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Is Atheism Just Another Belief?

Temy R. Beal

[This speech was originally delivered before the Alabama Freethought Association at Lake Hypatia, Talladega, AL on September 8, 1996.]

Let me tell you a story. When I was 17 years old, one night I went into my room and went to bed. Shortly, there appeared from out of nowhere, just a few steps from my bed, a feminine, angelic being. Though I couldn't make out any specific facial features, I simply "knew" she was female. She hovered about a foot off the floor and her whole body radiated a soft white glow, as though she were a GE soft white light bulb. She wore long white gossamer robes which had the same glow, and which fluttered as though a stiff breeze were blowing. I was a bit startled but my surprise and curiosity overcame any fear. She told me to come over to her and I got out of bed and walked over to where she was hovering. When I turned around and faced the bed I was alarmed to see my body still lying there, and yet I was over here too and had another body. She assured me it was all right and I was not to worry, so I didn't worry any more about it. She said she wanted to show me something and took my hand in hers. Her hand was small and soft but strong. She said I was to come with her and she began slowly ascending toward the ceiling. I balked at that thinking I couldn't go through a ceiling. She continued and I looked down at my feet and was amazed to see that they were no longer touching the floor.

She smiled and I felt the smile in my mind. It suddenly occurred to me that she had never actually spoken in the usual way, but she was communicating with me telepathically. When she wanted to say something to me, she simply thought it and I heard the words, not with my ears, but inside my head. It's difficult to describe, but I also realized that I could know her intent or emotion in the same way, even without the words. When I balked at going through the ceiling and she smiled, I felt a warmth radiate through my body and I understood that her smile at my naiveté created the warm feeling in me. I also realized that I was communicating my thoughts to her via telepathy without even trying, because I had no idea how to try.

I agreed to go with her but I still ducked my head as it approached the ceiling. Then, to my amazement, I found myself passing effortlessly through the plywood. I was surprised when many years later I saw the movie "GHOST" with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. The depiction of Swayze passing through doors was exactly like my experience of passing through the ceiling. There was the musty smell of the attic, then we passed through the tin roof. There was a sort of crunching sound when we went through the plywood ceiling, but passing through the tin roof had a ringing sound.

When we cleared the house and rose to about treetop level, I suddenly realized I was cold. It was the middle of a late autumn night in northwest Georgia and I was wearing only my pajamas. The moment I realized I was cold, I was enveloped in what seemed to be a small cloud of warm air. She assured me I could move around as I wanted but cautioned me to stay close to her. She let go of me and I found myself floating 50 feet or so off the ground with no support at all. I wondered what would happen if I went up further and instantly the earth receded from me at blinding speed, though I had no sensation of movement. It was just as though I had remained still and the earth had suddenly sped away. I was a bit startled but found that she was right with me and we were now so far out that we could see the earth and moon together. I wanted to immediately go everywhere and see everything. I found myself zipping along through the galaxy, with my guide, zigzagging between solar systems as easily as a downhill skier negotiating slalom poles. Time and distance were not relevant.

I wondered if I could see what a sun was like inside and was assured it was okay. I dove into a huge yellow one to check it out. I was completely engulfed in an incredible amount of light, though I felt no heat and the light didn't hurt my eyes. There was a roar like a thousand freight trains speeding all around me, and the sound and light actually seemed to be a part of one, but there was no discomfort.

I saw worlds of every possible description. Some were tiny, airless and barren; others were huge and had no more solidity than a cloud. They appeared to be a collection of jewels of every color, strewn along a black carpet. Occasionally I would sense living things on one. Once I tried to descend to one to look at it up close but was told that it was forbidden. I was disappointed but accepted that and continued on with her. Eventually, she returned me to my house, back down through the roof and ceiling. She gave me that warming smile again and said I should remember this. I felt the cold linoleum under my feet. Then I walked over and lay back down into my body. She said good-bye, ascended through the ceiling and was gone. The next memory I have is of waking up with the sun shining in my face. The first thing I did was look over to see if she was there. No one was there. I was pretty sure it was a dream but I got up and went over and stood in the spot where I had been in the dream. I raised my finger and poked at the plywood ceiling hoping, willing it to pass through, but it did not.

