or life (which cannot appear by chance).

2. Happiness through atheism is impossible, as it is not in harmony with the nature of person, society, universe, and God (dharma).

The following statements have nothing to do with the nature of atheism. Atheism is about not believing in the existence of gods or a god. Slanderous remarks don’t answer the atheist’s questions concerning the existence of a supernatural deity.

Unlike the average Hare Krishna cult member, the atheist has a sense of `his relative importance’ in the great chain of Nature – and he doesn’t need to use drugs like LSD to feel it. Happiness can be achieved even if you don’t believe in a supernatural higher up. He is not ruled by guilt and suffering to enjoy his life. Well…suffering and sacrifice are really part of religious life.

3. Atheism is a belief system.
A belief system consists of a mandatory philosophical system. Atheism does not have a mandatory philosophical system. In a layman’s language, a mandatory philosophical system means a philosophy in which a person lives.

Well…I am an atheist but the atheist who sits next to me may have a different view regarding morality. Some believe in an objective morality (See Michael Martin and Sam Harris regarding objective morality) while other atheists believe in a relative morality. Some atheists are communists, while others are objectivists. Some atheist abhors religion while others do not. There is no definite connection on what atheists believe…except they do not believe that gods exists.

4. Offensive atheism” and “defensive atheism”
There is no such thing as “offensive” and “defensive” atheism.

5. By definition, atheism is the world-view that denies the existence of God. To be more specific, traditional atheism (or offensive atheism) positively affirms that there never was, is not now, and never will be a God in or beyond the world.

A worldview is a particular philosophy of life; a concept of the world held by an individual or a group. Since atheism is not a philosophy then we can say that atheism is not a world-view. It may be a part of a certain worldview but atheism per se doesn’t constitute the whole picture.

A worldview is also defined as the set of beliefs about fundamental aspects of reality that ground and influence one’s perceiving, thinking, knowing, and doing. Atheism doesn’t constitute a set of beliefs but rather it is just non-belief.

6. The atheist cannot logically prove God’s nonexistence. And here’s why: to know that a transcendent God does not exist would require a perfect knowledge of all things (omniscience). To attain this knowledge would require simultaneous access to all parts of the world and beyond (omnipresence). Therefore, to be certain of the atheist’s claim one would have to possess godlike characteristics. Obviously, mankind’s limited nature precludes these special abilities. The offensive atheist’s dogmatic claim is therefore unjustifiable. As logician Mortimer Adler has pointed out, the atheist’s attempt to prove a universal negative is a self-defeating proposition.

The problem with this article is that it doesn’t have any idea what atheism is. Come on…to disbelieve something does not entail a person to be omniscient. In addition, in contrast to the article, we always prove negatives…we do it all the time. If I say that there are only bananas in my lunch box, I also prove that there are no apples in my lunch box. Remember, every positive statement implies negative statements.

There are two ways to prove the non-existence of something…like god or gods: i.) if it leads to a logical contradiction and ii.) by carefully seeing and looking.

Example: A mananaggal (vicera sucker) does not exist. Can I prove it? Sure, I can. We can prove it because of its impossibility. There are no known living thing that can fly by separating its lower torso and survive. Right? Moreover, we know that aerodynamically speaking, the body of a human being cannot fly using giant bat-wings.

Flying carpets do not exist because it is aerodynamically impossible.

Logically speaking, a perpetual motion machine cannot exist. There are no married bachelors and a four-sided triangle does not exist.

Negative existential proposition, a proposition that denies the existence of something, is impossible to be proven.

That is according to Alder as promoted by the ISKCON article. However, there are ways to do it…and I bet the author of the ISKCON article has not discovered it yet…

As suggested by Adler in his book Truth in Religion, “articles of faith” are propositions that cannot be proved but can be “disproved by the proof of propositions that are their logical contraries or contradictories. For example, the belief of the Mormons that Joseph Smith received the golden tablets from God is an “article of faith” since it cannot be proven.

However, as said by Adler, it can be disproved by a contradictory. According to the Judeo-Christian Bible, there is only one God. The same claim can also be seen from the Muslim camp. Well that means the Christian God and the Islamic God cannot exist simultaneously. Thus, both religions are making a positive existential claim and both are making an implicit negative claim that gods contrary to their god do not exist.

The “nail in the head” of Adler’s claim that negative existential propositions cannot be proven is the fact that the claim that “negative existential proposition cannot be proven” is itself a negative existential proposition!

