RATIONAL THEISM: Let Reason Guide Your Walk With God
Science, philosophy and revealed religion
are different faces of the same truth

For definitions of major religious inclinations, click here

You cannot argue with what your senses clearly tell you. There can be only one Reality and all areas of thought must ultimately be compatible. Whether or not the human mind has embraced it, in each conflict there must be a most likely truth. We humans are unique among life forms on this planet in that we have both intelligence and the means to exercise that intelligence to discern what is true. You abdicate your humanity when you fail to exercise that intelligence.

What we accept as true is a mixture of elements compatible with our own reasoning process and elements urged by others, and acceptance or rejection both require the same leap of faith. Ultimately all must be compatible with reason, and the tentacles of the reasoning process must reach into and advise all contrary notions. In the exercise of your own reasoning process you must accept from the offerings of civilization that which is good and true (in your own assessment) and reject what is not. Your thinking process must, for you and to your satisfaction, bridge the divide between various interpretations of the cosmos, the human drama and personal experience. In the fullness of time the product of rational thought must overtake truths derived in some other way.

While they may seem to quarrel with both established science and traditional religion, events portrayed in my (Ken Wear's) Religious Odyssey have forcefully led me to this context for Reality, which, upon reflection, gives concrete expression to their fundamental agreement. I respectfully submit for your consideration that:

The totality of Reality includes the Physical Realm -- the 3-dimensional universe of mass and energy -- in the more inclusive multi-dimensional Spirit Realm populated by individually identifiable spirits who have a continuing existence without birth or death. The spirit that is me on Earth, a part of the Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, . . ., is housed in a body of bone and flesh and blood, including a nervous system controlled by a brain that is animated by me, the spirit.1 Spirit to view footnote click 'Spirit'.

We may debate the organization of the Spirit Realm and the extent of its influence on elements and events in the Physical Realm. I am content that, while I was yet in the Spirit Realm, I was assigned this body, complete with hereditary influences; and I will, when this body ceases to function, return to the Spirit Realm ready for reassignment to another physical body or to tasks within the Spirit Realm. This life, this sojourn in a body having physical sensory apparatus, is, for me, both privilege and assignment.2 Spirit realm? to view footnote click 'Spirit realm'

In splitting of the pre-existing nothingness into virtual and physical elements, spirits arose along with the universe. As the physical coalesced into the universe, so the virtual coalesced and became organized into a hierarchy with a primal personality (God), subordinate personalities who exercise insight over various astronomical entities such as Earth, and spirits such as you and me. In our existence beyond this life, we will recognize and fellowship with those who gave this life meaning and others from previous sojourns in the Physical Realm.
We may reflect on what disposes us to moral or ethical behavior. Perhaps deeds and attitudes should be compared with what Jesus of Nazareth would have endorsed. I suggest in addition a more personal view: You may harvest in your next life what you sow in this one.
: and from there I present, in the following paragraphs, conclusions of a religious nature.

When I rationalize personal experiences with notions of organization of the cosmos (including deity) I reach the framework suggested above, which must underpin any religion that is compatible with the advance of science. The nature of the process by which science has advanced does not contemplate verification of all truths; to avoid quarrels I simply say I feel the urge to believe, and it pleases me to honor that urge. The variety of teachings extant among man suggests a House of Man, which embraces all who have, by whatever route, come to accept conclusions they felt supportable by their reasoning processes or by their experiences. No religion can forever deny what our physical senses tell us; truth will earn our allegiance. Yet, lacking alternatives, mankind needs the civilizing influence of the church. In the advance of science many teachings must be revised as more certain information becomes available and old assumptions give way, as they must, to more likely interpretations.

Science observes and measures -- within the limits of its tools -- and interprets its measurements. What cannot be observed is beyond the reach of science. In its advance over the centuries additional tools have become available and refinements in those tools have made possible increased sensitivity to the workings and peculiarities of Nature. Many adherents to science have allowed themselves to speculate beyond the reach of their measurements and formulated conclusions that may eventually be proved incorrect; that is the nature of dedication to science and is responsible for much of the material progress of mankind. It is perhaps unfortunate that many of those dedicated to science have blinded themselves to possibilities presently -- and perhaps forever -- beyond the reach of scientific observation. But their blindness should not be allowed to deny truths beyond their reach.

I now turn to teachings that I have found, through force of reason, a likely elaboration of Reality, which I call Rational Theism. They may at points seem at odds with what others teach but must, in the fullness of time, become the bedrock of any religion that survives the ongoing saga of civilization. (Among the various names by which deity is known, I have chosen to use the name 'God.') And I note that God wishes to welcome those who seek His face through voluntary exercise of their own minds.

At the end of this document are links to related documents at this web site; for thoughts on how you may participate in fostering Rational Theism as an institution, visit "Instatutionalizing Rational Theism."

Rational Theism

Deity and Our Response to Deity

The origin of the universe I have dealt with extensively elsewhere at this web site. Restating:
(1) Time had no beginning but always was. (Assessment of its passage is a product of intellect.)
(2) The deity came into being as a result of, and concurrent with, the same processes that produced the physical universe.
Click here for a footnote.
(3) The deity has taken advantage of the energies, processes and resources available to Him but did not devise or create them.
(4) Time continues to pass without interruption; once passed it is beyond recall.8 To view footnote, click here.

I have speculated that there is in the Spirit Realm, of which our physical universe is an integral part, a hierarchy. Our local deity, who exercises authority over Earth (perhaps in addition to other populated bodies), is a member of this hierarchy, which embraces galaxies and such, all subordinate to the primal deity. I note that atheists, agnostics, deists and theists alike differ, not so much in their belief, as in their definition of deity. Even the atheist, in expressing disbelief and regardless of how fervently he insists otherwise, has in mind some idea of what it is he has chosen to disbelieve.

God the Doer: The dominant being in the Spirit Realm arose and evolved along with the physical universe and at some point in the distant past became organized. We do not and perhaps cannot know the interplay between the Spirit and Physical Realms or the extent of His influence in shaping events that led to the creation of our galaxy or our solar system or, indeed, our planet and home. Nor can we know how His Spirit Realm is organized to service the myriad units within the universe. But I submit that He, or His subordinates under His influence, have been actively involved in what we call evolution, that species have arisen and perished as part of an on-going saga, influenced from time to time by members of the Spirit Realm intervening to influence or alter circumstances in the Physical Realm for purposes of His choosing. Evolution proceeds at its own pace with or without involvements from the Spirit Realm. But deity and His surrogates have not withdrawn from active involvement and man is not, lest he destroy his own kind, the end of evolution.