I really did have this dream. It was the best dream I ever had and I remember every detail of it as clearly now as I did the morning afterward. I know that it was a dream. But there are many people who would insist that it was not. What would be your reaction if someone told you this story and adamantly insisted that it was not merely a dream, but that they actually had an out of body experience? Maybe some of you would say they were insane. Others might think that, but might be more charitable in talking to them about it. Some of you may actually agree with them that maybe it really was an out of body experience. How could anyone else really know?

I would tell them that they are simply mistaken or misguided, that such things are simply not possible in objective reality. I certainly would not argue against anyone's subjective experience, but I would insist it was just that, subjective, meaning that whatever they may have experienced, it occurred entirely within the confines of their skull, as opposed to something happening outside the body. If another person had been watching at the time, they would not have seen the angelic being through the ceiling. Knowing just a bit about the laws of nature, I would assure them that, while virtually anything can occur within a dream or hallucination, it has been shown millions of times over that no solid object, such as a human body, can pass effortlessly through another solid object, such as a piece of plywood or tin. And if it did pass through, there would be damage to the body and a definite hole in the wood or tin.

Ah, they might argue, it was not my physical body which passed through, but my astral body, or soul or spirit. And since both spirits and angels are immaterial, an observer would not have seen it happen. I would then ask, if spirits and angels are immaterial, and presumably invisible, how is it that they saw the being or their own alleged astral body? And I would probably tell them McKown's maxim, which states that the invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike. Their response would likely be something along the lines of, "Well, you see such things with spiritual eyes, not the physical," as though it were established that either spirits, angels, or "spiritual eyes" existed.

There seems to be two basic categories of philosophy and their respective adherents. In one, which I'll call category A, you would find such things as metaphysics, idealism, and theism. In the other, category B, you would find such things as materialism, naturalism, realism and atheism. You might think these two groups are pretty much mutually exclusive, but there are many people who seem to pick and choose from them as though they were buffets. To save some time I've listed these, along with a brief definition and some comments, in an addendum to this little speech. [1] It may be cheating a bit but it will save some wear and tear on my voice and your butts.

I included atheism in category B and theism in category A, because they seem entirely compatible with the other philosophies therein. This, it seems to me, is the fundamental difference between categories A and B: The things in category A are beliefs and must remain so since they are not based upon objective evidence, but on an unfounded assumption that, not only is mind separable from and independent of matter, but preceded matter. The things in category B are based upon objective evidence and are verifiable either directly (empirically), or indirectly (logically), which makes them, not merely beliefs or doctrines but, pieces of knowledge.

It is for this reason that I reject the definition of atheism as merely a belief, and refer to myself as a gnostic atheist evangelist. [2] I mean by that, that I know, not merely believe, that there is no God and I preach that gospel. [3] Since I don't have the time now to go into great detail about this, I refer you to a paper by Paul Keller called "GNOSTIC ATHEISM" [4] for more detailed argumentation on that. Now, let me explain or qualify, what I mean by "knowing" as opposed to "believing."

Socrates is credited with saying, "I know only that I know nothing." I think if you will examine that closely you will find it to be a self-contradictory statement. Any statement which contradicts itself is, by definition, a false statement. One cannot both know nothing and know something simultaneously. If you think one can never know anything then, to be consistent, you should never again use the phrase "I know." Perhaps my intent will be clearer if I draw a distinction between "knowing" in the purely intellectual sense, and "knowing" in the practical, everyday sense.

I will agree that one cannot know a thing with 100% certainty in the philosophical sense. For example, can anyone truthfully say they know with 100% certainty that the earth is a sphere rather than a disk or cube? One might argue, and some do, [5] that despite all the empirical proofs of and logical arguments for a spherical earth, we are all actually victims of an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the "religion" of science, and of faulty reasoning and experimentation. There is no statement anyone could make which could not be argued against, if it is stipulated that such an argument need not be based upon empirical evidence, or even be logically consistent. But I submit that, if the word "know" is to have any meaning at all, we cannot accept such a stipulation.