This point can be forcefully emphasized by asking the atheist if he has ever visited the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The library presently contains over 70 million items (books, magazines, journals, etc.). Hundreds of thousands of these were written by scholars and specialists in the various academic fields. Then ask the following questions: “What percentage of the collective knowledge recorded in the volumes in this library would you say are within your own pool of knowledge and experience?” The atheist will likely respond, “I don’t know. I guess a fraction of one percent.” You can then ask: “Do you think it is logically possible that God may exist in the 99.9 percent that is outside your pool of knowledge and experience?” Even if the atheist refuses to admit the possibility, you have made your point and he knows it.

This is quite very easy. The atheist could also simply ask the Hare Krishna cult member, “Do you think it is logically possible that God may not exist in the 99.9 percent that is outside your pool of knowledge and experience?”

If the theist is going to claim that all propositions having any kind of deductive relationship to “god exists” are outside of what we know, then that is his burden of proof to show he is right.

7. Many atheists consider the problem of evil an airtight proof that God does not exist. They often say something like: “I know there is no God because if He exists, He never would have allowed all those atrocities in history to happen.”

A good approach to an argument like this is to say something to this effect: “Since you brought up this issue, the burden lies on you to prove that evil actually exists in the world. So let me ask you: by what criteria do you judge some things to be evil and other things not to be evil?

The best way here is to define evil. What is evil? In a simple layman’s term, evil is that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune. Evil is morally objectionable behavior… Oh I forgot, ISKCON doesn’t believe in morality… (“But, in the highest sense, there can be neither good nor evil” – Bhagavad-Gita, 140).

To deny the existence of evil or to claim that evil is an illusion does not make the problem of evil go away. An illusion of evil is still evil, therefore, if there is an illusion of evil, there is evil.

Remember that one can only know that all is an illusion against the backdrop of reality. Example, a mirage can be considered an illusion based on the effect of hot air in atmospheric refraction. The hot air in the atmospheric refraction is real. So if evil is an illusion then where did the illusion originate? How did the illusion originate, and how is it passed down to successive generations? Why does everyone experience it from his or her first moment of consciousness? Pain or evil is part of the human experience and is encountered by all. What happened in Hurracane Katrina, on 9/11 and on the tsunami that killed thousand in South Asia are not illusions.

A simple torment of a toothache is not imaginary. The experience is real and the damage (cavities) is present. These are not subjective hallucinations. Dentists do not extract figments of the imagination.

Then point out to him that it is impossible to distinguish evil from good unless one has an infinite reference point which is absolutely good.

The infinite reference point for distinguishing good from evil can only be found in the person of God, for God alone can exhaust the definition of “absolutely good.” If God does not exist, then there are no moral absolutes by which one can judge something (or someone) as being evil. More specifically, if God does not exist, there is no ultimate basis to judge the crimes. Seen in this light, the reality of evil actually requires the existence of God, rather than disproving it.

Secular ethics does not require god belief. The problem here lies that the article’s “infinite reference point” is a god who is said to be “an absolute”. In atheism, there is no need for an “infinite reference point” to distinguish good and evil. Good and bad actions are objectively based on the biological nature of human beings and are definable in absolute terms. Those objective standards are independent of any opinions or creeds.

It’s really this simple: Without living beings with needs, there can be no good or evil. Without the presence of more than one such living being, there can be no rules of conduct. Morality, then, emerges from humanity precisely because it exists to serve humanity.

Therefore, any chosen action that purposely benefits the human organism or society is morally good and any chosen action that purposely harms the human organism and society is morally bad.

8. Many sophisticated atheists today are fully aware of the philosophical pitfalls connected to offensive or dogmatic atheism. Prominent atheists such as Gordon Stein and Carl Sagan have admitted that God’s existence cannot be disproved. This has led such atheists to advocate skeptical “defensive atheism”. Defensive atheism asserts that while God’s existence cannot be logically or empirically disproved, it is nevertheless unproven. Atheists of this variety have actually redefined atheism to mean “an absence of belief in God” rather than “a denial of God’s existence”. For this more moderate type of atheism, the concept of “God” is like that of a unicorn, leprechaun, or elf. While they cannot be disproved, they remain unproven. Defensive atheism’s unbelief is grounded in the rejection of the proofs for God’s existence, and/or the belief that the concept of God lacks logical consistency.

Atheists can logically disprove the existence of a god. One known method is called The Argument of Incoherence (AKA Incompatible Properties Argument). The argument attempts to derive contradictions in the concept of God.

How about empirically disprove the existence of god? The argument from Physical Minds is a nice argument on the impossibility of a disembodied mind without the association of a material brain.