The mind of God we cannot presume to know. I note that every creature (and indeed all living things -- the creepy-crawlers, man, sunflowers, dinosaurs) is each an individual being enjoying individual autonomy, each a product of the forces in which we are immersed. In what manner does He exercise oversight? His attention is focused wherever He chooses but He has subordinates assigned to maintain His involvement with Earth, with mankind, and with us. Since I have benefited from the results of prayer I am convinced that, whatever the structure of the Spirit Realm, He has provided access, for members of our kind, to His wisdom and sympathies. Does God have in mind an end product for me, for our species, for our Earth, or indeed for the universe itself? I question it but feel that He takes an active role whenever and wherever it suits His fancy for whatever end He at the time has in mind. The on-going saga is an experience for Him as much as for you and for me.

The personality of God: However valid they may be, the only clues we have are in our religious documents and in our own experiences. God has not changed over the millennia; it is man's understanding of God that has changed. The notion that we were created in God's image, since God is a spirit, cannot indicate that we are of a physical form like Him; rather, we are in spirit comparable to Him. Jesus of Nazareth presented a picture of God as loving, wise, patient, just and merciful. To be like Him, we must reflect God's personality as described by those having a closer bond with Him, perhaps the person Jesus of Nazareth.

If you read -- critically -- the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, you can discern that deity is often presented as disagreeable, hateful, vengeful, pernicious. Reflect on the origin of religion and the natural bent of men to seek dominance over their fellows. Then consider the paucity of scientific understanding in ancient times and the explanations of events we now understand differently. It seems obvious that the priesthood evolved to assert power over its subjects; it served the priest's purpose to be the means of intervening with a disagreeable deity on behalf of tribal members. We hope to avoid those same power-seeking incentives in today's religious leaders; we wish for humility and a desire to serve.

The Word of God: God did not take pen in hand, nor did He overpower the hands of the authors or induce a trance to force the recording of words or ideas of His choosing. To what extent, then, does the Torah or Bible or Koran or Upanishads or . . . present the words and their sequence that the deity would present for the guidance of humankind? I was reared in an atmosphere of inerrancy of the Bible, in acceptance of the literal words -- in contemporary English -- of the Bible as the actual wording God chose. While prayer may have influenced use of specific wording, I cannot agree it is all God's wording.5 To view footnote, click here. Individual authors, true to their own vocabulary and manner of expression, wrote from their own experiences: devout people sincerely attempting to serve God through their agency in the Physical Realm, carrying out the Will of God as they sensed it at the time.

I suggest that, rather than describing physical occurrences, many presentations in our religious documents are allegorical, intended to present abstractions of what a description of a series of events would convey only poorly. Or to present scientific insights in a language understandable to people lacking a scientific language or understanding. And we have today devout people sincerely trying to present interpretations of whatever written record they honor for the enlightenment and guidance of contemporary people. (And we have our share of charlatans whose motive is first to serve themselves; if God can appropriate their efforts to His advantage, then we applaud those successes.)

Many a preacher has shouted: If you want to know God's will for your life, or how He wishes you to deal with a problem, study the Bible. I'm sure the preacher would be equally adamant that God has not withdrawn from human affairs. Yet the logic is sure: If it is all in the Bible, then the Bible must have replaced God as the well-spring of contemporary revelation. Is this not worship of the Bible itself rather than the God Who inspired men to write what is in the Bible? A God Who loves me must be my contemporary and can as surely communicate on a continuing basis now as He did then.

Serving God: What leads an individual on a course he feels of service to God is a personal experience peculiar to that individual. Whatever the histories of the spirits we know as Mary (the mother of Jesus), Jesus Himself, the 12 Disciples, or the Apostle Paul, we do have a written record of some of their activities -- with, likely, some distortions; and we correctly honor them for their service to mankind (and by extension to God). There have been myriad souls who felt a divine urge to serve -- to be of value in the human saga -- so many that we could not name them all and certainly could not rank them (except for a select few) in their over-all impact on the history of our species.

I have felt that my personal Walk With God has led me to undertake a series of essays presenting what appears to me a rational description of our world and how we ought to interpret it to be consistent with the deity's role. It is my hope they will contribute to bridging the gap between reason and faith, thus helping dispel conflicts between science and teachings of the church.

Other religious truths

The origin of man I have dealt with adequately, I think, elsewhere at this web site. Evolution of species is a physical fact that should be beyond dispute. It is my belief that the deity and His subordinates had a hand in that evolution.7 To view footnote, click here.

Individuals as products of evolution: Isn't it arrogant (and perhaps a bit silly) to think that, of all life forms on this planet, man is held in higher esteem by deity than any other life form? We like to think of the 'lowly' sparrow as somehow inferior in worth; isn't is more likely that deity cherishes the individual and not the species?

Free will: I cannot question that, by virtue of our free and active minds, we are creatures endowed with the means to make choices, and that we do make choices unhindered by divine authority. I have walked a path determined on a day-to-day basis by my choices as influenced by the freely-made choices of others in my environment at the time. Even a bird selects, using its more limited brain, where to seek food and which items to consume.

Large events are the product or outgrowth of minor events that set the stage both in physical situation and in mind-set from which a choice must be made. Thus the teaching of Predestination (the pre-planning of each life), to be effective, must of necessity imply excruciatingly careful attention to the smallest details in each life that participates in a situation; I regard that as utterly beyond reason. I am not the walking embodiment of a plan formulated for my entire life in that period preceding birth; there can be no Master Plan directing my every muscle twitch or the larger goals that dominate my choices. My birth, life and death are part of an undirected saga as mankind struggles to reach perfection.

The House of Man: The number of religions, faiths, sects, etc., is astounding -- overwhelming. My wisdom is not adequate to let me compare all and suggest which one is most nearly the true faith, thereby suggesting the rest are misleading. But I endorse the idea that there is a single Reality and many versions of that Reality, with each savant seeing his vision of Reality from the perspective or vantage point of his experiences and his window onto the courtyard that is Reality. Hence the concept of the House of Man. I have my own views, expressed on these pages, but I consent that they are the views of this one member of the House of Man.

A Miracle is the setting aside of natural law -- whether or not we understand it -- to accomplish a specific deed or event. In the annals of history it has been common to interpret as a miracle any occurrence that could not (at that time) be otherwise explained. I have noted during Bible study that many events described fall outside our present (or future) ability to explain. I have dealt with three miracles (creation itself, parting of the Red Sea to facilitate the Israelites' escape from Egypt, and Noah's flood) elsewhere at this web site and note that, in earlier times, if one could not cite miraculous behavior or events, his message was not considered worthy of attention. Thus many events are cast into a framework of miracles where otherwise a very ordinary explanation might have been offered -- or no mention at all of the event. This is not to deny the possibility of intervention by the deity or His agents -- I here cite my notion of deistic evolution -- but to affirm that with today's knowledge we can often find a rational explanation, if only we are motivated to do so, and with tomorrow's knowledge may explain even more. But, because of the state of generally accepted scientific knowledge at the time of their composition, we will likely forever be confronted in our religious documents with presentations that include miraculous events, however plausible or implausible they may seem to a modern reader.

