Saturday, December 6, 2008

Santa and Atheists

I do love atheists for their intelligence and scientific way of thinking - but frankly they do not know entirely what they are talking about for one simple reason - they generally do not meditate a great deal. The same can be said about many religious people. Pursuit of truth without thousands of hours in silence is like the pursuit of physics without thousands of experiments, or the discipline of endless hours of doing the math.

Do atheists offer a scientific explanation or theory about how much better off we actually would be without the major world religions - most of which teach compassion and kindness? That would be more interesting and convincing than ridiculing organizations that have managed to survive thousands of years and have offered relief to millions of suffering people. If all religions united around the fundamentals of compassion it would be better than getting rid of them altogether, in favor or what? Governments? Universities? It would be like getting rid of science because of all the deaths from car crashes, atom bombs, medicines, guns, etc. Science has killed as many people as all the religions put together, and may actually be in the process of destroying life for good on our planet.

It would be hard to imagine that famous atheists like Dawkins do not understand that all so-called religious wars are nothing but power struggles for resources with the excuse of religion. If we remove religion - other excuses for violence will arise, so what would be the point? It would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. We should not do that to religion or science. Do both religion and science need to wake up in a rather big way? Yes! And let not money and power be their motives!

A favorite argument of atheists is that one cannot prove the non-existence of a pink elephant in the sky who runs the Universe. And it is true. Atheists cannot disprove God's existence, nor can anyone else prove God's existence - scientifically. But, that is the whole point! Scientific proof only applies to the material world. Anything that is of the non-material world is up for grabs. We are allowed to invent anything - "dinglehoppers", pink elephants, and God - whatever makes us better people, or life more enjoyable. Our devotion and worship of what we imagine defines us and leads us beyond the material. It is with God in mind that some of the greatest music in the world was composed, for example. Far more fascinating and limitless than the material world. Once we venture into the non-material world we will eventually stumble upon the truth which is far beyond our imagination. This is unlikely if we stay focused only on the material world, no matter how Bison-Higgs-like.

The reason for this post is, that my nine-year-old son who "knows" there is no Santa Claus, refuses to give up the fantasy and I am expected to play along like a mother should to the point of providing excellent details about the Northpole, present delivery, rules of goodness that guarantee lots of gifts, etc. My inner atheists and scientist, including my traumatized self of having been "lied to" as a child, have a lot of resistance to this, but as I was triumphantly told by my Jedi warrior two nights ago: "Nobody can prove to me that Santa does not exist! You can't prove ANYTHING that doesn't exist, that is doesn't exist!" A child's mind is naturally Buddhist, non-dualistic and free.

So why not create a magical world of love and surprises - like my mother did for me. Fantasy Christmas is much more fun than secular, scientific Christmas. Atheists do not know the joy and pleasure serious religious people - those who simply have infinite trust and faith like children, or those who do their own endless experiments meditating - indulge in. Science is almost as much fun, but not quite. Scientists and religious people who have it right have a twinkle in their eyes. All the others look miserable and grumpy in their struggle for fame and power.

When I could only find this "dinglehopper" clip in Norwegian I realized - even language is a crazy invention of the imagination. One man's religion makes no sense to another - neither does one man's language make any sense to another. As Ramana Maharshi says: "We need to discover our own true source. That is all that is required." We can start with a smile. Maybe while sitting in silence.

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