According to Gordon Stein, “Obviously, if theism is a belief in a God and atheism is a lack of a belief in a God, no third position or middle ground is possible. A person can either believe or not believe in a God.” (Gordon Stein, “The Meaning of Atheism and Agnosticism,” in G. Stein, editor, An anthology of atheism and rationalism, with introduction (Prometheus Books: Buffalo NY 1980).

Now here’s a quote on what Carl Sagan thinks about God, “The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying… it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.”

So when did Dr. Sagan and Gordon Stein say that god’s existence couldn’t be disproved? I don’t know…maybe it was an illusion of the ISCKON article.

Oh and by the way, atheists don’t re-invent the meaning of the word atheism as this ISCKON article allege. Atheism is not a denial of the theist’s claims; it’s skepticism of the theist’s claim.

9. Atheism cannot adequately explain the existence of the world.

Neither do theists.

10. An atheistic world is ultimately random, disorderly, transitive, and volatile. It is therefore incapable of providing the necessary preconditions to account for the laws of science, the universal laws of logic, and the human need for absolute moral standards. In short, it cannot account for the meaningful realities we encounter in life.
The theistic world-view, however, can explain these transcendental aspects of life. The uniformity of nature stems from God’s orderly design of the universe. The laws of logic are a reflection of the way God Himself thinks, and would have us to think as well.

A so-called transcendental aspect of life is an illusion. Supernatural and spiritual explanations only act as a temporary break from inquiries that enter the human mind. Speculations regarding transcendental aspects are empty. There are really no answers to something that is claimed to be beyond natural.

Posted in ReligionComments (3)

It's not a woman's world

2827464697_d46334b928_oEvery aspect of organized religion are male dominated. Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Brahman, Khristna, the priests, all are men. The religions themselves practice overt discrimination against women within their own institutions. They are run by men for men.

The major male dominated monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam have had a profound effect on women’s lives up to and including the present day. Woman was supposedly created as an afterthought from Adam’s rib. Even their holy books degrade women in the rank of plain accessories for men, a kind of property and worst, cattle and livestock. Her role established in the scriptures are nothing more but a temptress, a whore, a foot-washer and a domestic servant. She is suppose to be unclean during menstruation and untouchable until ritual cleansing after childbirth. As Elizabeth Cady Stanton once quoted, “The Bible teaches that woman brought sin and death into the world that she precipitated the fall of the race, that she was arraigned before the judgment seat of Heaven, tried, condemned and sentenced. Marriage for her was to be a condition of bondage, maternity a period of suffering and anguish, and in silence and subjection, she was to play the role of a dependent on man’s bounty for all her material wants, and for all the information she might desire.”

Here are some samples from the Christian Bible:

1. “And a man will choose…any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman…Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die” Ecclesiasticus, 25:18, 19 & 33.

2. Genesis 3:16 God punishes Eve, and all women after her, with the pains of childbirth and subjection to men.

3. Genesis 7:2 “The male and his female …” Notice that in the Bible female animals are the property of male animals, as women are the property of men.

{Gen. 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.}

4. Exodus 20:17 “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, … nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.” In the Bible, women are the property of men; they are his possessions — like an ox or an ass.

5. Genesis 19:8 (also see: 2 Pet.2:7-8) Lot refuses to give up his angels to the perverted mob, offering his two “virgin daughters” instead. He tells the bunch of sex-starved men to “do unto them [his daughters] as is good in your eyes.” This is the same man that is called “just” and “righteous”

6. Exodus 21:7 God explains how to go about selling your daughter — and what to do if she fails to please her new master.

7. Exodus 34:16 “Their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.” God always blames the women; it is they who “go a whoring” and then “make” the men “go a whoring.”

8. Leviticus 12:1-5 Women are dirty and sinful after childbirth, so God prescribes rituals for their purification. If a boy is born, the mother is unclean for 7 days and must be purified for 33 days; but if a girl is born, the mother is unclean for 14 days and be purified for 66 days. This is because, in the eyes of God, girls are twice as dirty as boys.

9. Leviticus 31:1-54 Under God’s direction, Moses’ army defeats the Midianites. They kill all the adult males, but take the women and children captive. When Moses learns that they left some live, he angrily says: “Have you saved all the women alive? Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” So they went back and did as Moses (and presumably God) instructed, killing everyone except for the virgins. In this way they got 32,000 virgins — Wow! (Even God gets some of the booty — including the virgins.)

10. Deuteronomy 5:21 Don’t covet your neighbor’s wife or ass — or any thing that belongs to your neighbor. You see, in the eyes of God, women are the possessions of men.

11. Deuteronomy 25:11-12 If two men fight and the wife of one grabs the “secrets” of the other, “then thou shalt cut off her hand” and “thine eye shall not pity her.”