The notion of Communication with deity, or prayer, confounds many. How can a sequence of words running through the mind, unuttered audibly, be received or responded to by deity or His surrogates? It is one of the mysteries of faith. Yet I have been the recipient of needed advice on many occasions through the mechanism of prayer. What I accept as evidence is appended as a footnote; to read that, click here.

Personal salvation is such a highly personal experience that I deal with it as a footnote. It is often a specific event, a flash of recognition. There can be no question that being saved or experiencing conversion or salvation is often a life-altering event. It has redeemed many individuals from a path of self-destruction or socially unacceptable behavior to a path of service to deity and consequently to the nobility of self and hence mankind. For the footnote, click here.

Who can know what goes on in the heart of another? It is between him and his god whether his notion of deity and devotion to deity is the same as yours. It is my personal preference to emphasize subordination to God, the Master Spirit; others have adopted worship of Jesus, the Son and second member of the Trinity. It is the quality of religious experience that stirs the heart or gives us peace. Open respect for personal experiences, such as in charismatic churches or public displays, should not be denigrated by those who do not understand.

Religious Notions of Your Future

Heaven, Hell, Karma: What follows this life? I ask these questions:
1) In a physical resurrection, which is taught by many religions, including many Christian faiths, how will you, ancestors and descendants recognize each other? How can individuals from various historical settings all co-exist in a single environment? At what age will you appear so grandparents recognize the infant they knew or you can recognize your grandchildren? Faced with this question we must perceive that, when the spirit departs the body, it continues its existence as a spirit without physical substance. How they remember, how they recognize, how they communicate without physical senses is hid from our present understanding.
2) Where are Heaven and Hell located? A physical location is inconsistent with our expanding knowledge of our Universe since it must be inviolate by physical beings. We can't expect them to move as man explores beyond Earth and other intelligent beings explore beyond their home planet. If there be a purgatory, so transgressions while on Earth can be adequately atoned, it must also be in the Spirit Realm. I assert that a physical Heaven and a physical Hell are the inventions of preachers.6 To view footnote, click here.

I am uncertain about Karma, how appropriate needs in another physical life can be determined since an unworthy life adds to the burdens of Karma and a worthy life reduces the burdens of Karma. As I view Karma and repeated lives in the Physical Realm, any one life may have specific lessons to be learned or worked out as determined in the selection of a host body, which has its own genetic disposition, born to parents in a setting that offers opportunities for needed activities or developments.

It is a fair question: Existence in the Spirit Realm: What is it like? I can only speculate. The organization of Reality -- the combination of Spirit Realm and Physical Realm -- seems complex well beyond my ability to understand. I sought -- and experienced -- prior life recall on four separate occasions; the degree of detail was amazingly complete. Those experiences plus the visitation by my dead mother have served to convince me that the totality of existence is far more complex than is obvious in our bodily experiences here on Earth. What must it be like to be a distinct, recognizable and functioning individual without bodily apparatus of sight, sound, taste, touch, memory? How can it be possible there is memory of many prior lives when there is no physical data storage mechanism? It is no wonder there is competition in the Spirit Realm for opportunities to experience life in the Physical Realm, to have tangible organs of sense and bodily sensations; it is remarkable that entities in the Spirit Realm know of developing bodies to host spirits awaiting their turn. These are mysteries that tantalize the curiosity, but I must leave inquiry into the characteristics of the Spirit Realm for the time that I return there since I cannot imagine what means I have at my disposal in this physical life to reach enlightenment.)

What connection exists between kinship in the Spirit Realm and biological lines on Earth? I have no insight. Although members of the Spirit Realm may cluster around specific objectives and realign as time and events transpire, I suspect that all are of essentially one family with few regarding themselves as especially privileged. Assuming that, in various periods of existence on Earth, activities by the spirit possessing the body known as Jesus of Nazareth resulted in biological chains of progeny, we should not expect those chains to alter relationships of spirits in the Spirit Realm.

Your own future? Assuming there is validity to the notion of your spirit surviving death of your body and possibly having a future physical existence on this planet, what sort of environment do you expect to find? Under the action of Karma, you should expect to be in the midst of the consequences of your own deeds in a setting resulting from the environmental destruction or preservation growing from the attitudes and practices of your then-prior life. If you find that environment appealing, then you should continue your present practices. For myself, I shudder at the consequences of our civilization continuing on its present course of thoughtless greed and plunder. I would like to think of a lovely garden filled with all sorts of tantalizing creatures and vegetation; what I fear is that it will be more like a garbage dump in a community of scarcity and deprivation. You owe it to your own future to be a thoughtful steward of the environment you presently inhabit.

I regard confidence in the future as an element of religious faith.

Teachings of Christianity

Love others as you love yourself overrides the doctrinal schisms of Christian denominations.

Is God chagrined at our refusal to reexamine traditions that arose in the pre-scientific era? Who could question? I have witnessed the erosion of church influence through defections due to conflicts between church traditions and teachings of science that the reasoning process suggests are reliable. While I have no desire to confound what you have found satisfying in the practice of your faith, intellectual honesty compels me to present what my own Walk With God suggests.13 (To view footnote, click here).

The Trinity: In the first centuries of the Christian era there was controversy whether Jesus was both human and deity -- the teaching of Dualism. To head off a split in his empire, the Roman monarch (then leader of the church, filling the office now held by the Pope) convened a group of church officials and suggested the doctrine, that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were one and the same, that became the teaching of the Trinity. The teaching was a political solution to a doctrinal schism within the empire during the fourth century A.D. In keeping with the idea of the Spirit Realm's involvement in human affairs, I have examined the ideas that the Holy Spirit is a form of energy used by the deity and that Jesus lived His life as a man like any other; the animating spirit of Jesus was that of the deity's closest associate in the Spirit Realm so Jesus was a personal emissary of the deity. I have thus avoided insisting the Trinity is three expressions of the same entity but have retained the inseparable linkage of the Trinity; I am comfortable with this idea of the Trinity.

Divine sanction: Was it God's purpose -- a deliberate plan -- to sire a human being who would, after a brief period of service as an adult, be executed as a criminal by the ecclesiastical or political powers of the time? The idea of Predestination, which I have rejected, comes into play. I am content that God saw the availability of the situation and genetic factors suitable for His purpose and then assigned His chosen spirit to possess that body. Again, in the timing and manner of bringing death, I question that the principals involved were led by God (else we should cease to malign them and honor them for being faithful servants) to act as they did -- that God intervened to bring about events to serve a pre-determined purpose. Although He lay no claim to political aspirations, authorities feared the arising political power of Jesus' followers and unwittingly created an opportunity for martyrdom, which Jesus exploited as a means of accomplishing the Divine Will as He recognized it. Based on the biblical narrative there seems no question He could have escaped had He chosen to do so, so we assume He willingly submitted. (Some Biblical scholars and students of the Bible insist Jesus goaded the powers of the time, forcing them to act against Him. Others insist his death was part of a conspiracy gone awry.)

