I tell people that I am an atheist to all religion.
With some respect due to Pascal the man, but none due at all to his wager – which he came up with to make himself feel better about becoming religious and his wager does not reflect any of his former mathematical or intellectually integrity – because Pascal was at first, a gambler and a mathematician second – and religious last – and it was in this final end of sad tragic days – that he came up with the infamous wager which is only compelling to people who think that the God Pascal worshipped was the same god that they worship.
Because it’s a false thing to say that either there’s a god or there’s not – and assume that there is only one god possible, given the plethora of equally credible gods and goddesses and non-human dieties and demi-beings that have been just as passionately worshipped as any modern version of ancient tribal gods.
I mean really, I have to ask – why do people not understand that the only difference between a cult and a religion – is how long the cult has been around and whether it attracted over time, enough followers to promote said cult to the status of a modern mainstream religion.
So in the modern day – a small group with a new belief is a cult that hasn’t been around long enough to turn professional and become a religion.
Now, the problem with cult/religion is that they are all about humans. What humans wrote down, how they decided people should be and how people should behave – and worse – what was written down was a reflection of the society at the time of the original writing.
So the early Christians were not one cohesive group, but a number of groups each following a different alleged disciple but certainly a cult leader under their own “Disciple” name brand.
To put that in modern terms – exactly how Elvis fans are divided between the various personalities that make up Elvis’ Memphis Mafia group – maybe hating Red and Sony West – the cousins behind The Bodyguard Book – or maybe liking Joe Esposito and Jerry Schilling and Marty Lacker for being employable guys outside of Elvisworld who seemed less like hangers on than others and who then tried to do their best under difficult conditions or liking Marty Lacker for his online Elvisworld participation or supporting Elvis’ cousin Billy Smith but Lamar Fike disliker or who/what – ever.
Aside: If you read only the books written by the Memphis Mafia guys, it’s not hard to figure out what kind of fun Elvis had playing these guys against each other – because you have to consider that anything they said about Elvis being less than honorable, went double for them – because Elvis was their leader and they all obeyed or they were simply no longer invited. It astonishes me when people “tell all” that they never realize what “all” that they are revealing by what they don’t tell.
Each of the men who wrote the texts that were later edited together to form one comprehensive approved cannon – known specifically as “the Bible” (trivia: this formerly most printed book worldwide has been out-printed worldwide by the Ikea Catalog, which to my mind is the most lesbian pornpgraphic magazine in the whole world) – and leaving out the text that did not serve the agenda of the committee who decided what was cannon and what was fodder, or later committees who revised the material for social, political and scientific updates.
For example – the Greeks loved geometry and the Romans loved engineering and had no other use for math but they loved to conquer people – so they subjugated a lot of nations – peoples – and they demanded tribute from the leaders of their new subjects ….
No one had invented statistics and math was only used by the Romans for Public Works Engineering projects and inventory of tribute arriving from conquered peoples.
So, Mary and Joesph couldn’t have gone to Bethlehem for a Roman Census – because King Herod had already died before the year designated 0001 AD, had been only consumed with killing off blood family rivals and why the population didn’t like him being propped up by the Roman Empire so could never have gotten away with slaughtering peasant babies, and none of the secular documentation – the massive amount of secular documentation of this extremely well documented era of history –
I mean, if you think that the Liz Taylor-Richard Burton dumping Eddie Fisher who had dumped poor Debbie Reynolds scandal was huge – or in modern terms – Jennifer-Brad-Angelina or whatever current so called reality show bimbo is on the tabloids this week was socially significant.
Cleopatra marrying Julius Caesar in Egypt then showing up in Rome with an illegitimate son while Caesar’s barren wife had stood by him for decades and he puts up a statue of Venus that looks like Cleo……
Then Cleo blows town, Julius is killed just as he’s crowned emperor of Rome, who needs no kings, being a republic that falls into factional disarray – and Cleo doesn’t support Julius legal heir – Octavian, a slip of a boy, barely a man – and instead – throws herself at Marc Anthony – another married Roman General and married him and has more illegitimate children and funds a Roman Civil War….
So Romans, being Roman, supported Caesar’s legal heir – Octavian, now styling as Augustus Caesar – because it didn’t matter how hot Cleo was – she was the last pharaoh of Egypt that Julius had propped up as an independent state instead of as the conquered province that Romans wanted it to be.
So there’s a lot of sex scandals in history to make movies about – and the lives of celebrities now are pale imitations to the political sexual scandals that underwrite the history that we make movies and tell stories about.