12. Judges 9:53-54 After being hit in the head with a millstone thrown by a woman, a soldier orders his armor bearer to kill him so that no one would say that a woman had killed him.

13. Isaiah 3:12 Isaiah shows his contempt for women by saying that things have gotten so bad for his people that “women rule over them.”

14. Zechariah 5:7-8 Evil is personified as a woman.

15. Luke 2:23 Males are holy to God, not females.
(As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

16. Romans 1:27 Paul explains that “the natural use” of women is to act as sexual objects for the pleasure of men.
(And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.)

17. 1 Corinthians 11:3 Paul says “the head of the woman is the man,” meaning that the women are to be subordinate to men.

18. 1 Corinthians11:7-9 Men are made in “the image and glory of God,” but not women; they are “the glory” of men. Paul concludes that women are made from and for men.

19. 1 Corinthians14:34-35 Women are commanded by Paul to be silent in church and to be obedient to men. He further says that “if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in church.”

20. 1Timothy 2:11-12 Paul forbids women to teach or “to usurp authority over” men. Rather they are to “learn [from men] in silence with all subjection [to men].”

21. 1Peter 3:1 Peter orders all wives to be “in subjection” to their husbands.

Even Islam has its share of bigotry to women.

1. Have sex with your women whenever and as often as you like.
2:223 Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad).

2. A woman is worth one-half a man.
2:282 O ye who believe! When ye contract a debt for a fixed term, record it in writing. Let a scribe record it in writing between you (in terms of) equity. No scribe should refuse to write as Allah hath taught him, so let him write, and let him who incurreth the debt dictate, and let him observe his duty to Allah his Lord, and diminish naught thereof. But if he who oweth the debt is of low understanding, or weak, or unable himself to dictate, then let the guardian of his interests dictate in (terms of) equity. And call two witness from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not at hand, then a man and two women, of such as ye approve as witnesses, so that if one erreth (though forgetfulness) the other will remember. And the witnesses must not refuse when they are summoned. Be no averse to writing down (the contract) whether it be small or great, with (record of) the term thereof. That is more equitable in the sight of Allah and more sure for testimony, and the best way of avoiding doubt between you; save only in the case when it is actual merchandise which ye transfer among yourselves from hand to hand. In that case it is no sin for you if ye write it not. And have witnesses when ye sell to one another, and let no harm be done to scribe or witness. If ye do (harm to them) lo! it is a sin in you. Observe your duty to Allah. Allah is teaching you. And Allah is knower of all things.

3. Lot offers his daughters to a mob of angel rapers.
15:71 He said: Here are my daughters, if ye must be doing (so).

4. Believing women must lower their gaze and be modest, cover themselves with veils, and not reveal themselves except to their husbands, relatives, children, and slaves.
24:31 And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.

5. 38:52 Female companions await those who enter the Gardens of Eden on the Day of Reckoning.

6. 56: 36-37 Allah made virgins to be lovers and friends to those on his right hand.

Here are other samples from the Book of Mormon:
1. 2 Nephi 13:12 When women are allowed to rule, everything goes to hell in a hand basket.
2. Jacob 2:28 God delights in the chastity of women.

How about the early church fathers and known Christian personalities?

“Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the Devil’s gateway: You are the unsealer of the forbidden tree: You are the first deserter of the divine law: You are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert even the Son of God had to die.”
– St. Tertullian (about 155 to 225 CE)

“What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman……I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.”
– St. Augustine of Hippo (354 to 430 CE)

“As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.”
– St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 to 1274 CE)

“If they [women] become tired or even die that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that’s why they are there.”
– Martin Luther (1483 to 1546)

“In the beginning God made man male and female. He made Adam first, and then made Eve from Adam’s rib. This order of creation subordinates wives to their husbands in marriage, and women to men in the church. As an act of submission to their Creator women are commanded to submit to their husbands and to male leadership in the church. Women are not allowed to teach or have authority over men in any formal capacity in the church.”
– Reformation Fellowship of the East Valley, Mesa, AZ (circa 1995)

“Most of these feminists are radical, frustrated lesbians, many of them, and man-haters, and failures in their relationships with men, and who have declared war on the male gender. The Biblical condemnation of feminism has to do with its radical philosophy and goals. That’s the bottom line.”
– Jerry Falwell

History is quite cruel. Before these male dominated religions emerge, our ancestors were worshiping women.

