Monday, March 5, 2012

He who rides the tiger cannot dismount!


The ancient Chinese proverb pretty much sums up the situation of anyone held to a belief by fear of the alternative.  It is true of many religions, including Atheism, which, as practiced by some, but not all, can be a religion.  But, it is not true of all religious people or all atheists.

We need to learn to stop fearing what we don’t believe.  Relax.  It has no power over us and may even contain meaning.  Let what you ride be a peaceful mount – and let it be sturdy.


  1. Watch me dismount--- and I'm going to run like hell!

    1. Mayo, as I recall, you are pretty fast! This might work.

  2. Atheism is not by any normal defintition a religion:
    a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
    a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
    the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
    the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
    the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

    However I will allow that it might be followed regiously as in religiously adv - with extreme conscientiousness

    At least you didn't throw in the "so angry" argument.

    The tiger metaphor is particularly unfortunate as I will always confront and seek to destroy that particular beast, religion. I have no fear of it but I do feel a huge anger towards it for the harm and destruction it has wrought along with other beief systems that are used for the purposes of controling the lives of men especially when the are founded upon lies or at best half truths

    1. You will walk the path you feel you must. As I said on your blog, I respect you in this regard, that you have strong beliefs that you stand by. Indeed, we share most of the same broad social values.

      I don't like the disrespect you show others, though. That seems contradictory to your social values. But, then, who isn't contradictory, eh?

    2. Magpie, I believe "to confront" to be the right approach in anything life throws at us. However, your "seek to destroy" does smack a little of the same medicine that fundamentalists employ who wreck lives in the name of their believes. Obviously you yourself wouldn't hold a gun to someone who worships at a shrine but use of language has the power to incite too.


  3. "He who rides the tiger cannot dismount". Love the metaphor. Conjuring up so many scenarios. Mayo, as ever, being pragmatic. Though he too might be advised, no matter how fast a runner he is, to stay on top. However, if the tiger is clever and does an emergency stop then, by law of physics, any of us will fly off his back. So remember to always carry a tin of catfood with you. Just in case.


    1. Good advice. In fact, a 55 gallon drum filled with cat food might be appropriate in this case.

  4. I will grant that atheism is not a religion per se but certain atheists trumpet their beliefs in a manner totally consistent with the worst kind of religious zealots. I also suggest that based upon magpie's 1, 2, 3 & 5 definitions atheism comes pretty damn close. do feel a huge anger towards it for the harm and destruction it has wrought along with other belief systems that are used for the purposes of controling the lives of men especially when the are founded upon lies or at best half truths is something I completely agree with. I also believe confrontation to be the appropriate approach, but I recognize the fact that destruction of religion as magpie espouses is futile simply because there are so many decent religious people offering a rational approach (yeah I know - rational religion - an oxymoron) that gives people hope.

  5. There are three issues here that I would like to address.

    1.Six Criteria/Characterestics That Make For A Religion

    Social Organisation.

    All six characteristics exist among present day atheists to be called a religion. I hope that I do not have to elaborate on each characteristic to justify my contention. Anyone wants to explore more simply have to google for Society + Atheists.

    2. Religion serves the ethical function of providing a framework of moral order, which commands ultimate loyalty from those who subscribe to it. Religion also provides, moral sanction to martyrdom and violence. It is an expression of faith, involves an identity with and a loyalty to a large community and insists on the moral legitimacy of the authority invested in the leadership of the community.
    (Paraphrased from “Religious humanitarianism and the global politics of secularism”, a chapter in the book, “Rethinking Secularism”, OUP)

    By this definition too, atheism can now be safely called a religion. You need no further to go than to recall Christopher Hitchens to call some one a martyr.

    3. Atheism has not yet reconciled something that worries me. It mostly addresses its antipathy to the three Abrahamic religions and is by and large silent on the Eastern religions which preceded Natural Selection by the theory of karma and evolution till nirvana, thousands of years. Those scientists who did probe, like Niels Bohr, Fritjof Capra etc have accepted remarkable parallels between physics and philosophy.

    And finally, why is it wrong to call atheism a religion, when it is proselytizing so much?

    1. Very nicely laid out, Rummuser! I knew you had been studying this, but this contains the seeds of a series of posts.


  6. And on an earthly tone with tongue firmly in cheek, I would dearly love to mount a peaceful and sturdy tigress.

  7. There is competition there my friend. A mine deactivator yet, who has publicly stated his intention to quote shag unquote my betrothed!


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