The dictionary defines the word "know" as: "to have the facts and be sure they are true; have true information about." Do we have any facts or true information about God and other alleged non-material beings? Yes. God, with a capital "G," is consistently defined by most theistic religions as an immaterial being which is not only sentient, but which possesses the qualities of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, among others. Since these qualities are both self-contradictory and contradict each other, they are not logically possible, therefore, no being with these qualities is logically possible. And the term "immaterial being" is the epitome of an oxymoron. Therefore, to the extent that it is possible for anyone to know anything, we can know, not merely believe, that no such being as described above can exist. It is not merely improbable, but flatly impossible. The same is true for any other posited "immaterial" or nonexistent beings.

Many of you may be surprised as I was to learn there is so much cross over between the two categories. I always assumed, since I became an atheist about 6 or 7 years ago, that an atheist would also eschew belief in other supernatural things. I have found that to be wrong. I also though, perhaps naively, that virtually everyone would think of themselves, and wish to be seen by others, as rational, reasonable people. Apparently I was wrong on that too, since I have had people accuse me of being obsessed with reason, and several people, some of them atheists, have said they do not consider reason the final arbiter of truth, or even, necessarily, the best. Others have told me there are "other ways of knowing," and they seem to mean by that, such things as intuition or maybe psychic abilities. A few atheist friends have recently informed me very strongly that they do believe in reincarnation, and that I'm simply being obnoxious to insist that such a thing is not possible. Their contention is that, as one fellow put it, "no one has successfully reduced mind to matter."

This argument insists that it is not correct to equate brain and mind. I agree, and make the point for one thing to be dependent on another just doesn't necessarily mean the one equals the other. I use the analogy of an engine. Mind is the functioning of the brain, just as "running" is the functioning of an organ. "Running" is not the engine, but what the engine does. Mind is not the brain, but what the brain does. It makes no more sense to say that mind somehow exists apart from a brain than to say that "running" somehow exists apart from an engine. Just as "running" is solely dependent on some degree of functioning of the engine, so the mind is solely dependent on some degree of functioning of the brain. Dead engine, no running. Dead brain, no mind. This seems to me, self-evident. Not once has anyone demonstrated that mind can exist apart from matter, therefore, it is illogical or unreasonable to believe that it can. As Professor McKown correctly told us, "Although one may lose one's mind while keeping one's head, one cannot be beheaded and retain one's mind." [6]

It is unfortunately true that, generally speaking, the more vociferous one is about expounding his views to others, the more likely he is to be incorrect and the less likely he is to respond favorably to contrary arguments, however logical they may be. I point to Pat Buchanan and the host of TV evangelists as examples. Still, it is not being vociferous which makes them incorrect. Nor is it, to me at least, being either vociferous or incorrect which makes them obnoxious. It is rather, the dogmatic holding to a particular position despite evidence to the contrary. I have been painted with this brush even by fellow atheists because of my assertion that I know rather than merely believe, that atheism, materialism, etc., are true. I think this charge is unwarranted since, even though I do know these things to be true, I do not hold them dogmatically, that is, I am not unwilling to change my mind. All it would take for me to change my mind is evidence, or even a logically consistent argument, that I am wrong. But mere assertions based entirely on subjective feelings or experiences will not do it.

To illustrate further what I mean by knowing, as opposed to merely believing, I believe, but do not know, that if I go over and flip the light switch, the light will go out. Based on past experience and some knowledge of electricity, it is very likely the light would go out, but there are things, such as the failure of the switch to work properly to disconnect the current, which make it possible that the light would remain on. But I know, not merely believe that flipping the light switch would not instantly turn this building into an automobile. That would violate all sorts of natural laws and I know that cannot happen. Yet, if a genuine miracle should occur (by definition, a violation of natural law), and I instantly found myself crammed into an automobile with all of you, if I were still alive, my knowing would be out the door, which is where I would be desperately trying to get! Likewise, my knowing there is no God or mind apart from matter would vanish should anyone produce either of these things.

