Category Archives: atheism

Fear, Hope, and God

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God? What The hell is that?

“When I was a child, I played as a child and spoke as a child. Now that I am a man I have put away childish things.”

Jesus

Believing in a god as an adult is not a childish act. If you ask me – it is merely an outcome of socialization. It is both a hope and a fear driven act.

The hope is to hold an idea of a much larger picture than what we believe about ourselves, purpose, meaning, and about reality.

The fear is to face the unknown without an omnipotent superhero to back us.

The childishness is pulling apart this toy named “God” in a tugging war with another inquiring mind.

As if either of us know anything.

Really.

We are all navigating the unknown…and, by our own devices.

The real mystery here, is happiness.

Is it not?

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Agnostic Blasphemy

agnostic.blasphemy

-by Catalyst

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Behavioral Software: End Game

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The fear, loss of control, and the posturing for an agreeable social position (both socially and subjectively designed) – all, while wielding a pre-conceptual schematic entailed with strategy, or, schema –  Is –  Ultimately, indicative of the ‘Social Conflict Theory‘ endgame.

The endgame in this case – is a kind of ‘Cerebral Real Estate.’ The cognitive identity is vulcanized by both extrinsic and intrinsic variable derivatives – inherent in-group aggression and out-group presets

Throughout cross-cultural and trans-cultural history, people continue to display the same behaviors spawned from old patterns. Social psychology doesn’t change often or quickly. Age old group dynamics remain consistent – and the human species remains resistant to change. Unfortunately, violence hails among these trends prevalent within the human nature, and war is international practice. The motives of leaders may vary, but the outcome shows an unchanging paradigm.

Several ideas have been consistent in social research focused on group aggression. A common theme coined as “chosenness” is typically a fundamental aspect of group based aggression (Eidelson & Eidelson, 2003). “Chosenness” reflects a hierarchy dynamic, posturing its members as superior to others. Typically, such a group is united by assigning itself a task. This conviction provides a feeling of cohesion and kinship within the group. Positioning itself against outsiders, the group tends to form a justified grievance in regard to another group or type of person. Naturally, this can quickly spur negative ramifications. Group violence or war is atypical of this behavior. In example – certain member(s) may perceive an external threat and legitimize aggression in the name of defense. Needless to say, the situation can quickly become hazardous.

Offensive violent proceedings are often justified as preventative measures. At times, aggression is viewed as the only option by the group and violence is a common symptom. Groups of this nature are polarized by a perceived motivational stimulus. A hierarchal group model could have one to possibly several figureheads, or, leaders. Gangs, and other aggressive aleigences may be based on a peer structure. The group may have a loose hierarchal system, or operate without a figure head at all. Positive leadership serves as a prevention in group aggression, but little else has proven effective.

The Social Learning Theory of Aggression is based on the premise that violent groups sustain a correlative relevance to first observing another assault-based model, thus reinforcing any prior violent leanings. Therefore, the behavior is not necessarily inherent – rather, it is learned. Social influence easily takes root in early childhood development. (Bandura, 1973). Higher rates of propensity toward violence have been identified in sub-cultural frameworks that condone and/or reward competitive members. Social scientist and Social Learning Theory of Aggression advocate, Albert Bandura, identified other violent cultural models portrayed in the media (television, video games, movies, sports…etc.), family, and sub-cultures as a key influence in perpetuating violent behavior.

Prejudice and Discrimination are either products of the group or found pre-existing in cultural models. Prejudice targets race, creed, political ideology, religion among other cultural schemas based on counter identities or beliefs. Discrimination extends from behavior, acting on prejudices. It is comprised of similar methodology and roots.


Realistic Conflict Theory provides a historical description leading to the roots of prejudice and discrimination. This model is competition based and reflects the primal nature of men. In example, this conflict is theorized to have been the cultural landscape during the co-existence of Neanderthal and Homo-sapien. Resources were jealously guarded and the competition was so extreme that it eventually led to the extinction of Neanderthal. Later on, this group dynamic was evident among American natives and European settlers.

