the Dao of Atheism :jeffers' petroglyph, pre-dakota, minnesota : the Shaman Atheist 5/81


The earth and the universe
have no attachments.
Everything is dust
to them, within them.
So, too, the wise
have no permanent attachments.
To them also
people are dust, ideas are dust.

Still, the earth is like a fan:
never filled,
constantly giving.
The more it works,
the more it gives.

The more one speaks
of theism or atheism,
the less is understood.
Better to keep quiet
and look inside.

Belief is very different from experience, yet some people treat them the same. Religious faith for some is a belief unsubstantiated by experience. Lacking experience, they still feel that a god exists. But with a spiritual experience, there is no need for belief or faith because the experience is declarative.

The lack of experience is also declarative. It does not say that no experience is possible in the future, only that such an experience has not happened yet. Without experience there is no reason for belief. Agnosticism is a softer word, yet is still a form of atheism. No claim on either side of the god question is made, so ignorance reigns supreme.
The god question, however, is a problem of the mind, not of experience. Theists experience god, atheists do not. If agnostics experience god, then they would have the knowledge of experience to become theists. But agnostics do not have experience of god either, and are, in sum, atheists. When Thomas Huxley invented the word "agnosticism" in the late 1800s, he did so in order to evade the label of atheist which was synonymous with the anti-theism of his day and to proclaim his ignorance in matters beyond his experience. Agnosticism has become a polite way of saying "no comment" when asked about the god question when, in reality, there is the experience of no-god from which to speak.

Arguing the non-existence of god is flattering oneself with the ability to reason through the combined forces of utter ignorance, inexperience and mystery. A clever blind person may be able to convince other blind people that light does not exist based on their common experience, but that argument will not endure the experience of those who see light and color.

The goal should never be to convince others that one's own experience is universal, rather to accept the experience that one has and to grow from it.

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