Throughout the chapters in this book and in other writings, I speak very critically of faith, because it is the acceptance as true that for which we have neither evidence, or at least good evidence, nor sound reasoning, which is the essence of laziness, dishonesty, and untruthfulness. What I am referring to here is religious faith, which is not at all the same as having faith in ourselves or extending trust to our children, which I would call true faith. Those who are religious will often paint the word “faith” with a broad brush, making it sound as if true faith and religious faith are one and the same, but this conflation is misleading and is simply not true. We are sometimes asked or feel compelled to take chances or to “step out in faith” when there is no evidence or a guarantee we will succeed. This would be akin to taking a risk to start a new business which may fail, putting our child in a rehabilitation program that may not work, being rejected by another person we approach, etc. Again, I would say these are examples of true faith and are not at all the same as “religious faith,” which is the blind acceptance of something as true without evidence, or at least good evidence, nor sound reasoning to back up a truth or factual claim. In fact, religious faith is quite often the old standby excuse people give when they don’t have evidence or sound reasoning to back up their religious convictions. If they did have good evidence or sound reasoning, then religious faith would instead become religious fact. True faith by contrast is the “starting point” if you will in which we “step out” – away from self-preservation and into a perspective of perceiving more than just the part – the seen, or the known, but also the whole – the unseen, or the unknown.
To truly love is to act within consideration for the whole – the All – the big picture, and not solely from the perspective of self – of ego. The reason “stepping out” is an act of “faith,” is because the very act of “stepping outside ourselves” is always stepping out into the unseen, the unknown, because the whole – the “non-part,” the “non-ego” is not a thing we can “prove” or “perceive” as we can material objects, but we step out regardless and take a risk because it is only by taking risks that we can love. That is why “playing it safe” is a guarantee we will never love precisely because love involves what is ultimately unseen and unknown. To “play it safe” is to only go where we know we are going – the “beaten path” as it were. It is to believe we need to have it all “figured out” before we make a move. While careful planning and discernment of the best course of action is an important and necessary element in our decision-making processes, we must also accept the fact that if we are to do many kinds of things in our lives, there are some things we simply cannot know no matter how much we plan and prepare for the future. Any parent, married couple, or business owner among others will attest to this fact. Since the act of stepping out into the unknown away from the sole focus on self is faith, and since faith is the required action to love – to see beyond the perspective of the part – of the self for the sake of the whole, then there is no loving without faith. While we technically do not have material “evidence” for the whole, we can sense we are part of a whole just as we are aware of our whole body while also being conscious of the individual “parts” of our whole body at the same time.
Careful observation and sound reasoning can also enable us to see and understand we are part of one whole. Considering the “whole,” or the “big picture” in our actions is not a subjective opinion. What we call “right” is often instead what we want things to be, rather than how things actually are. The whole, the “big picture” is not an opinion. It is. Relativism is false, because relativism is based only on our opinions and beliefs. But our beliefs and opinions do not necessarily define reality – what is actually true. They only define our reality – our subjective opinions of that which may or may not be true. We know deep down inside when we consider only ourselves. We also know deep down inside when we consider others as well as ourselves – the “big picture.” This “deep down,” or “gut level” knowledge is our awareness of truth, which is often called our conscience. When we look at the two parts of the word “conscience,” we can see the word “con” means “with,” and “science” means “knowledge.” So “conscience” can mean “with knowledge” or “with knowing.” The fact most of us even have a conscience at all demonstrates the awareness of non-subjective Reality – the Truth of the “big picture” of the whole and the fact our egos are only a part of a whole. Those who lack a conscience could almost certainly be said to have a kind of disability – a cognitive inability to enable awareness of self and whole simultaneously, as well as the inability to empathize with others and consider more than themselves in their thought processes. When this inability becomes extreme, one could be correctly considered narcissistic and delusional – believing the world truly does revolve around “me,” when it never does. Since “conscience” means “with knowledge” or “with knowing,” then to lack a conscience could be said to be the exact opposite – to be ignorant.
When we love, we choose big picture over self, which means we truly detach and let go of our desired outcomes and agendas, and instead become a witness to what is. This detachment – this “letting go” of self could be called “faith,” since faith is the act of refocusing on the whole – on the unseen, instead of only the part – the seen, as stated previously. This could also be called trust because there are times when we extend trust to those who are unproven, such as our children, as also stated previously. We sometimes take a risk without knowing how things will turn out – without evidence if you will, because if we do not trust and give an unproven person a chance, then we may never know what they are capable of. This can also be said of ourselves – if we do not take reasonable risks, then we also may never know what we are capable of. We have take a risk – to step out in trust – in “faith” if you will, even though we cannot know the ultimate outcome of that risk if we want to try such things as starting a new business endeavor, a new hobby, or a relationship which may or may not pan out.
