Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Believing is a matter of choice: Biblical Creation or the Big Bang

Up to what point did scientific facts transform your biblical beliefs?

When we do not know our actual choices, we cannot make informed decisions; ergo no real “freedom of choice” exists. Corporate monoliths and institutional officialdom shape our beliefs through propaganda that distorts our perception of our choices. In the United States (and most of the world) the scope of the deception is nearly unfathomable — almost all of our beliefs about us and reality have been programmed by people who never had our best interests at heart.

”The opposite of bravery is not cowardice, but conformity” – Dr Robert Anthony
”What you hear repeatedly, you will eventually believe” – Mike Murdoch

The most disturbing yet apt analogy to the human mind is a blank computer disk. When we are born we have only two choices — receive the necessary programming for the maintenance of life, or die. But it is the great affliction of the human condition that the mind has little or no ability to keep out the “bad” data in preference of the “good.” Just like the Internet surfer who may unwittingly download a virus, the mind has little or no awareness of the false and/or harmful information that penetrates its defenses. And in fact, human consciousness is far more susceptible to corruption than computer files. Because unlike these files, human beings have the innate need both to continuously learn, and to form beliefs.

From the time you roll out of bed in the morning you begin acting on your beliefs. In a matter of moments, you will have made a number of choices that profoundly impact your life in ways you have probably never imagined. And these choices are often based on tacit assumptions that have little or no foundation in reality.

In our purportedly “Christian” nation, many people try to live their lives in accordance with the teachings of the historic figure known as
Jesus of Nazareth. But even if one accepts on “faith” that Jesus was the Son of God and all of his teachings were valid, one still faces the arduous, perhaps IMPOSSIBLE task, of discerning what he actually taught. The language and meaning of the Gospels varies dramatically from one interpretation to another. In the King James Version (translated from Greek), Jesus on the cross is quoted as saying, “My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” But in the Assyrian author George Lamsa’s interpretation of the Bible (translated from the Aramaic Peshitta), Jesus says, “My God for this I was spared.” The sentiment of the two statements could not stand in greater contrast. Yet surprisingly few Christians display any real skepticism toward biblical literalism and “official” interpretations of the Gospels.

What we call “the Bible” has passed through many phases of sectarian modification and censorship. Yet many Christians of every denomination unwaveringly regard it as “the word of God.” In fact, the dogma of most every institutional religion in the world has been shaped by the hands of self-serving interests. Ancient myths are taught as divine truth. Puritanism is promoted to instill fear and control behavior. Spiritual teachings that originally exalted such concepts as unity, equality, peacefulness, and forgiveness, have been corrupted by ideological concepts of racial and nationalistic superiority, vengeance, and warfare.

Spiritual nourishment outside of religion is also not easily attained. Volumes of spiritual and “new age” literature promote ideas that might seem much evolved on the surface, but may actually create greater confusion and distress in spiritual aspirants. A common theme in much of the literature is that both the external world and the perception of oneself as an autonomous individual are illusory. These concepts are heavily derived from Eastern thought systems that promote “non-duality” as the ultimate truth. Many self-styled gurus extol these ideas while offering little or no explanatory foundations — they make statements such as “there is no you,” “the belief in self is false,” “there is only oneness and universal consciousness,” and then leave it to the aspirant to work through the existential quandaries on his or her own. Should the message be that individuality itself is an illusion, or rather that the false self — the worldly personality built upon fear, insecurity, and competitiveness — can be shed for a much larger, more inclusive, invulnerable identity that might be called “spirit”?

Wherever we look for the answers to life’s questions both big and small, it is better to trust one’s own internal compass than to blindly accept the assertions of seemingly impressive “experts.” This is even true in the intellectually intimidating domain of “hard science.” In fact, many scientists believe fervently in things that have little or no support in reality.

The “consensus of leading scientists” tells us that the universe began 13.7 billion years ago with a primordial “Big Bang.” But the underlying reasoning behind the Big Bang — the belief that cosmic redshift is a reliable indicator of distance, thus proving an expanding Universe — has, in the minds of Big Bang critics, been definitively refuted. As far back as the 1960’s, astronomer Halton Arp began documenting instances where two or more galaxies and/or quasars were associated, or even physically connected, in contradiction of the assumption that their different redshifts meant that one should be millions or even billions of light-years farther away than the other. And Big Bang theory was always hampered by the problem of “inhomogenity.” Raw subatomic — or preatomic — material exploding outward at nearly the speed of light would produce an evenly distributed cloud with no force present to generate cosmic structure. But in fact, we observe cosmic structure everywhere we look, and the distribution of matter is profoundly uneven. Astronomers see great “voids” where no galaxies are apparently visible for many millions of light years, and they see great concentrations of matter, both of which falsify the inherent, logical “predictions” of the original theory. Nevertheless, mainstream astronomy and science media almost always refer to the Big Bang as if it were an unassailable FACT, and no real challenges exist. (For background, see Scientists See Nothing - Call it 'Parallel Universe')

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