Posted on Apr.20.2007 @ 10:45AM EDT by vfrvfr
The only true freethinkers are agnostic freethinkers.
That is the beauty of being a freethinker. We can think for ourselves.
As such, when we get a toolbox we can decide which tools to use for the job. Some tools are used a lot, other tools are left alone for the time being, and still others are trashed when we see they are broken and useless.
Again, a freethinker is 'free to decide' how they wish to proceed.
Just be careful of falling into the trap of 'mind manacled freethinker' as many ego based people fall into.
The prejudiced, blind, small minded thinker cannot entertain freethought as they must block or censor the ideas and concepts before testing them for truth.
Their ego will not allow it! Such people do not operate on truth, they operate on ego. There is nothing wrong with having personal opinions, but when we use these opinions to destroy others, then it does become very wrong.
The difference between an authority and an authoritarian is this.
An authority speaks from a place of truth and such speaks as an authority. Whereas an authoritarian rules by fear and not by truth. For the truth stands on it own and the authoritarian stands on their EGO.
No, egocentricity is not good for spiritual work and we need to be open to others ideas and embrace them as nourishment for your growth and sustenance for life - as no one person is God.
Traditional freethinkers (atheists) do not accept me as one of their group, since I draw from spiritual paths as well as wordily areas to garner wisdom to live at peace. Traditional freethinkers do not like anything that comes from religion.
Kind of a misnomer isn't it...I'm a freethinker...but I must block out everything that comes from religion and spiritual traditions and whatever other prejudice I wish to inject into the equation?
Psychologist William James once said, "A great many people believe they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."
When we limit prejudice we can open our minds to truth and peace. And realize the truth of Blake's words that "all deities reside within the human breast."
If it is religion that an atheists need to adopt, they only have to look as far as the religion of humanity. But just paying secular humanism lip service will not do any good.
Our talk of spiritual values must match our actions.
I was at a religious discussion where the group was composed of a wide spectrum of believers and non believers. One atheist said he ran his life by the golden rule. Another person piped up that the golden rule came from the bible, which made the atheist wince.
The atheist seemed to take pride in his self sufficiency and did not like to run his life by anything that came out of the bible. When it came up that the concept of golden rule might be from an earlier source than the bible, the atheist was relieved.
This was a good reminder to me to examine where my guiding light resides? Is it ego based or truth based?
When the guiding light of this atheist was not grounded in the bible he was happy. But when it came from an area that he did not like, he was upset.
How can the same material be used to build a palace by one man, yet only build a hovel for another? By one spiritual practitioner seeing truth and applying it to live a life at peace. And the other person only seeing prejudice and problems and doing nothing.
Every religion was made by man and as such every religion is imperfect as it is run by man. Despite these imperfections, each religion also has many "perfection's" within it as well.
We can still be open to peace generating tools from any of the religions and spiritual traditions that are available to us if we are serious about being at peace. This requires us to run our life by truth and not by prejudice.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12). Nowadays this verse is commonly referred to as “The Golden Rule,” and is more commonly quoted as: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Here are some of the earliest sources for this concept of reciprocity
~1970-1640 BCE "Do for one who may do for you, / That you may cause him thus to do." - The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 109-110, Ancient Egypt, tr. R.B. Parkinson.
* ~700 BCE "That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self." - Dadistan-i-Dinik 94:5, Zoroastrianism.
* ? BCE "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others." - Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29, Zoroastrianism.
* ~550 BCE "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself: I am the LORD." - Tanakh, new JPS translation, Leviticus 19:18, Judaism.
* ~500 BCE "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." - Udana-Varga 5:18, Buddhism.
Now, whether you believe in God or believe in Jesus or are an atheist or Buddhist does this wisdom not apply to you? This truth is universal in nature as it is based not on being of a certain religion, other than that of the religion of humanity.
In this case, you can adopt a peace generating tool and apply it to your life irrespective of your religious beliefs or lack thereof.
I had to chuckle one time when an atheist argued that the golden rule is not perfect, so he said he does not follow it. When I questioned him about what he does follow as well as the state of perfection that applied to his life, all he could do was reply with profanities and attacks on me.
Those that can't argue truth...argue personalities.
If we are waiting for perfection when it comes to spiritual studies we will always be disappointed. Before applying perfection to anything outside of us, we should examine the perfection within us.
The nature of humans is that of imperfection, so we must always look towards direction and forget perfection.
I heard a story one time in a Yoga lecture that illustrates this point. "Range is of the ego - Form is of the soul." The only thing we need to be concerned with is how is our form when it comes to our spiritual practice and our life.
Regarding the golden rule? It is more perfect than imperfect, so it is a most useful tool to live a life at peace by.
And when we combine it with other tools such as universality, natural law, contrast the greater good with the greater right, etc the synergistic effect is close to perfection as humans can get with this subject.
But it takes some thinking and one will not see it without an open mind. Wisdom for living a life at peace is all around us for the taking. But many of us get blinded with labels and personal prejudices.
Whenever we take it upon ourselves to beat down, we are headed in a direction of destroying peace. We destroy our own peace as well as others peace. As such, I practice from many religious and spiritual traditions without problems or prejudices and readily look for such gifts irrespective of what label they come under - on the contrary I am most grateful wherever I find them.
If I am not able to use a concept, I leave it alone, but do not spend my time or energies to beat others down.
Do we like to be beaten down?
I saw some paintings in a Japanese museum that showed a cousin of the Buddha being of great power and to show his strength he went up to a baby elephant and pushed it down to the ground. A second painting showed the Buddha helping this baby elephant back up to his feet and the Buddha lifted the elephant high up over his head and said, "It is much better to uplift - than to tear down."
Whether this is a true story or not I do not know. But we can all benefit from uplifting rather than destroying.
I see this predisposition to destruction many times in responses I receive from my posts. The critiques offer much in the line of 'no goods' but they seldom do they offer any substantive tools to finding peace. Maybe I do not have it '100% right' but I have it 'right enough' to be able to be at peace if I apply these principles. If I waited for perfection, I would never act. I use the tools at hand.
Aristotle ~ "It is the mark of an educated mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness where only an approximation is possible."
This being able to 'rest satisfied' is something the perfectionists lack and why they will never be at peace until they stop collecting concepts and start using the concepts of peace generations.
The atheist I mentioned above demonstrated this with his blanket dismissal of the golden rule since it is not 100% perfect. He could offer no substitutes for the golden rule, all he could do was succumb to personal attacks on me. We can examine our writing to see what useful tools for finding peace we offer to others it also says a lot about our own practice of generating inner peace.
When you practice peace promotion with others you will reap inner peace promotion. When you practice destroying others peace, you will reap self destruction of inner peace. This is the truth when the prejudice of ego is stripped away.
Whether atheists, theists or Buddhists, I submit that you all drop the pretense and lies that you have been grasping onto for entire life and rebuild your life through a foundation of truth and testing and regenerate yourselves into a truth based agnostic freethinker.