To let go of self for the sake of the whole – to love, can be a very difficult thing to do because our survival instinct tells us to preserve our egos – our “selves” at all costs. This action of self-preservation – of choosing part over whole without acknowledging the whole is fear. To choose whole over part while still acknowledging the part is true faith, and is the antithesis of fear. To see whole over part while still acknowledging the part is true love. It is what we sometimes call “selflessness” over “selfishness.” It could be said that faith is the action of detachment – the “way” which enables us to love. It could also be said that love is seeing the whole – seeing what is from this detachment – from faith, or trust. Said another way, faith is the bridge which connects part with whole – self with All. It is like the unseen rock bridge in which Indiana Jones “steps out” in faith – in trust he will not fall into the chasm – that he will not fail in saving his father by not trying to save himself. He steps out in faith for the sake of the big picture, instead of giving in to his survival instinct to preserve his ego.
In truth there is no real separation between “self” and “other” – “part” and “whole,” as all is truly always one. But since we live our lives from the very real perspective of “ego,” of separation, then the perceptions of “part” and “whole,” of “self,” and “other” are also very real to us. That is why we must continually remain aware of oneness – of wholeness – within our perspective of self, of “part” at the same time. Being human, we are not always going to be aware of this, or able to detach, step out in faith, or love when we would like, and will almost certainly still struggle from time to time when we inevitably find ourselves less tolerant and understanding – especially in times of stress and instability. That is why when we are not aware of oneness we need to have means of reminding ourselves – with mantras, with steps we can take to help ourselves refocus, when for the sake of the part we lose focus on the whole – focus on the “big picture.”
The bottom line is, the difference between “religious faith” and “true faith,” is religious faith is of fear, while true faith is of love. True faith also involves that which is of the real world, “real life” if you will. It involves faith in oneself and faith in others – actual real people and things – not blind faith in superstitious notions and imaginary “supernatural” beings to pacify our hopes and soothe our fears as we do in “religious faith.” How can we say the “supernatural” is imaginary? Well, for starters there is never any way to prove the “supernatural,” nor a “supernatural cause” for anything, because the “supernatural,” being non-quantifiable, with no empirically verifiable attributes, can therefore never be tested and demonstrated to third parties under controlled parameters. That is why there exists no credible science for these “forces,” only hearsay, pseudoscience, and questionable claims as to what these forces supposedly “are” by con-artists such as psychics, mediums, prophets, preachers, and gurus, who claim to be “experts” in the field of “the transcendental.”
Since only these “experts” are supposedly “in the know,” with everyone else “out of the loop,” these people believe they can claim exclusive, authoritative “special knowledge” which can never be challenged by anyone else. Since they cannot prove their claims through demonstrative tests to third parties, as you would test the credibility and existence of anything else, they tell us we must take their claims “on faith.” This is the essence of religious faith, which has nothing to do with true faith we looked at earlier. Those who dare to question these incredible claims are often chided by these “experts” and their followers for their lack of “faith.” Unless we are willing to swallow their claims hook, line, and sinker, without ever asking serious, critical-thinking questions, we are told our “faith” is “weak.” This entire setup is a very convenient and lucrative situation for those who wish to con themselves and the gullible into believing claims they want to buy in to, such as “life everlasting” for our egos. It is also an incredibly convenient way to exercise power over others by claiming imaginary “transcendent,” authoritative, “special knowledge” others must “believe in” to obtain rewards and/or avoid punishment from this mysterious “force” we must obey. The Catholic Church learned these manipulative lessons well, built its incredible wealth on this very lie, and had no qualms in murdering countless people to satiate its greedy, money-grubbing, power-hungry campaign of coercion and violence which while not as extreme today as during the times of the Crusades and the Inquisitions, still continues on.
When we look at the entire structure of this, it is obviously nothing more than a fictional construct of the ego to serve itself – the false notion of “authority” so we can feel powerful and “superior” to others when we use religion to control, or when we use religion to feel powerful when we feel we are being controlled by others and by outside circumstances. This list of egotistical con-artists and charlatans who invent these imaginary constructs would include such religious figures as the apostle Paul, who if he did not invent Christianity, certainly had a major role in its proliferation as perhaps Christianity’s best propagandist, even while admitting he never actually met a flesh-and-blood Jesus, yet preached a gospel based on a “vision” of Christ, which is no more reality than a dream. Paul’s story is actually no different than Joseph Smith’s claims he was “visited” by “two personages,” presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ, in which supposed “revelations” by these “visitors” led to his establishment of Mormonism. While most everyone – including most mainstream Christians consider Mormonism a cult which lacks any factual credibility, they fail to recognize their “mainstream” Christian faith is no less suspect in its conception than Mormonism itself. The fact most mainstream Christians cannot see the double standard they apply in accepting their own faith without evidence, while also rejecting Mormonism as well as other religions outright without evidence, reveal their ignorance and hypocrisy. The complete lack of real evidence from Paul, or for the factual human existence of Jesus Christ for that matter, require all who would follow Christianity to take it on “faith” – just the same as those who accept Mormonism and all other religions must also take their religious beliefs on “faith” – because all of them are equally lacking in genuine, good evidence which would validate their factual credibility. True to the spirit of Paul and Joseph Smith, pastors and priests continue to this day to sell sugar to the masses, and collect plenty of cash in the offering basket to pay their salaries, under the pious guise of “giving to God.”