Virginity and pregnancy: As a young man I wondered how the virgin birth was accomplished, how God managed to bring it about. How did a woman become pregnant without sperm? The question remained a standing curiosity as I read from time to time accounts of artificially inducing pregnancy, as by applying a sharp temperature to the ovum to induce the multiplicative process; but the result was always a clone, a female. Since the male component was lacking, the genetic material (the DNA as we now know) from a male must be necessary to produce a male. I suppose you could insist that sexual teasing produced a pregnancy; I have been told such pregnancies are known. Eventually the question dropped from my mind; it was a mystery without answer. Now, in retrospect, I recognize the involvement of deity in the Spirit Realm, as suggested in the preceding paragraph, and the question of sex play recedes and becomes immaterial. I am content to avoid further inquiry and leave an explanation outside the accepted framework of reproduction.

The Virgin birth of Jesus: In the English language of today virginity has the specific meaning that an individual has been totally without sexual intercourse throughout the entirety of his physical life from birth to the time in question. However, the Hebrew language (the Aramaic dialect) used in the earlier writings that were translated into Greek and then into Latin before their translation into the 17th century English of the King James Version (KJV) of our Bible, had a different construction. It was a practical language and considered the marriageability of a young woman; as such a virgin was a young woman without dependents; her sexual purity was immaterial. We have in more recent times adopted a tradition that our English notion of virginity be used in our interpretation of ancient events. (Retranslation of Isaiah 7:14 contributed to confusion. Whereas KJV says "virgin," the Revised Standard version (RSV) says "young woman.") (Please understand I make no statement about the sexual practices or yearnings of a particular young woman in times past, nor the participation of deity; this is a statement about evolution of languages and their translations.)

Son of God: It is instructive to recognize that in the vernacular of His time a youngster of unknown fatherhood was known as a "child of God." Jesus grew up the illegitimate son of Joseph the carpenter as a "child of God," his uncertain parentage possibly being known among his contemporaries. You should keep in the forefront of your thoughts that we are all members of the same Spirit Realm when you ask if Jesus was a child of God (as the world views offspring) in any sense different from your own paternity. I am not privileged to delve into the unfathomable question of relationships within the Spirit Realm; it is an article of faith that there was an uncommonly close relationship between the spirit we know as Jesus and the spirit we know as God. (I am intrigued at Matthew 5:44-45: "I say to you Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven," from RSV, the Sermon on the Mount. Is it possible any one of us may achieve a status that can be likened to that of Jesus?)

We can legitimately ask how Jesus became aware of His peculiar call to service. I sense that He knew from the time His spirit became associated with the developing infant. In keeping with modern understanding of development of the human brain, which does not reach maturity until about age 25, it may be that Jesus recognized His special calling through prayer, a practice of Joseph's religion.

The Life of Jesus: We have no information on how long Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus remained in Egypt although the gifts suggested in the Christmas story should have been sufficient to sustain them for some time. And details are lacking from about age twelve (the age at which a Jewish boy achieves majority or becomes a man) to the beginning of His ministry. I would suppose He went to a center of learning (such as Egypt, where his family fled, maybe Alexandria) and became educated (in keeping with then-current ideals of what constituted education). Perhaps He also lived for a time near Qumran among the ascetic Gnostics.

My appreciation of the impact of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth does not hinge on prophesies in the earlier books, chapters or verses of the Bible nor on the historical accuracy of events portrayed. And, however you regard the historical accuracy of our written record of His life, it is obvious that His motivation was to serve God by sacrificing His own life on our behalf.

The teachings of Jesus of Nazareth: Most aspects of His life are unimportant to us except for historical understanding of its impact on our species. Characteristic of human kind are greed and lust for power. He taught submission, humility, fairness and charity. Governments have been instituted to allow men to live harmoniously as a society. God loves all equally so in equality each of us can pursue opportunities for service and happiness, enjoying freedom to pursue a dream, ever mindful to bless rather than harm others in that pursuit. "Love your neighbor. And love your enemies. Make peace with your brother. Be merciful. Bless them that curse you. Remain pure in heart. Judge not. Seek and you shall find. Do to others as you want done to you. Where your treasure is there also is your heart. You cannot serve two masters. You are the light of the world. Forgive your debtors. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Don't throw your pearls before swine. By their fruits you shall know them." These are remarkable teachings and a sure underpinning of an honorable and fulfilling life. Moreover, contemporary teachings of psychology and psychiatry (and medicine in strengthening the immune system) reinforce the merit of these teachings.

The Sermon on the Mount: Excepting The Ten Commandments, one of the most concise collections of moral instruction is in Matthew 5-7. While it is portrayed as a single event, I am inclined to take it as a collection of sayings ascribed to Jesus while He journeyed from site to site in a circuit perhaps much like the circuit preachers early in this country's history. I suspect someone in His entourage was educated enough to keep notes -- or perhaps He Himself kept notes; more likely someone after His death collected sayings attributed to Jesus and compiled them into a single text.

I have tried to develop a definition of love as Jesus taught it and have come to this operative description: Be aware of those whose lives you touch, choose to do what is beneficial to them without thought for yourself, and accept as your reward the certain knowledge that you have tried to love.

The crucifixion of Jesus: Death from exposure during public display on a wooden structure was a form of execution practiced by the Romans of the time. I have read the suggestion that the form of device commonly used was a simple pole with no cross member; the scarcity of timber in a rather barren land also suggests it. Although metals were scarce, iron was available at the time, but bronze should have been strong enough to use in nails. The means of mounting the person on the device was to cross his hands above his head and then cross his ankles and fasten them above where they would freely fall. Thus the victim would use his muscle power to support his weight to reduce pain in his hands, thereby increasing his exertion and hastening death. Death often took two or more days, but Jewish religious custom required disposal of a body before sundown in preparation for the Sabbath, which began at sundown on the day of the crucifixion. And this Sabbath was a high holy day, the beginning of the Passover.

One may reflect on the impatience of the executioner in awaiting death to overtake the victim. In the Roman practice it was common to hasten death by breaking the victim's legs, but why spend that energy to hasten a death already concluded, so Jesus' legs were spared. John's gospel, the last of the four to be written, notes the flow of blood and water from the puncture wound in Jesus' side, where a spear had been flung and found its mark; we have no clear indication of the severity of the wound and, since the heart quits pumping upon death, we may question the medical accuracy of the statement.