It should be understood that when I say I know these things, I am basing that knowledge on the current knowledge of the laws of nature. Naturally, if the laws of nature should suddenly cease to be as they are, much, if not all, scientific knowledge would become obsolete.

So what, you may say. Let everyone believe whatever makes them happy. Why not? Because it can be dangerous. It seems to me the category A philosophies, and other related ideologies, are by far the most prevalent in today's society. Pat Buchanan said at the 1992 Republican Convention, "there is a cultural war going on for the soul of this nation." Maybe he was right, but I would revise his intent of Christians against non-Christians to the broader categories I've mentioned. If so, those of us who are category B people are outnumbered at least by 8 or 9 to 1, and are desperately in danger. Because people who really are "true believers" tend to act on those beliefs, sometimes violently, as did Paul Hill and John Salvi.

It is not my intent to be an alarmist, a Chicken Little, running about screaming the sky is falling. And I do not mean to imply that anyone who may hold firm convictions with which I disagree is likely to go on some murderous rampage. But neither do I intend to be the proverbial ostrich with his head buried in the sand, smug in his naive belief that he is perfectly safe because he can see no danger. You may have heard of the Flat Earthers. Most of us would probably smile and sake our heads in amazement that anyone in 1996 could actually believe the earth is flat. In any case, they are only a handful of fringe loonies and certainly no real threat to anyone. But consider the following from Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World:

"If you accept the literal truth of every word of the Bible, then the earth must be flat. The same is true for the Qur'an. Pronouncing the earth round then means you're an atheist. In 1993, the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz, issued an edict, or fatwa, declaring that the world is flat. Anyone of the round persuasion does not believe in God and should be punished." [7]

Can't happen here, you say? Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson both claim to believe in the literal truth of every word of the Bible. And didn't they both run for president? They both lost. This time. But suppose they or someone who thinks as they do should win? Would America become a theocracy along the lines of that depicted in the movie, "ESCAPE FROM LA?" When George Bush was president he said that he did not believe atheists should be considered citizens. Bill Clinton said he does not believe anyone has a right to freedom from religion. I agree that it is unlikely that such a person as Buchanan or Robertson could take control of the nation, but I would remind you that, unlikely as it may be, it is not impossible.

Perhaps the scholars and other residents of ancient Alexandria thought it unlikely they would be set upon by religious extremists. But they were and the place was burned to the ground. Perhaps the ordinary citizens of Germany in the mid 1920s did not think the Nazi Party would come to dominate the nation, and certainly very few envisioned the horrors that lay just ahead. But when Hitler seized control of the country in 1933, and began systematically eliminating both his opposition and the freedoms that citizens has enjoyed, it was too late. A reminder for those who might look to laws for protection, that laws may be rendered nonexistent or meaningless at the stroke of a pen or the point of a gun.

I submit that the lack of laws, or economic hardship, or evil people per se, while no doubt contributing factors, were not the causes of these tragedies, nor would they be of the next one, should it occur. Rather, the root cause is a system of thought which embraces mysticism, superstition and the supernatural, while rejecting the methodology of science, rationality and the very idea of objective reality. It has always been a heresy in Christianity to assert that there are things which can be imagined which are nonetheless flatly impossible in objective reality. All things are possible we are told. But I say unto you, all things are not possible. Is it within the realm of possibility that the earth is actually a giant corn muffin?

It would be easy to say of category A people that they are just crazy or stupid. They might say the same of us. But aside from being insulting and unproductive, it's just not true. Indeed, I have found that most category A people are just as intelligent, educated, witty, charming, and generally nice people, as those in category B. So what is the determining factor as to which side of this fence one is on? I don't know. I suspect many factors are involved. I think emotional expression is generally stronger in category A people. Obviously we all have emotions, and we all express them to some degree in different ways. And we all use reason to one degree or another. What truly baffles me is why some people seem to think reason is just fine for some things, such as choosing surgery for a medical problem rather than relying solely on a miraculous cure from a deity, yet drop it like a hot potato when logic begins to tell them there probably is no such deity, and resort to faith instead.