The Cro-Magnon people, the first recognizable humans, were worshipping female deities as far as 35,000 BCE. Among the first human images discovered are the “Venus figures,” nude female figures having exaggerated sexual parts that date back to the Cro-Magnons of the Upper Paleolithic period between 35,000 and 10,000 BCE. Cave paintings women are depicted giving birth. “A naked Goddess appears to have been the patroness of the hunt to mammoth hunters in the Pyrenees and was also protectress of the hearth and lady of the wild things.”

Other female figurines were discovered dating back to the proto-Neolithic period of ca, 9000 – 7000 BCE, the Middle Neolithic period of ca. 6000 – 5000 BCE, and the Higher Neolithic period of ca. 4500 – 3500 BCE. Some of these figurines were decorated as if they had been objects of worship. In black Africa were discovered cave images of the Horned Goddess (later Isis, ca. 7000 – 6000 BCE). The Black Goddess images appeared to represent a bisexual, self-fertilizing woman.

Women were associated with fertility and reproduction so it was given to them the title of the “Great Mother”, the great symbol of the earth’s fertility, the creator of everything. The female life-giving principle was considered divine and a great mystery.

I say that modern organized churches are nothing more but an extension of bigotry and sexism. Women deserve more that what these religions try to portray them. Women are not just a play thing, nor a live stock for man to own. These books are sick to place women in such disgusting roles.


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Ashes to Ashes…dust to dust.

Well guess what…Every living thing in this planet turns into dust. If your doggie dies it turns to dust. So does your neighbor’s cat, the fish in the aquarium, oysters, elephants, a newt, a gecko – and even a petunia.

Yet you won’t see any word in the Bible that says they too are made from the “dust from the ground”.

Turning to dust is just a natural process.

Decomposition is a process where an object is separated into its simplest constituent parts. Since living things are made up of organic molecules like water, iron, a lot of carbon, calcium…etc. – these molecules will someday return to Earth.

Made from clay.
The Torah never said that God created man from “dust”. It says that man was created from wet clay.

וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָֽאָדָם עָפָר מִן־הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים

וַֽיְהִי הָֽאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּֽה׃(v’yyitzer YHWH ‘Elohim ‘et ha’adam ‘aphar min ha’adamah ) – Genesis 2:7

The word “dust” was translated by the Greek writers (which is very uninspired by the way) from the Hebrew word “aphar”, which means “clay, earth, mud, ashes, ground, morter, powder, rubbish. .” So let see…since the word aphar has a lot of meaning, which word is right?

Don’t ask me…Let’s ask Job.
Job 10:9 – “Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?”

How about Isaiah?
“Woe to those who hide deep from the LORD their counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, ‘Who sees us? Who knows us?’ You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay; that the thing made should say of its maker, ‘He did not make me;’ or the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding'”? (Isaiah 29:15-16)

Still not convinced? Let us ask Paul.
“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” (Romans 9:20-21)

Now…do other religions other than Judaism and Christianity teach that man is formed from clay?

From the middle Paleolithic culture, there are evidences of clay use. Clay was a crucial raw material for the manufacture of utensils for daily use. It is also use to create container for storage. Man has been using clay to create his pots and pans. He uses it to create bricks for his home. He even uses clay to create an image and likeness of himself and call them gods. So it is not a surprise that the use of clay has been incorporated to his mythology. In the creation story of the A-Hsi (a small tribe of the Yi people in China) for example, it is said that man came from yellow clay. T’oh-lo and Sha-lo first took the clay and used it to create man’s body. Then, using the black coal and the white mud they formed man’s eyes. The woman was then fashioned from the mans’ rib (sounds familiar?).

One of the clearest Babylonian descriptions of a deity creating man out of clay is preserved in the Gilgamesh Epic 4: . . . “the Goddess Aruru nipped off clay, cast it upon the ground, the hero Enkidu she built.” In ancient Mesopotamian myths, man is made from clay. The term “adama” (after which the name Adam was coined) means “red clay”. According to the myth, The Mother Goddess: Mix to a core the clay from the Basement of Earth just above the Abzu -and shape it into the form of a core.

The Fon of Dahomey (people living in the south of Benin (called Dahomey until 1975) and adjacent parts of Togo) believe that after he created and ordered the universe, Mawu formed the first human beings from clay and water. But clay was in short supply in those days, and so when men died, Mawu took their bodies to make new men.

Native origin stories in America, and elsewhere, frequently feature clay and mud in the creation of the world and of people, and of course in the invention of ceramics. In the Blackfeet of Montana, the Old Man created the first woman and her child from clay ( Blackfoot Lodge Tales pp.137-138).

Just wondering…Does the myth of humans come from clay only reflects the idea that ancient civilization used it to build potteries and their brick houses.

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