The resurrection of Jesus: This is crucial to the prevailing interpretation of the Christian faith. Where is Heaven? And Jesus' body, to have vanished as a physical presence, must have gone somewhere. I have concluded that there is no physical place in the universe where souls collect and are reconstituted in a physical form akin to our physical essence on Earth. The departure of the spirit from the body upon physical death is an ordinary occurrence; of course the spirit possessing the body of Jesus of Nazareth survived the physical death of that body and continues its existence. Of the physical resurrection of the body that was laid in that tomb, I note that it neither went to a physical Heaven nor ceased to exist. I note that three days of entombment are counted thus: Jesus was taken down from the cross before sundown in preparation for the Sabbath (day one), was in the tomb during the Sabbath (day two), and the empty tomb was discovered at sunrise the next day (day three) -- elapsed time perhaps as much as 36 hours.

I have wrestled with a plausible explanation, as we ordinarily understand science, without success. Surely his body temperature was sensed during preparation for burial, so the suggestion Jesus was comatose seems implausible; moreover, the authorities reportedly assigned guards to the tomb to preclude tampering, and the stone protecting the grave was reportedly so massive it would have required great physical exertion to roll it away. I dismiss the suggestion of a conspiracy to produce the effects or appearance of resurrection since the Biblical account says His followers were surprised at the empty tomb. And His appearances afterward fit within the descriptions in our literature of apparitions sensed by the living. I leave this question without explanation and am content to accept that there was an extraordinary link between the spirits Jesus and God.

Whatever attitude or conviction you may hold about the resurrection of Jesus, you cannot question the immense influence the personality Jesus has exerted on our species. Whether license with the truth is evident in the recorded scriptures, the ability of the faith to transform a life is beyond question. I have not been persuaded that the scientific accuracy of the scripture is a necessary ingredient in the transformational ability of the faith, so I have lost concern for a plausible explanation of either Mary's pregnancy or Jesus' resurrection. As a student of religion you must accept what you feel is necessary to support your faith.

Someone seeking an article of faith about the person Jesus of Nazareth that is wholly within the realm of reason, supportable by science, and consistent with teachings of the Christian church, can assert: "I believe that the spirit animating the person Jesus of Nazareth was a personal emissary of deity Who lived among us as a member of our kind, Who early in life accepted His role as Son of God, Who was educated according to the best traditions of His time, Who sought to reveal deity as a loving parent with a continuing involvement with us, Who provoked the authorities with His teachings and was on our behalf executed as a criminal, and Whose spirit returned to its rightful place alongside deity." Granted, this statement lacks the mystical qualities associated with the life and death of Jesus, but it is entirely within the realm of rational thought and does not dispute the teachings of the established Christian church.

We must attribute to the Apostle Paul, the tent maker, the primary effort and success in interpreting the life of Jesus and presenting it wherever he journeyed, with the result that congregations of followers were built in many population centers. Since history took this course, we cannot know (or even speculate) what successes the Disciples would have produced without Paul's efforts. The Disciples no doubt kept the faith, were involved in recording events that became the scripture, and succeeded in building congregations in their regions, but we attribute to Paul the major success in spreading the doctrine that resulted in the early church. And we should note that the four gospels were composed and recorded after the letters ascribed to Paul.

Teachings of Other Religions

I am not sufficiently versed in the peculiarities of the various dominant religions to offer detailed comment; I must leave that task to others. I do recognize, in the teachings of Islam, that their political aspirations are extremely troubling when viewed from the standpoint of mankind's history of belligerence and his quest for dominance. That there is hope may be demonstrated by the survival of the peaceful teachings of the Buddha. Regardless of the arrogance of the supposedly intellectual sophistication of Atheists, their strident arguments are little more satisfying to the human spirit than today's terrorists, or the call to order of ancestor worship, or worship of a godless and impersonal Nature.

I have been told that the aborigines of the northeastern United States ascribed an individual spirit to each object, animate or inanimate; clarification of extent was not offered, whether it extended to grains of sand or bacteria or the fragments of a broken rock. The question is thus raised: How ubiquitous is the spirit: Is there simply one spirit that embraces all? Are spirits divisible? Is there a dividing line where lower animals are without spirits? If peculiar to humans, at what point in evolution was the practice commenced to assign a spirit to each individual? Is presence of a spirit companion to ability to think in abstract terms? Questions! Always questions.

I do suggest that teachings of other religions, sects and cults, should they be truly beneficial to individuals or the larger society, should be analyzed for their beneficial elements with a view toward adoption -- in altered form if necessary -- of those beneficial elements. In working toward our betterment few ideas should be peremptorily precluded. 11 To view footnote, click here. At the same time I discourage policies and practices that disrupt families and friendships. Each is responsible for his own belief system and should be encouraged to practice what he has found satisfying to his soul.12 To view footnote, click here. Be as sober as the situation dictates but sing in your heart because of the truths you have discovered and the freedom they give you.

Afterthought: Whether the human body is a deliberate design by deity or the product of natural forces is a matter of little consequence. We are here; we do what we can. It seems obvious deity does not forcefully intervene to protect us from the consequences of our choices. We are creatures of thought and choose to seek a path in accord with deity's wishes or to reject what guidance is available to us. And mankind is the summation of us all with our diverse interpretations of the larger order in which we take part. Individually we contribute to the collective whole and will suffer the consequences or experience the delights common to all and growing from our constructive efforts or destructive machinations.

For thoughts on establishing Rational Theism as an institution that fosters a rational interpretation of things sacred or religious, click here. You can have an active role; I invite -- encourage -- you to do so although no one should be coerced into examining the flaws in a rationally unsupportable religious faith. Acceptance of the tenets of Rational Theism should be voluntary by those seeking truths resulting from exercise of their thought processes. And I encourage you to visit the Blog http://rationaltheism-kenwear.blogspot.org and send me comment to be included there.

You may jump to thoughts about the future by clicking here and afterward return here.
Then you may jump to the footnotes by clicking here and afterward scroll backward to the links.
I commend to your attention the comments above the next red line.

There has been a multiplicity of religions in mankind's history. They have arisen and served, many have declined and been lost. I studied a series of lectures on the five dominant religions of our times, and one thing stands out as constant with them all: They have adapted. As the conditions of human life have evolved, so have man's religions. Only in that way have they continued to be relevant. The corollary is that a religion that cannot adapt must of necessity become lost.

An essential aspect of religion in modern life is mutual respect by each of us for the various bodies of belief adopted by others. It matters not how far-fetched we may feel their beliefs are -- how far removed from the real truth -- since it is their cherished belief system adopted after the same rigorous examination of competing belief systems that we personally undertook. The body of teachings presented by the founders of the various faiths have been modified and adapted as civilization has progressed and changed the circumstances under which their beliefs were practiced.4 To view footnote, click here.