It seems to me, if one is going to consider faith an acceptable determinant of whether a deity exists, it should be equally acceptable to have faith that a deity would miraculously heal you, rather than resort to the reasonable, but mundane, surgery. Or, if one thinks it unreasonable to forego surgery in favor of faith for a healing, it should be equally unreasonable to accept faith over reason to determine whether a deity exists. I think category A people tend to filter logic and reason through emotion, and category B people tend to filter emotion through logic and reason.

I have heard the statement that "people believe what they choose to believe" from people of all beliefs. I don't believe that is true. For myself, I find it impossible. If anyone can explain to me how this is done, I would like to know. I am not an atheist because I chose to be. I am an atheist because a rational and logical examination of the available facts of the question, rather than uncritical emotional acceptance of the teachings of authority, leave me no choice. Are you an atheist merely because you choose to be? If so, could you not as easily choose to believe in Christianity or some other more popular belief, and thus spare yourself the inherent risks involved in being an atheist? I think it wise to remember that authorities, whether they be Holy Books, religions, governments, or even our own subjective emotional desires, can be very dangerous to all of us if left unchecked by reason. Falsehoods and superstition cannot withstand the scrutiny of reason. As Sagan put it,

"I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. ... when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us -- then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir." [8]

There are at least 12 million people in this country alone who belong to an organization known as Jehovah's Witnesses. Their literature tells them in print to "avoid independent thinking [and] questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization," and that they are to "fight against independent thinking." [9]

Millions of Christians are told essentially the same thing in congregations across the country and the world on any given Sunday. "Put aside your natural mind," a preacher will say, "and seek God with your spiritual mind." I translate that as "Shut down your intellect and use your imagination, because it is superior to reason." I do believe this is very dangerous. As Sagan puts it,

"We have arranged ... arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces." [10]

In closing, I want to emphasize that I do not present myself, as a gnostic atheist evangelist, as some noble or superior individual who is beyond error. I simply accept and acknowledge such a thing as objective reality and I know of no more honest and trustworthy a way to search for and find truths, large and small, than to use reason. I am thoroughly convinced that gnostic atheism is true; knowledge, rather than just another belief. I say so at every opportunity, and I encourage you all to do likewise. I am equally convinced that anyone else who has all the known facts, if they do not permit emotion to override reason, will reach the same conclusion. And I am convinced that a society which embraces materialism, naturalism, and atheism will be safer, stronger, and more productive than one which embraces metaphysics and idealism. For all who agree or mildly disagree, I invite comments, criticisms, and love offerings at the following address. For all those who are outraged, I request that all mail bombs be placed in self-addressed stamped envelopes. Thank you.

[Temy R. Beal, PO Box 447, Ariton, AL 36311-0447.]

Notes

[1] See addendum.

[2] A gnostic atheist evangelist is one who knows there is no God and preaches that message. This may be taken slightly tongue-in-cheek if you prefer.

[3] "Gospel" means "glad tidings," and I certainly consider it good news that the horrific being described in the Bible as God does not exist. It also means "anything earnestly believed as a guide for action." If more people knew, or even "earnestly believed" no such being existed, they might be guided by that knowledge to take positive action, rather than continue to utter meaningless "prayers."

[4] You may request a copy of the paper from the author at his address or from me. His address is: Paul Keller, 538 West Cedar Ave., Fergus Falls, MN 56537. My address is: Temy R. Beal, PO Box 447, Ariton, AL 36311-0447.

[5] Such as members of the Flat Earth Society of Covenant Peoples Church, Charles K. Johnson, President, PO Box 2533, Lancaster, CA 93539, Phone: (805) 727-1635.

[6] In his speech, "Sermon On the Mount," given to the Alabama Freethought Association at Mt. Cheaha State Park on July 7, 1996.

[7] From the book THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, Random House, New York, 1995, p. 325.

[8] Ibid., pp. 26-27.