– so King Herod – a minor player in the Cleo-Caesar-Antony vs Caesar Saga – he never counted his citizens for the hated Romans, any killing babies was strictly kept in the Royal Extended Family and counting done under Herod was for inventory of the tribute that he sent to Rome, a thank you for making him King of the Jews while Rome was abuzz over Egypt – in the person of Cleopatra.
Rome counting how many peoples they subjugated and expressed the wealth of the peoples subjugated by the amount of treasure and slaves – they did not care how many people each subjugated peoples were compromised of.
More than that – the mathematics needed to conduct a population census hadn’t been invented yet. The first known national census was done in England for William the Conqueror – and he only had acres and livestock counted.
Because that’s what the king owned – the land and the resources – the first census was to count the treasury inventory – not peasants. Peasants came with the land they they were permitted to squat on.
But the idea of a census of peasants followed the development of the mathematical theory and techniques – so once we had a new shiny tool – we had to use it.
And the need to count and quantify people came with government as a civil service – because once taxes were budgeted for social infrastructure – military, public works, roadways, and we had a need to account for migration and population, when taxes were no longer the treasury and private domain of the king – but became the means by which the government created physical or social infrastructure – and peasants began to attain person-hood under the law – than you William the Conqueror and the 1066 establishment of a code of law which set out social rights and responsibilities and personal freedoms – when peasants were no longer subjected to the will of the king or the nobility.
Basically – once there was a middle class below the nobility but above the peasants – and it’s money that determines which socioeconomic class you are in – well, peasants paid taxes to be left alone, the middle class pays taxes in exchange for government services.
With this new social arrangement – the mathematics of accounting, budgeting, statistical data collection and statistical analysis of data – that was all invented after William the Conqueror but before King James and his bible 2.0.
And it’s bible 2.0 that all modern American bible versions – and I have no idea what number they are up to – but the Mormons added a whole new testament for Bible version 2. 1.0.
So by the time the King James bible was being revised – the stories updated for the then modern sensibility – the crafters of the bible needed to make the 17th century population relate to the old stories that took place in entirely different social and political times – and they took the basic story and updated the emotional values of the story by adding modern grievances to universal stories of peasants subjected to the whims of the king.
Must have been nostalgic for King James – who knew he was more figurehead than king compared to the kings of old who didn’t have parliaments or political parties or social/political movements supporting political parties to deal with.
Submitting to a government census was by the time of the 17th century, a socially understood concept and people quite rightly bristle at the government collecting massive data without a clear purpose as to the why and what and how come they are entitled/demanding said data.
Sorry, stream of consciousness tangent.
So I am an atheist to the Monotheistic Abrahamic Trilogy Religion – and to Pantheon religions who posit a multitude of deities and demi-beings, because – again, the intellectually and mathematically honest Pascal would have smacked religious Pascal’s wager right out the window and onto the manure pile where it belongs.
The probability of there being a single god is as close to zero as it’s mathematically possible to get – however, it’s true – as long as the probabiliy isn’t actually zero – then, there is a chance that there might be a god.
But which god, there’s 7 billion people on earth now and population statistics estimate that there’s been about 104 billion humans over the course of all of human history – so combined with how many more humans will be born – that means that there’s a one in (7 billion + 104 billion + X more humans) chance that you are the one person who’s won the god-lottery and picked the right god.
And I don’t know about anyone reading, but given the odds – Practically Zero and then the 1 in (110 billion plus X) chance of worshipping the right god – given the plethora of all possible known currently gods –
I think not worshipping any one is a lot safer – because at least, when you die and there turns out to be one – it would probably not be as forgiving to those who worshipped a false/competitor god than someone who said – well, I would have worshipped you, but I didn’t get a clear memo that you were the go to god.
So, at least – hey, I didn’t obey a bunch of rules written by humans and instead – I made sure that my carbon footprint was small and that I left everyone and every place that I went to in a better condition or as good a condition – as when I encountered it.
Because – I don’t understand people who assert that following the revealed true word of god is more important than being a caretaker for said god’s creation – the Earth and all the creatures and people on it.
But, I am not religious, I don’t beleive that there is anything like the gods created by religions.
I am a naturalist – the study of nature is science and the practice of nature is something that can’t be quantified with science but occurs in harmony with nature.
Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto and other eastern philosophies that revere nature in all it’s forces – whatever the source of the forces – it’s all nature – all the way down