Whether any one religion is superior to another, I will not argue. I will note, however, that it is the Christian religion that has taught the supremacy of the individual and the necessity for cooperation along with charity. Whether those ideas were instrumental in the material development of the West, where that faith has been dominant, is a matter of conjecture. Even so, I recognize certain weaknesses in the historical accuracy of the Bible (where we likely ought to regard many presentations as allegorical rather than recitations of fact) and have followed a path of applying the powers of mind to discern rational interpretations.

8-24-06 Quote from an essay about Scientology, which I have rejected for myself as poisonously self-centered despite the many good works fostered by LRH and the good deeds of many adherents:
11-7-2002 I am convinced of the truth as enunciated by Jesus of Nazareth: "By their fruits you shall know them." If a philosophy produces evil, then the philosophy is evil; if good, then . . . It is in the exercise of your own reasoning process that you must accept from the offerings of civilization that which is good, in your own personal assessment of good, and reject what is not.

Memory and the Human Brain The Spirit must evidently be a more inclusive entity than the brain alone. Some atheists and agnostics make much of the connection between our nervous system (or the patchwork of nerves within the human brain) and memory. Evidently, without the physical brain with its nerves, there could be no memory as we understand its physical basis. Equally evident is that, for an existence of the spirit after death to have any meaning whatsoever, some form of cognitive function must exist; that it eludes our present understanding should not even be surprising. I wonder, in fact, if our present notion of mechanism of memory -- comparing it with digital memory as individual nerve cells flip or flop -- can be correct: When I reckon that a photograph requires megabytes of digital capacity and compare this with the megabyte requirement to retain the information content of a trained mind, it becomes obvious that even trillions of bytes are not adequate. Memory is evidently more complex than digital connections between nerve cells within the brain. For a further discussion, click here.

I summarize here conclusions by two scientific researchers:
A neurologist theorizes that the brain is actually a gland because it produces hormones, has hormone receptors and accomplishes nearly all of its functions using hormones; since hormones circulate throughout the body, thought and memory may not necessarily be localized in the head. And a biologist views the brain as a tuning device; rather than generating thought and emotion, the brain may tune in the thoughts of the mind, which exists somehow independent of the physical body. I offer no comment on their conclusions although they are clearly consistent with the idea of Spirit as a separate and separable entity.

(My politics intrudes.) Homosexuality: The Bible speaks very forcefully against homosexual behavior. Whether determined genetically or by accident of personal history, a homosexual person is yet an object of God's love. Whatever attitudes or treatment a particular church or denomination encourages toward homosexuals, that is of no concern to civil authorities, who should recognize all equally and accord each citizen his due rights as a citizen. However, marriage is a religious sacrament as the union of one man and one woman before God. The church errs in demanding of civil authorities that its views be the guide for legislative action, and the legislature errs in appropriating a religious sacrament as a civil rite. Let the church define 'marriage.' And let the legislature establish the terms under which a publicly announced commitment of two people to each other -- and the consequential benefits -- can be recognized before the law.

I have also come to recognize, upon reflection, that the demand of Islam, that church and state be one, can be met only in a sectarian society. The only form of government that can truly allow each citizen to follow the dictates of his own religious faith is secular. I do not take that as denying that religion exists or squeezing artifacts or expressions of belief from public life, but as allowing each citizen to pursue his own faith so long as he does not intrude upon others or denigrate the value to them of their particular system of belief. In a free society the conflict secular versus sectarian can be resolved only by the sectarians abandoning their demand that their faith be supreme so there becomes a consequent union of church and state.

The Great Commission, I note, is based on gentle persuasion. It is an unfortunate fact that early Islam taught that the unbeliever (infidel) must convert, pay a tax or face the executioner, and many modern Muslims wish to enforce similar restrictions on faith.* Failures of force to persuade is evident in the persecution of the Christians in Rome and the failures of the various Crusades and the Inquisition. Once someone wholeheartedly adopts a set of teachings, violence serves to harden his resistance to adoption of a different set of teachings. More unfortunate is that each sect of Islam teaches that adherents to other sects of Islam are infidels.

* Witness the 2007 example of a Muslim sentenced to death by a court in Afghanistan because he wished to convert from Islam to another faith.

Whatever your primary motivation, it is evident that the pursuit of power or wealth or authority or recognition have this in common: All are exercises in vanity. Is your personal pursuit your religion? Do you mute your vanity by consideration of the teachings of humanitarian concern common to Christianity, Islam, Wicca, Buddhism, Theism, . . .?

A more extended description of the Spirit and Physical Realms appears in a letter and its addendum. For that, click here. (These are thoughts that preceded formulation of my notions of Rational Theism.)
Various beliefs (a compendium): Versions of Reality click here
Are the various religions necessarily at odds? For the House of Man click here
My Religious Quest: Ken Wear's religious odyssey click here and the
The Result (for me): My reality: the cosmos and my religious views: of which the discussions in this essay are an extension. click here.
Should your curiosity impel you to know by what route I have reached these understandings, My Religious Quest (odyssey, above) discusses my tortured path.

I wish not to become embroiled in controversy involving beliefs that are without concrete foundation, but, should you have scientifically viable information that confirms or refutes my notions, I would gladly receive it. For an e-mail form, click here.

Origin of universe: Was the big bang the ultimate beginning? click here, and
Musing on the beginning (of the universe) and end (of intelligence) click here
Origin of man: Creationism, evolutionism, intelligent design or deistic evolution? click here
Is mankind undoing the benefits of evolution? click here

A brief history of Islam may be viewed by clicking here. Or a projection of its future, by clicking here. Your BACK button can return you here.

1 FOOTNOTE 1 -- What is the Spirit
The Spirit (or soul) is that part of each of us in which our life persists after death of our body; it is ever and always a member of the Spirit Realm. Various religions teach the name of the residence of spirits who have abandoned their mortal housing as Heaven or Hell or some other physical or non-material place. I suggest they exist in a dimension beyond our three so spirits are not bound by the limitations of distance and travel time.
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2 FOOTNOTE 2 -- Spirit Realm:
Characteristics of the Spirit Realm are more fully explored elsewhere. I note here that this concept of continuity of the spirit significantly alters a number of teachings, such as, for instance, the origin and fate of the person Jesus of Nazareth. You may link to a discussion of the Spirit Realm by
clicking here. (This footnote will appear at the end of the essay, and you may then visit the link.)
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3FOOTNOTE 3 -- My limited background:
I was not privileged to have, in my family or among any friends or acquaintances, anyone steeped in Roman Catholicism; I grew up totally unaware of any teachings peculiar to the faith and have not pursued knowledge of the faith. Therefore I have not tried to deal with any of those teachings, such as use of the Rosary, confession, genuflects, crossing, or the hierarchical structure by which intercessions are offered or purchased. I note that the Christian Church blossomed and was profoundly changed from a small struggling sect, suddenly and massively adding structures and personnel, when decreed by the Roman emperor to be the state religion; many changes have persisted.

