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"There are many people ...
who have found themselves
questioning beliefs they inherited
but never really examined.

This is nowhere more apt to be the case than in the area of religious beliefs.
Our religious beliefs come to us in a protective coating of age and respectability,

like the invisible "force field" of science fiction.

It takes a degree of intellectual courage
to penetrate this penumbra of sanctity
and inspect a belief on its own merits.

Still, many people have done so.

They have themselves asking such questions as:

how do I know
that this book called the Bible is supernaturally revealed
and infallible word of God?

How do I know that there is even
such a being as God?

When people begin seriously to raise questions of this sort,
they find that their "faith",
that is,
their accustomed belief-patterns,
seems increasingly insubstantial.

- Thomas S. Vernon,
Professor of Philosophy
Author of "The Complete Secularist"

"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind"

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our God was made by men,
sculptured by savages
who did the best they could.

They made our God
somewhat like themselves,
and gave to him their passions,
their ideas of right and wrong.

As man advanced
he slowly changed his God
- took a little ferocity from his heart,
and put a little kindness in his eyes.

As man progressed
he obtained a wider view,
extending his intellectual horizon,

and again he changed his God,
making him as nearly perfect as he could,
and yet this God was patterned after those who made him...."

" Fix Reason firmly to her seat,
and call to her tribunal every fact,
every opinion.

Question with boldness even the existence of a God"

- Thomas Jefferson

New reformation Leaving

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October 24, 2006
Questioning Religious Faith and Yet Finding Inspiration

Can an atheist lift the spirit?
In her searing and bracingly funny solo show "Letting Go of God,"
Julia Sweeney traces her bumpy journey away from religious faith in an accessible, no-frills format that suggests the kind of inspirational self-help lecture you might see around PBS pledge time.

But where Deepak Chopra or Wayne W. Dyer, say, come bearing warm broth, distilled from revered spiritual traditions,
Ms. Sweeney arrives with a bucket of cold water for all supernatural belief systems,
from her family's old-school Roman Catholicism to the New Age alternatives (including Mr. Chopra) embraced by many of her peers.

In her fluent, friendly and offhandedly riveting account,
what started with a visit from two young Mormon missionaries soon became a fitful but unrelenting quest for an adult understanding of the deity she always sincerely sensed was at her side.
Ms. Sweeney felt God's presence, sure but what did she really believe about him?

She's almost sorry she asked:
upon examination, the Bible horrifies her *,
and so, ultimately, does the implicit determinism of every spiritual approach she tries,
from Buddhism to the Deist notion of God in nature.**

Once she loses the Christian plot she'd never before questioned,
the idea that everything happens for a reason in a universe
where someone, or something, is minding the store increasingly rings hollow.

Ms. Sweeney, in other words, has come a long way from the snickering androgyny of the film "It's Pat!"
and gone deeper than her previous solo show, "God Said `Ha!'," about her brother's fatal lymphoma.

Without breaking her affably conversational tone,
in "Letting Go of God" she inhabits the emotional memory of each step on her path,
from the cozy warmth of her erstwhile prayerful faith to the confusion and terror,
and finally the hard-earned peace of mind,
that attend her gradual un-conversion.

At a time when religious faith is either the subject of shrill controversy, with prejudice and misunderstanding on both sides (Mel Gibson, meet Christopher Hitchens),
or of a lukewarm tolerance that's fundamentally uncurious about what people actually believe,
"Letting Go of God" is refreshingly unrancorous, lucid and, yes, inspirational.
Ms. Sweeney may not believe her audience has spirits*** to be moved, but that's certainly how it feels.

End of review

* Parts of the Bible should horrify.. have an open-minded look at this

Yes, I know the arguement for progressive revelation,
but I think that humanity has become at least a little more moral in spite of religion,
not because of religion.
Think of the Crusades ( Holy War )...
Europe's wars between Catholics & Protestants
"Heretics" & "witches" burnt alive
etc etc - all after the NT "revelation"

** Deist :

Definitions of deist on the Web: (from

One who admits the possibility of the existence of a God or gods,
but claims to know nothing of either, and denies revelation.

A person whose worldview embraces Deism [noun] [OW]
a philosophy of natural religion, emphasizing morality,
and, usually, denying interference by a Creator with the laws of the universe.

One who subscribes to or professes the belief in the existence of a personal God, based solely on the testimony of reason and rejecting any supernatural revelation;
also believing that God created the world and set it into motion,
subject to natural laws,
but takes no interest in it.

a person who believes that God created the universe and then abandoned it

Deism is a religious philosophy and movement that became prominent in England, France,
and the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries. ...

From wikipedia ( at the time I wrote this ) :
"Defining the essence of English Deism is a formidable task.
Like priestcraft, atheism, and freethinking,
Deism was one of the dirty words of the age.

Deists were stigmatized often as atheists by their Christian opponents.

Yet some Deists claimed to be Christian, and as Leslie Stephen argued in retrospect, the Deists shared so many fundamental rational suppositions with their orthodox opponents... that it is practically impossible to distinguish between them.

But the term Deism is nevertheless a meaningful one....

Too many men of letters of the time agree
about the essential nature of English Deism
for modern scholars to ignore the simple fact
that what sets the Deists apart
from even their most latitudinarian Christian contemporaries
is their desire to lay aside scriptural revelation as rationally incomprehensible,
and thus useless, or even detrimental, to human society and to religion.

While there may possibly be exceptions, ... most Deists,
especially as the eighteenth century wears on,
agree that revealed Scripture is nothing but a joke or "well-invented flam."

About mid-century, John Leland, in his historical and analytical account of the movement
[View of the Principal Deistical Writers],
squarely states that the rejection of revealed Scripture
is the characteristic element of Deism,

a view further codified by such authorities as Ephraim Chambers and Samuel Johnson. ...

"DEISM," writes Stephens bluntly, "is a denial of all reveal'd Religion."

James E. Force, "Introduction (1990)
to An Account of the Growth of Deism in England (1696) by William Stephens"

Don't forget these Deists emerged from a world dominated by the church
before the size of the universe was known
before the evidence of species evolving
and before our understanding of the psychology of subjective experience.

If the universe "must" have a creator/designer who HAD to create/design "Him" / "It" ?

It's too easy to simply "have faith" without thinking much about it.....

*** Spirits - A clever use of two of the different meanings of "spirits"

Of course our spirits ( emotions ) can be raised by those who believe that "our spirit" refers only to our personality.
Have a thoughtfull read here....
and and here....

The word spirit generally a synonym for soul comes from the Latin spiritus, and clearly meant 'breath' originally.

It makes perfect sense that when primitive man saw that a fellow tribesman had stopped breathing,
he thought that the life spirit had left the now dead body of his friend....

The body went down into the earth eventually
after the breath (spirit ) & smell (spirit ) rose "up" and "went away" !!

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