[9] From The Watchtower, January 15, 1983, pp. 22, 27, as cited in the book BLOOD ON THE ALTAR: Confessions of a Jehovah's Witness Minister, by David A. Reed, Prometheus Books, 1996, p. 189.

[10] See note #8, p. 26.


Addendum

There seems to be two basic categories of philosophy and their respective adherents. For convenience I will label them category A and category B. A contains such things as metaphysics, idealism, and theism. B contains such things as materialism, naturalism, realism, and atheism. Let me briefly define these, [1] beginning with category A and metaphysics.

Metaphysics is "a branch of philosophy that seeks to understand reality, beyond what we know from our sense perceptions." Obviously there is an underlying assumption there that, not only is there some reality beyond what we know from our sense perceptions, but also, that we have some "way of knowing" beyond our five physical senses. Many people seem to think "intuition" is an example of an alleged "sixth sense," but actually, intuitions are based on one's memories of past experiences and impressions. A believer in metaphysics might think that various alleged psychic abilities such as telepathy or telekinesis exist.

Idealism is "a doctrine that considers mind or spirit as the basis of the universe," and which asserts that "things do not exist outside the mind, but only as the mind knows them." An idealist philosopher might tell us that, not only do we not exist, but indeed, all of what we might call objective reality does not exist, but are merely manifestations of a Cosmic Mind, or God.

Theism is "a belief that God exists as a distinct Being, and works through and in the world." I have three basic conclusions about all three of these "isms": A) To the extent that claims such as telepathy and telekinesis are amenable to empirical testing, they have consistently failed such tests miserably. B) No evidence has been forthcoming to support the underlying assumption that there exists some reality beyond the physical or that we have some mysterious "way of knowing" about such an alleged reality. C) Therefore, I reject all of them as invalid and logically untenable positions.

Now to category B, to which I assigned materialism, naturalism, realism, and atheism.

Materialism is "a doctrine that all things are basically material." My first reaction to that is, "Duh!" To me, materialism is not a doctrine but a self-evident truth. As I understand it, materialism asserts that all things which exist are, by definition, material, i.e., composed of matter/energy, and to be immaterial, such as spirits, souls, angels, demons, and materialist and God are alleged to be, is to be nonexistent. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist. He believed in a God. But he was also a materialist and rejected all things supernatural. In a letter to John Adams shortly before his death he said, "It is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist." Jefferson stated further, "On the basis of sensation we may erect the fabric of all the certainties we can have or need. I can conceive thought to be an action of matter... When once we quit the basis of sensation, all is in the wind. To talk of immaterial existences, is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise. But I believe that I am supported in my creed of Materialism by the Lockes, the Tracys, and the Stewarts." [2]

Naturalism is "a theory that everything comes from nature and there is nothing beyond nature. A follower of naturalism rejects the supernatural and believes that all things are subject to scientific laws." I see three problems with that definition: A) I do not see naturalism as a theory but, like materialism, a self-evident truth. B) I object to the term "follower," since it sounds like just another religious ideology. C) It is incorrect to say a naturalist, in this sense, "believes that all things are subject to scientific laws." It is more correct to say all things are subject to natural laws. Scientific laws and natural laws are not all the same, since scientific laws are simply "rules of thumb" which scientists use as guides. They can be and often are broken, and thus have to be discarded or revised as new information warrants. A natural law, on the other hand, simply cannot be broken. Period. One may certainly be injured or killed attempting to break a law of nature, such as jumping from a high window in an attempt to "defy" gravity, but there are no penalties for breaking any natural law. It simply cannot be broken.

Realism is "a doctrine that things exist in and of themselves, independent of the mind that knows them." Though I dislike the term "doctrine," I accept this definition for myself. This is another of what I see as self-evident truths. The difference between, say, an idealist and a realist might be in how they view that old saw about whether or not a tree falling in a forest without someone to hear it, makes a noise. The idealist will seriously consider this and likely conclude that it does not make a noise, and may also conclude that the tree itself, and indeed the whole forest, doesn't exist without a mind to know it. He might suffer an attack of insight which tells him that is not logical, at which time he might conclude that it is time once again to invoke that Cosmic Mind or God, so that a human mind is not required to know of the falling or the sound in order for it to exist. The realist of course will say that trees do exist and, if one falls a sound will be made, regardless of whether the sound waves created reach an eardrum.