Prejudice may also arise from the natural segregation societies use to divide up the world into distinct social categories. This is the derivative of the primary violent group models, as it creates the “us versus them” paradigm. The newly adopted mentality results in a binary effect. The “in-group” is the aggressor. The “out-group” is defined by the in-group.

The Social Cognitive Theory suggests that aggressive attitudes and a propensity toward violence is a trait adopted just as easily as any other social behavior and/or attitude. Social cognition is the process through which social information is adapted to mental processes. A familiar social cognition is “stereotyping.” A stereotype represents broadly shared views (typically negative) about another group, subculture, or race processes.

It can be said in several different ways.  It can be held up to the light, and the spectrum may be revealed.  However, if people do not reach for positive goals in resolving conflict, there is little hope for our future.  This may eventually prove to be the end of the game for us.

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The Catalyst Collective

THE “CAT” IN CATALYST

Richard Dawkins once herded a few cats. Paving a road to hell with good Intent…

His call fell deaf on one species.

egfox_black_panther_2011_hd_by_eg_art-d4kodv7

Depending on the continent (in some cases – continental region) it is known by different visual aspects, and, by various names.

In my region – North America, it is known as the cougar, or, “mountain lion.” However, in Southern-most regions of North America (Namely, Florida), the same species feline wears a black coat – and is called by “Panther.”

Further down…into the South American continental region, another variation of the same species is camouflaged with large black shapes against a jungle spotted with sunlight peeking through the rich Jungle canopy. This is the territory of the stealthy Jaguar. The Panther hails from this rain forest, too. Interestingly, in the sunlight, a keen eye will see Jaguar markings in a Panther’s night black coat.

This apex predator is also the “Puma.”

Why recycle Dawkins tired “cat” analogy? Because originality is commended, but as we find ourselves in the depths of middle history – redefinition is genius.

Dawkins had a great idea when he campaigned “herding the cats.” For those who are unfamiliar with this event, a little background is necessary.

Richard Dawkins is a renowned atheist advocate with a penetrating perspective supported by an apparatus of knowledge attained through a wealth of education decorated by doctoral authority in the field of evolutionary biology.

Dr. Dawkins ‘herding the cats’ campaign was a call to atheists, agnostics, and anti-theists alike.

This was a call for a stand against the religiously dominated cultural landscapes shaping modern civilization. The cat metaphor aptly symbolized the non-religious character because, questioning the clambering of the lumbering masses (religious majority) resembled the independent nature of the feline.

I thought the idea inspiring at the time. On paper, the idea sounded like a brushstroke of a visionary. In contrast, the idea yielded an intellectual crop that paralleled behavioral patterns of a wolf pack. This movement intended to strike at a cultural paradigm front with an equally offensive fire that only resulted in texturing an environment serving as the battlefield where worldviews dealt killing blows. Clashes rang out from wielding what amounted to conceit for both sides.

History grants us an immeasurable wisdom constructed by the pioneers who dared to eat deadly fruit, sail beyond the horizons were once feared to mark the end of our cube shaped earth, and explore the frozen limitation atop each end the earth’s axis.

As the wise historians before me, rather than mumbling condemning judgment – I see a trial of our social condition as a species. In this light, I call out to the cats, but only to those that have the traits of the tanned, black, and spotted apex masters that have evolved to walk silently across high mountain rocked ridge, shadow desert plains, and the dense jungle foliage where local shamans revere them as gods.

jaguar-maya

I ask for audience with those who dared to walk out…

This is the lone warrior who has turned weakness into advantage, and, in turn, obfuscates the concept of evolutionary progress with perfect design. This transcontinental species, as the homo sapien, displays optimal adaptation respective to a vast spectrum of different environments. There is no herding this brand of survivor because this animal is the omega of social distinction. Whether outcasted, outwitting, or out-following, this brand of sentience strides as a lone king with the nobility to lead.

Religions fail…atheism; weakened by confident conceit. Only through humility, abstraction, and firing the forge of creativity is the genius of imagination unfolded – And the tale of potential unbounded.

Are you my kind of cat? ;)

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