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52 year old working professional. Raised and schooled as a Roman Catholic and became "born again" at 21. Taught various Sunday School ages for many years. Served as an Elder in a small Baptist church. Did a slight veer back to the Catholic way in recent years, but am now convinced that there are many paths to God. I enjoy reading and studying the world's great religions and believe that there are real truths in each of them, and that there are many paths to God, just as many streams lead to a single river.



A practical guide to personal freedom. It is not religious, but very spiritual. Don Miguel Ruiz is a shaman in the tradition of the Toltec. A shaman (nagual) guides an individual to personal freedom. Experience freedom, true happiness and love. Make these simple agreements with yourself...

1) be impeccable with your word

2) don't take anything personally

3) don't make assumptions

4) always do your best.

from "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz, 1997, Amber-Allen Publishing, San Rafael, CA.


from Hinduism: Create a home altar.
from Buddhism: Meditate and find peace.
from Islam: Surrender to prayer.
from Christianity: Forgive yourself and others.
from Judaism: Make time for the Sabbath.
from Native American Spirituality: Let nature be your teacher.
from Taoism: Go with the flow.
from New Thought: Catch God's vision of your life.
from All Traditions: Offer yourself in service to others.

from "Wisdom Walk: Nine Practices for Creating Peace and Balance from the World's Spiritual Traditions" by Sage Bennet, PhD., 2007, New World Library, Novato, CA.


"What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists, is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents." --- Robert F. Kennedy
"A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion." --- Gandhi
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them. " --- Mother Teresa
"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? --- Robert F. Kennedy
"O Great Spirit, let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock." --- from a Sioux Indian prayer
"Charity is no substitute for justice withheld." --- Saint Augustine
"There is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and an asian America - there's the United States of America." --- Barack Obama
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." --- Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create. " --- Pope John Paul II
"Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is offense, pardon... For: It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life." --- Prayer of Saint Francis
"Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding." --- Albert Einstein
"A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life." --- Muhammad Ali

"Life is the gift of nature, but beautiful living is the gift of wisdom." --- Ancient Greek Adage

"The main emphasis in Buddhism is to transform the mind, and transformation depends on meditation." --- The Dalai Lama

"An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind. " --- Kahlil Gibran

"There is a means of polishing all things whereby rust may be removed. That which polishes the heart is the invocation of Allah." --- Qur'an

"How can a man's life keep its course if he will not let it flow? Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force: They feel no wear, they feel no tear, they need no mending, no repair." --- Lao-Tzu, "Tao Te Ching"

"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know, the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found a way to serve." --- Albert Schweitzer

"The most powerful moral influence is example." --- Huston Smith

"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Muhammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong." --- John Lennon

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The next time you find yourself debating an atheist, try this line...

If I'm right, I win. If you're right, you win nothing. If I'm wrong, I lose nothing. If you're wrong, you lose!

What does an atheist lose if he/she is wrong? Everything.
What does a believer in God lose if he/she is wrong? Nothing.


Brian Westley said...

What does an atheist lose if he/she is wrong? Everything.Wrong. It depends entirely what kinds of god(s) exist.

For example, some theists are universalists; if they're right, everyone gets into heaven (or its equivalent). Atheists don't lose there.

What does a believer in God lose if he/she is wrong? Nothing.Wrong. It depends on what they're wrong about.

For example, let's say atheism is correct.

And let's say the "believer" in question is a Jehovah's Witness, who dies at the age of 23 of an easily treatable medical problem because he refuses blood transfusions for religious reasons.

That particular believer probably lost YEARS of his life due to his irrational religious beliefs. In fact, since this is MY example, let's say he would have lived to age 92 if he had gotten a transfusion. That means he lost 3/4 of his life, due solely to his erroneous religious views.

It isn't even difficult to find a situation where atheists are better of than one group of theists, because a different god exists.

For example, let's say the Jews are right.

Judaism doesn't have too much to say about non-Jews, but most Jewish scholars think that the laws given to Noah are binding on all humans, not just Jews.

It's possible for an atheist to keep within the seven Noachide laws, but all Christians are violating the first law, which is no idolatry (sound familiar)? If the Jews are right, Jesus was just a man, and worshipping Jesus as god is idolatry.

So in that particular case, atheists at least have a possibility of staying within the 7 laws, while Christians have already lost.

Finally, the real problem with Pascal's wager is that it manufactures false knowledge out of whatever assumptions the asker wants to create. It's meaningless in the truest sense.

For example, a god could exist who considers skepticism to be the deciding factor in who gets into heaven -- theists, who believe in god(s) get sent to hell for being too gullible, while atheists get into heaven for being skeptical. So if that god exists, atheists gain everything and believers lose everything.

You can posit any number of gods that act in any number of bizarre or capricious ways, in order to produce any kind of outcome from Pascal's wager. Which is why it's a very poor argument.

Anonymous said...

You won't have to tell the atheist that, because he or she will already know it. Atheists don't lack faith because they want to or because they can't see the comfort in believing. By the way, this "argument" for believing doesn't seem very compassionate.


"No god but God" by Reza Aslan

The following description of "No god but God" - Random House, New York 2006, is from author Reza Aslan's website (

Though it is the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam remains shrouded by ignorance and fear. What is the essence of this ancient faith? Is it a religion of peace or war? How does Allah differ from the God of Jews and Christians? Can an Islamic State be founded on democratic values such as pluralism and human rights?

A writer and scholar of comparative religions, Reza Aslan has garnered international acclaim for the passion and clarity he has brought to these questions.

In No god but God, Aslan challenges the "clash of civilizations" mentality that has distorted our view of Islam and explains this critical faith in all its complexity, beauty, and compassion.Contrary to popular perception, Islam is a religion firmly rooted in the prophetic traditions of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Aslan begins with a vivid account of the social and religious milieu from which the Prophet Muhammad arose.

The revelations that Muhammad received in Mecca and Medina, and which were recorded in the Quran, became the foundation of a radically egalitarian community, the likes of which had never been seen before. Soon after the his death, the Prophet's successors set about the overwhelming task of defining and interpreting Muhammad's message for future generations. Their efforts led to the development of a comprehensive code of conduct expected to regulate every aspect of the believer's life. But this attempt only widened the chasm between orthodox Islam and its two major sects, Shiism and Sufism, both of which Aslan presents in rich detail.

Finally, "No god but God" examines how, in the shadow of European colonialism, Muslims developed conflicting strategies to reconcile traditional Islamic values with the social and political realities of the modern world. With the emergence of the Islamic State in the 20th century, this contest over the future of Islam has become a passionate, sometimes violent battle between those who seek to enforce a rigid and archaic legal code on society and those who struggle to harmonize the teachings of the Prophet with contemporary ideals of democracy and human rights. According to Reza Aslan, we are now living in the era of the Islamic Reformation.

"No god but God" is a persuasive and elegantly written account of the origins, evolution, and future of Islam.


  • SHAHADAH: There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.
  • SALAT: Obligatory prayers, five times a day.
  • ZAKAT: Setting aside a portion of your possessions for those in need.
  • RAMADAN: A month of fasting from dawn until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations.
  • HAJJ: Once in a lifetime pilgrimage, health and finances permitting, to Mecca.