Atheism is "the belief that God does not exist." [3]

I included atheism in category B and theism in category A, because they seem entirely compatible with the other philosophies therein. This, it seems to me, is the fundamental difference between categories A and B: The things in category A are beliefs and must remain so since they are not based upon objective evidence, but on an unfounded assumption that, not only is mind separable from and independent of matter, but preceded matter. The things in category B are based upon objective evidence and are verifiable either directly (empirically), or indirectly (logically), which makes them, not merely beliefs or doctrines but, pieces of knowledge.

Notes

[1] Except where noted, all definitions of words in bold type are from The World Book Encyclopedia, 1984, Vol. P, p. 345.

[2] From the book Six Historic Americans, by John E. Remsburg, The Truth Seeker Company, New York, pp. 75-76.

[3] From The World Book Encyclopedia, 1984, Vol. A. p. 817.

In one of the amateur publications I write for, a Jewish woman who has recently converted to Christianity said the following:

"I'm not sure that Jesus dying for our sins is comprehensible in any way I, at least, could explain. I understand it emotionally, not logically, it really doesn't make any sense, which in no way stops me from believing it. ... Most humans would not willingly lay their lives down to save hundreds of thousands of people they hadn't even met, so from a human standpoint, this action is completely irrational, but Jesus was divine, and possessed of divine love, which puts an entirely different spin on things, at least to my mind. There are 633 prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament, all of which Jesus fulfilled -- the odds against this happening by accident are astronomical, so that was something else that persuaded me. But mostly, as with any religion, it's a matter of faith, emotion, and what one believes to be the truth."

This is one of the most intelligent, witty, and charming people I have met. An exceptionally good writer (this piece notwithstanding). We have a lot of work to do.


Flat Earth Society International

known as

THE FLAT EARTH SOCIETY

of Covenant Peoples Church Gen. 9:16

AIM: To carefully observe, think freely, rediscover forgotten facts and oppose theoretical dogmatic assumptions; To help establish the United States... of the World on this Flat Earth; Replace the Science Religion... with Sanity.

Charles K. Johnson, President
Marjory Waugh Johnson, Sec.
Telephone: (805) 727-1635
P.O. Box 2533, Lancaster, CA
93539

The International Flat Earth Society is the oldest continuous Society existing on the world today. It began with the Creation of the Creation. First the water... the face of the deep... without form or limits... just water. Then the land sitting in and on the Water, the Water then as now being flat and level, as is the very Nature of Water. There are, of course, mountains and valleys on the Land but since most of the World is Water, we say, "The World Is Flat." Historical accounts and spoken history tell us the Land part may have been square, all in one mass at one time, then as now, the magnetic north being the Center. Vast cataclysmic events and shakings no doubt broke the land apart, divided the Land to be our present continents or islands as they exist today. One thing we know for sure about this world... the known inhabited world is Flat, Level, a Plane World.

We maintain that what is called 'Science' today and 'scientists' consist of the same old gang of witch doctors, sorcerers, tellers of tales, the 'Priests-Entertainers' for the common people. 'Science' consists of a weird, way-out occult concoction of gibberish theory-theology... unrelated to the real world of acts, technology and inventions, tall buildings and fast cars, airplanes and other Real and Good things in life; technology is not in any way related to the web of idiotic scientific theory. ALL inventions have been anti-science. The Wright brothers said, "Science theory held us up for years. When we threw out all science, started from experiment and experience, then we invented the airplane." By the way, airplanes all fly level on this Plane earth.