Neither can I claim experience with Judaism, Islam or Eastern religions, although I have studied the Muslim faith and offer brief descriptions at the links above.

I must ask myself: Who am I to question the truth content of the underlying claims of the founders of the various religious faiths practiced by our species? I, who accepted a psychic event as irrefutable proof of an extra-physical realm from which the dead may impress a message upon the living. A message inserted into my mind and whose context has solidified the whole of my personal belief system.

Discussion of religious extremists appears if you click here; a brief history of the Prophet and origin of the Muslim faith appears if you click here; thoughts on its future appears if you click here. By clicking here you can read an exchange between me and a current spokesman for Islam.
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4FOOTNOTE 4 -- Religion's founders
Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son, Issac, when God provided a ram as a substitute. Moses saw God on Mt. Sinai and received the Ten Commandments. The Buddha had his awakening while sleeping under a tree. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was visited by the angel Gabriel to announce the supernatural nature of her pregnancy. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Son (special representative) of God. Muhammad was visited by an angel (later identified as Gabriel) in the cave north of Mecca. Bab revealed a new Holy Book. Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Monroni, who showed him the plates of gold inscribed with the words of wisdom and provided special glasses to allow translation. There were no witnesses; there was no physical artifact seen by others; we rely on the veracity and motivation of the claimant. As Jesus of Nazareth said, "By their fruits you shall know them."
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Inerrancy of the Bible: In the teaching of Fundamentalism the Bible, the King James Version in particular, should be taken literally, in all ways (including historically), in contemporary English. I must elaborate on where study has taken me. If you examine the Old Testament from the standpoint of the personality and characteristics of God, He is portrayed as vengeful, possisbly remorseful, and even cruel; I far prefer the picture Jesus portrayed of God displaying love and compassion. I used to spend time trying to find ways to bring science as I understood it into agreement with Biblical accounts. It proved difficult, as essays at this web site show, but with effort I was able to correlate several Biblical news items with what a modern newsman would report. That may not be possible with every verse of the Bible, and that leads to the question of inerrancy of the Bible since discarding a single verse as beyond the stretch of reason throws the whole collection of documents into question. You can't have selective inerrancy. I invite attention to Genesis 2, which appears to be an alternate account of creation and places man before creation of other animals as well as suggesting a primal position of man over woman. (Count them; neither side is short a rib.) But the most compelling verse is near the end and is quoted at weddings: "A man shall leave his mother and father and cleave to the wife so they become one flesh." Why should such a comment be inserted here? Apart from the question whether Adam had a navel is the question of Adam or Eve having father and mother. In consequence of a rational answer to this question, I take the scripture as including many allegories that may not have physical counterparts; one must be careful to separate allegorical from historically accurate portrayal of events. Next paragraph added 7-04-06

In my continuing inquisitiveness, I was reading the words of a scholar who specializes in study of mistranslations of Biblical text. Quite apart from the question of accuracy in rendition of words in the earliest known text is the question of authority of the original text. The canonical text is obviously the work of accepted religious authorities at the time bringing together their best understandings; we are forced to accept that they were sincere and honest and rendered what was available to them in the best scholarly tradition. Modern discoveries have found more-ancient texts and modern research has improved our knowledge of ancient languages and their translations into modern tongues. I am neither Biblical scholar nor student of ancient languages and do not wish to dedicate what time I have to either pursuit, but I note that the likely origin of many ancient passages was oral tradition from an era when both availability of writing materials and uniformity of language between tribes are suspect and in a language that was likely more fluid and ever-changing than modern languages. While I respect the efforts of scholars -- and the more ancient the writing the more valid the force of this statement: We must question the wisdom of staking a life or a religion on the accuracy with which the original composition has reached us and the fidelity of its translation.
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6FOOTNOTE 6 -- an anecdote:
In the race for space, the Russians orbited a manned satellite before the United States. Many people thought of the 'heavens' (the sky) as the province of God and the likely location of Heaven. Kruschev, Premier of Russia, was quoted as saying the cosmonauts did not see God there. That statement was a major blow to the theology accepted by our preacher although he did rally and continue his career.
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7Footnote 7, added 10-22-06 Speculating on deity's looking ahead to the future of the creature man, did He create man with a foreskin in order to have something to sacrifice in man's covenant with Him? It is a speculation into which I will not indulge. Neither will I indulge in speculation about the exercise of free will in the Spirit Realm that led to what preachers describe as banishing the Devil from Heaven. Nor the multiplicity suggested in Gen. 1:26 or the dual sexuality suggested in Gen.1:27. Nor, indeed, why deity allowed or created man with intelligence lest it was to use that intelligence even if it resulted in man denying His very existence. 7-13-09 The notion of evolution in the Spirit Realm seized my attention this morning. We should not suppose that things can be static in the Spirit Realm. It seems more likely that there has been and continues to be an interplay as those more durable beings sought avenues for expression, which has resulted in intelligent beings with physical senses housed in bodies that can exercise and experience for the delight of the Spirits inhabiting these physical shells we think of as ourselves. The saga continues!
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8Footnote 8, added 4-30-07 Let us not confuse the passage of time with its measurement. True, until there was sufficient physical material in the universe that there were events of sufficient size they could have been observed, passage of time had no significance. But we speak here of assessment of the passage of time, not of the passage of time. You may insist that until assessment had meaning by placing one event before or after another, there was no time; I insist that the passage of time and the assessment of its passage are two distinctly separate concepts.
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Footnote on prayer It has often been the case that I have experienced origination of an idea as an immediate consequence of a mental petition for assistance with some problem I faced, real or fancied. I could recount scores, but let me present only these: (1) While I was in business, I was often confronted with the need for a decision on some aspect of operation, such as how to handle a disciplinary problem with an employee or deal with a recalcitrant customer. Invariably, after I had exhausted myself searching for ideas and turned to prayer, an idea presented itself that was superior to anything I had considered. And (2) after my heart attack a personal desire kept plaguing me, and I persistently in prayer asked for guidance; the response was always the same "You know what you must do," and that continued until I had completed a significant portion of this web site. The response to prayer changed to review of various possibilities. The urge to produce this web site seems a direct outgrowth of my prayers. I have no recollection of the point in producing this web site that change in response occurred, but whether that personal desire will ever be fulfilled I leave as part of my Walk With God.