Since there is no way to technically “prove” or “disprove” the supernatural through scientific demonstration, just as we cannot scientifically prove or disprove leprechauns, the Tooth Fairy, or Santa Claus, these con-artists are in a win-win situation. They offer what the public wants, who buy what they offer because most people don’t want to know the truth, but what their egos want to hear. Basically, psychics, mediums, gurus, prophets, and preachers, are simply niche salespeople – identifying a want of the people, and capitalizing on it, taking advantage of the gullible. They may not be fully conscious of this, and may truly believe in what they are doing, but that does not take away from the fact of what they are actually doing – selling false hope, egotistically validating non-reality – lies. The fact they can get away with this fraud of collecting money in exchange for lies, and not be put in jail, is a crime in and of itself. Just because we cannot scientifically prove or disprove something does not mean it is true by default as many “believers” claim. The burden of proof is on those who make extraordinary claims, which require extraordinary evidence. Yet there is not one shred of hard evidence – extraordinary or ordinary, for “the supernatural.”
While “having faith” is often considered a positive attribute, it is actually dishonest because “having faith” in the religious sense, is nothing more than the acceptance of something as true with neither evidence, or at least good evidence, nor sound reasoning to back it up, as stated previously. There is no honesty in accepting something as fact without evidence or at least sound reasoning, just the same as it would not be fair nor honest to conclude a person was guilty of a crime without evidence, or accepting “round squares” exist even though the very concept is logically impossible. Truth is what is, not necessarily what we want things to be. What would be honest is to admit we believe something because we want to believe it is true rather than lie to ourselves and call our assumptions “truth,” when there is neither evidence, or at least good evidence, nor sound reasoning to prove or demonstrate the fact. If we want to be honest, then we need to call faith for what it is – the assumption of the “truth” of that which validates our hopes and soothes our fears, not knowledge of the facts whether or not they conform to our personal desires. That is why all conclusions for the existence of “the supernatural” are dishonest.
If there is a true cause for something, then it is able to be tested, since that which produces a physical effect must always be a physical cause. The reason for this is because All is One. The reason All is One is because the idea there are two “opposite,” “separate,” and “independent” “realities” as purported by spiritualists and most religious people who champion the concept of “substance dualism,” or “mind-body dualism” to support their belief in a separate “supernatural God” and “the spiritual,” is a contradiction and must therefore be false; because if this was the case, then one “reality” would cancel out the other, resulting in only nothingness, which is obviously not true. Therefore, no “transcendent” or “supernatural reality” as distinct and separate from the physical world can “cause” that which is of the physical world. When I use the word “physical,” I am more accurately talking about the phenomenal – the principles of stasis and change which are no thing or being, nor “separate” and “independent” “realities,” as we have discovered before, but are rather opposite aspects of the same One – “two sides” of the same coin. The principles are clearly evident in the universe through our observations of change in everything we perceive, as well as stasis in which we observe the retaining of form even while that form is constantly and subtly changing at the same time. The phenomenal also includes “non-material” manifestations of energy we cannot necessarily “see” with our eyes, such as gravity and electromagnetic radiation, but can perceive with other means. It must be stressed these principles and energy itself are not of a “transcendent reality” as the “spiritual” is claimed to be. All is a single whole, which must therefore be a “closed” system with nothing “outside” it, or “beyond” it because all is ALL. For if there truly was a “transcendent reality,” as separate and independent of the “non-transcendent” reality, then by definition it could have nothing whatsoever to do with the “non-transcendent” reality. If something is beyond this world, then it could have nothing to do with any causality within it. If God did have something to do with the natural world – if God could influence and “act upon” the natural world as theists claim God does, then God would necessarily be a natural reality and therefore subject to testing and observation, and not a “supernatural” reality. That is why the notion of a “timeless,” “transcendent,” “personal” and “supernatural” God intervening within the natural world of causality is a contradiction and is absurd. Again – if something leaves verifiable, testable, observable effects on this world, as theists claim God does, then the “affecter” must therefore also be subject to testing and verifiable proof because all is One – a single whole as we discovered earlier, meaning the “affecter” and the “affected” are in essence, one and the same.