Our Society of Zetetics have existed for at least 6,000 years, the extent of recorded history. Extensive writing from 1492 B.C. We have been and are the Few, the Elite; the Elect, who use Logic Reason are Rational. Summed up, we are Sane and/or have Common Sense as contrasted to the "hard: who is unthinking and uncaring. We have absorbed the Universal Zetectic Society of America and Great Britain, ZION U.S.A., the work of Alexander Dowie 1888, Wilber Glen Voliva 1942, Samuel Shenton, Lillian J. Shenton of England 1971. Zetetic: from Zeto, to seek and search out; Prove, as contrasted to theoretic which means to guess, to hope, to suppose, but NOT to 'prove.' Science 'proves' earth a 'ball' by 'scripture' words. We PROVE earth Flat by experiment, demonstrated and demonstrable. Earth Flat is a Fact, not a 'theory!'

Our aim is not to 'disturb the herd' or wreck the Government, but rather to be an aid to the Elite Human Being in coming to KNOW earth flat... to then FREE his or her mind from such blind unreasoning 'theory-superstition' and go so on 'to carefully observe... think freely... rediscover forgotten Facts and oppose theoretical dogmatic assumptions.' As Sir Fields, owner of newspapers in England, has said about us, "They are the Last pocket of individual Thinkers in English speaking world."

I sometime call myself the Last Iconoclast. Science is a false religion, the opium of the masses. I myself count it as a beginning of Sanity to confess 'the creation proves there was a Creator' so a God or Creator... Exists. From a life-time of study, of seeking out and proving things, from the study of 6,000 years of recorded history, from observation, from experience, from Common Sense Observation, have concluded the Ten Commandments are in fact good Laws of Living and Behavior for oneself and all in contact with you... truly 'Laws of Physics for Living' That is my opinion. The Fact the Earth is Flat is not my opinion, it is a Proven Fact. Also demonstrated Sun and Moon are about 3,000 miles away and are both 32 miles across. The Planets are 'tiny.' Sun and Moon do move, earth does NOT move, whirl, spin, or gyrate. Australians do NOT hang by their feet under the world... this is a FACT, not a theory! Also a Fact the Spinning, Whirling, Gyrating Ball World Planet, Globe Idea is entirely 100 percent now and at all times in the past, a RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE... a Blind Dogmatic Article of Faith in the Religion for the Blind unreasoning beasts of prey. No earthly reason for a Sane, Upright Member of the Elite Elect Humans to subscribe to it. Also, a Fact, today the Elite of Earth ALL live on the Flat World. Only the illogical, unreasoning 'herd' ... prefers the way-out occult weird theology of the Old Greek superstition earth a spinning ball! Both Copernicus and Newton, the inventors of the "modern" superstitions (400 year OLD modern) have said, "It is not possible for a Sane reasonable person to ever really believe these theories." Thus sayeth Newton-Copernicus. What sayeth THOU?

Associate Membership contribution of $15.00 a year, includes four (4) issues of FLAT EARTH NEWS and Membership Card. An 8 x 12 Color Certificate of Membership is $5.00 extra. Sustaining Member $25.00 a year; Patron $100.00 and up. One year of the quarterly (4 issues) FLAT EARTH NEWS and Membership Card and Certificate. $5.00 single copy. Each issue contains further proofs of the fact -- earth IS flat. People of goodwill who seek the truth also known as the Facts are Welcome! We do not want members who are stupid, mindless, brute beasts with two feet whose only aim is to scoff or in some way 'harm' our work -- Facts, Logic, Reason, Sanity also known as common sense, is our aim.

In 30 AD JC said... seek and find the Truth and it will set you free. Free from the Pathological Liars... the great pretenders who mislead all flesh and blood.

Money problem? Send any contribution you can, will be acceptable.

Age______________ RACE ___________________ Sex_________________

Occupation ___________________________________________

Are you a teacher of any kind in the education system?___________ Minister? Priest? Rabbi? _____

I hereby affirm my aim in joining is not to harm, degrade, or defame this Society

signed ____________________ date ________________________

How did you hear of us? ________________________________________________

SPECIAL FLAT EARTH MAP (as featured in Newsweek, 7/2/84) $10.00 postpaid; Membership, Certificate, and Map $15.00

Published:
  1996-09-08

Categories:
  Atheism, Freethought, Materialism

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