Whether my prayers for material assistance have influenced other people to provide specific help or physical things such as money, I cannot know. It is difficult to insist that others have been attuned to deity to the extent that their actions were in response to my prayer. There have been many instances where people, some not at all devout or even religious, have produced for me the result I sought in prayer; I won't speculate on the involvement of deity in such incidents, but I will stoutly deny that pre-planning of all those lives (predestination) produced those results. Perhaps I have been favored in some manner as a result of my confrontation with God, which produced my Walk With God and is described in my odyssey; I cannot know and feel that intellectual honesty does not allow me to make such a correlation.
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About the FUTURE
I am impressed with the fact that, as men and science learn more, the greater the realization how great our ignorance. Witness the tremendous recent advances in astronomy, human physiology, solid-state physics (the underlying study that has produced modern electronics), each advance in turn leading to more questions and elaborations of how new evidence may be pursued. I suspect that there will always be questions enough to pique the minds of inquisitive individuals, that curiosity will never be satisfied without further conjectures and truths. Many areas of thought will diverge; some may converge; but always there will be more to learn. There will be mistakes, some enduring for generations, but ultimately the truth will prevail.

Modern man and his intelligence arose as a product of successive changes beyond his own influence. Evolution, whether you regard it as fortuitous accident or the influence of deity, will continue. And with an ever-increasing influence of man's intellect -- the gift of deity (or accident or man's design). Quite possibly with a significant increase in intelligence.

Should man proceed politically on his present course, then my prediction is that the remnants of civilization will be confined to massive self-contained domes in the midst of empty and arid deserts scoured by howling storms, with each member of that society for efficiency occupying his own cubicle in a stack after the fashion of warehousing. But, should we find the political will to be honest stewards of our inheritance, we can assist Nature in maintenance of diversity and natural beauty and deliver to future generations a world that is aesthetically pleasing and full of wonderment and the nagging need to satisfy curiosity.
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Footnote on Salvation
I made a public profession of faith as a teenager in a Southern Baptist church. No one could examine my motivation, and the question "Once saved, always saved" can be debated with no hope for resolution. I don't recall any immediate change in my attitude or circumstance, but I was over the years gradually drawn into increasingly important positions of service in the church. Just as I have felt compelled to try to resolve conflicts between religion and science and to compose, organize and present to you this web site. You can read my odyssey for further comment on my personal Walk With God.

I have personally witnessed changes for the better in the lives of persons undergoing a salvation experience. What mental chemistry may be involved, I cannot say, but I do attest to the power of the experience. I would not be so naive as to insist that the organized Christian church has a monopoly on offering life-renovating experiences; I've no doubt similar events are experienced among Muslims, Jews, Scientologists, Hindus, . . ., even among agnostics and atheists, but I note that many branches of the Christian church deliberately and aggressively seek to bring individuals to such a life-altering experience. And I've no doubt deity is pleased with each such experience.

Expression of religious experience: I have heard open disdain for individuals who express their religious fervor in a public meeting. Who can judge what is in the heart of another? Should we not share the joy of a fellow being and be delighted that a feeling of the divine presence can so engage his attention that he feels a compulsion to express it in some form? I supposes there will always be friction between whose whose idea of public decorum challenges open expression of personal experience that may disrupt their own search for religious certainty. Each must follow the dictates of his own soul.
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: There is and never was a deity or any form of divine supervision. (Many proponents of Atheism should more correctly describe their teaching as Deism or Agnosticism.)9 For more on Atheists, see next paragraph
Agnosticism: "I can't be sure . . .": is the only religiously neutral statement. Anything else is a positive statement of religious teaching.
Deism: Acknowledgment of deity but denial He is or has been active in our world or in human affairs. Some phrase it "God is irrelevant today" or "God is dead." Historically there have been many variations on the theme of Deism.
Theism: Acknowledgment of deity and claim He is active on an on-going basis with the products of His creative activity.
Rational Theism is an extension of Theism with the insistence all areas of thought must ultimately be compatible: What is true in one discipline must also be true in all others, although the manner of verbal expression may differ. While many areas of thought are peculiar to science (or to religion), where there is overlap there can be only one correct explanation.
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9 Footnote on Atheists: I have tried many times to encourage acquaintances who profess atheism to describe their notions of deity that form the basis for rejection; it has not been successful. I recognize what they consider the logical necessity to refuse definition in that, once they utter any descriptive declaration, they are faced with the response "Aha! you do believe." I had a roommate, a former Christian minister, who professed atheism; he described God in terms suitable for young children; if I adopted a comparable view I would join him in rejection. In my view, whoever professes atheism and refuses to define what he means engages in intellectual dishonesty; he should be intellectually honest and proclaim himself to be agnostic. But that, of course, has a hollow ring. Oh, the ways we pervert logic.
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10 Footnote 10: Many practicing believers insist that deity always existed. They fail to recognize that it is the nature of intellect that it must be engaged; if there is some vestige of intellect possessed by deity, then the question must present itself: What would engage that intellect prior to His participation in creation? To think of deity without intellect is as absurd as thinking deity would exist with nothing to engage His intellect.
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11 Footnote 11: I cite specifically the teaching of "auditing"* by L. R. Hubbard (LRH), pilot of Scientology during his life, as being worthy of consideration when practiced without religious bias.
* We can be freed of the deleterious effects of past events that incite harsh emotion through the process of recalling those events and thinkingly dealing with the attendant emotions.
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12 Footnote 12: I note that Jesus of Nazareth encouraged people to follow Him even if it meant disruption of family and friendships, and I note that other religions, cults and sects have endorsed a similar practice. Perhaps it seems necessary in order to initiate a new organization, but I disagree with the practice. Reason will earn our allegiance; reason will prevail; there is no stigma attached to applying the powers of mind to evaluate -- to evaluate and accept or reject -- ideas that come to our attention.

13 Much of my life has been dedicated to pondering what truths reside in religion, since reason must ultimately prevail. My study of science raised questions about several dogmatic assertions that prevailed in my youth. In the evolution of my personal views of things religious I have dealt with specific teachings of the Christian faith of my heritage (as elucidated by a conservative Southern Baptist faith before its dominance by its Fundamentalist wing) as well as various teachings advanced by other faiths and mystical authors.3 To view footnote, click here I have realized that Fundamentalism (of whatever religious faith) attempts to arrest the social progress of mankind at some point in time past.

In a way I feel cheated -- cheated of the simplicity of the Christian faith in which I was nurtured. But, if cheated, I have done it to myself because of a restless spirit that could not accept ideas that seemed to me to be incompatible or even mutually exclusive. The desire to believe is powerful, and for years I accepted unquestioningly descriptions I knew in reason were colored by the language and mind set of the time. I have felt led on a path of discovery that has resulted in this web site and this presentation of Rational Theism. I have felt constrained from active effort to push these ideas on others although I would welcome communion with like-minded individuals.

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