The bottom line is, all positive claims – that is, claims made about the nature of reality in the physical, natural world, are subject to testing and observation, including any so-called “supernatural” explanations for phenomenon within the physical, natural world. We cannot have it both ways – to say God “acts” in this world, the results of which we can observe, while at the same time say God himself is not subject to verifiable proof, and is instead of being a scientific matter of fact is “beyond science” and is simply “a matter of faith.” This once again is an example of the use of a contradiction and a double standard to explain reality, which cannot be true since as we have discovered several times before, contradictions and double standards are always false. To say God is “beyond science” or “beyond verifiable reality” as we know it is a copout “answer” which is a meaningless assertion that answers nothing at all, and is a contradiction besides, like a “round-square.” Either God and his effects on this world are a matter of fact, and are therefore subject to verifiable, testable, scientific proof and evidence God exists, or God and his effects on this world are a matter of faith, in which case there is no verifiable, scientific evidence for God’s existence. It always must be one or the other. It can never be both. Those who claim the contradictory position God is “real,” yet “beyond science” at the same time have not carefully thought through the contradiction of what such a belief actually means. To be “real” means that which we are speaking of and its effects must be observable and therefore subject to testing, just the same as anything else that is real has aspects and effects we can observe and test, such as matter, gravity, and electromagnetic radiation. Therefore to say God is “real,” yet not subject to scientific proof and observation is a contradiction and is therefore false. This self-contradictory doublethink, and the need to have it “both ways” in order for an assertion to be true, is the essence of all magical and supernatural thinking, and is the reason why all such magical and supernatural thinking and assertions are false. When looked at objectively and rationally, magical and supernatural thinking is simply a defense mechanism to help us deal with our cognitive dissonance – our psychological discomfort which arises from holding contradictory beliefs, such as the belief God is “real,” yet “beyond science” and verifiable reality at the same time.
The bottom line is, whenever someone requires your faith, you know they are a fraud, because anyone with credibility would encourage questioning to arrive at the truth of a given question through evidence, rather than ask us to “believe” in the claims of an “authority” through “faith.” If anyone claims they have exclusive “special knowledge” only they have access to, which requires you to “believe” them, and cannot prove or easily demonstrate the truth of what they are claiming, you know they are a scam artist. The reason for this is because nobody has “special powers” other people do not have. Sure, some of us may be more sensitive than others, or have greater ability than others in one skill or another, but nobody has “special transcendent powers” which are of “the supernatural” and unique to a given individual others do not possess. The reason for this is because the universe is all natural, as we have discovered before in this book. This is why the literal notion Jesus had “special transcendent powers” others did not have is untrue. The idea some people have “special transcendent powers” others do not have is just another way to exalt ourselves or others into the realm of the “elect” and “chosen” of God, while putting those who do not possess these “special powers” into the realm of being “beneath us” who are “less worthy.” This is just a game to bring ourselves and others up while putting others down, which is war-mongering, egotistical, and most unloving. It is nothing more than narcissistic egotism based in superstition and delusional self-importance, not reality. Still, not all who make these claims are fully or even partially aware of their deception, so not all are being consciously fraudulent, but any person who offers truly credible information should be able to demonstrate the truth of what they are saying without needing you to “believe” them. Believing is not knowing. What is true need never be accepted on faith, because what is true can be easily demonstrated to others through evidence and/or sound reasoning.
In short, what is credible can be proven and/or demonstrated to be true. That which is not credible cannot be proven or demonstrated to be true. While there are some things which are true we cannot technically “prove,” such as love and integrity, they can be demonstrated by the fruits of our actions and words. That which is of love and integrity requires no defense. That which is not of love and integrity always requires defenses and justifications. The mere fact all belief systems require justifications, apologetics, and defenses demonstrate their non-reality, and the fact they are not of love, nor integrity, but ego.
Unlike truth, claims for “the supernatural” can never be demonstrated nor proven, as we discovered before. We can demonstrate truths such as oneness, the fact time is an illusion, and the fact there is no beginning and no end to All by simply asking questions and finding honest answers to our deepest inquiries through sincere investigation and sound reasoning to know the truth of what is, regardless of the cost to our ego and its cherished beliefs. Belief is different from knowledge, because belief is always an egotistically desired conclusion made in ignorance of truth. That is precisely why we believe and have “faith,” as faith is always blind, since it is a product of ignorance. If we have knowledge of truth, we do not need to believe. Our ignorance, hopes, and fears, are the three reasons for belief, for “faith.” Without this unholy trinity, religious faith is unnecessary. That is why religious faith is fraud. True faith is the step we take to help us love and see truth… awareness of the Oneness of All as the only truth… the only reality.