I’m an Atheist Who Believes in Gods

The Need for Answers

A photo titled “The Need for Answers” by Zach Stern

“Real” atheists will be quick to point out that the statement above is immediately untrue and tell me the word I’m looking for is agnostic. I would promptly disagree and do my best to explain why. Here is my stance in brief:

God and gods are merely human concepts of the idea that conscious beings (or consciousness) can exist without physical bodies. I say I’m an atheist because I don’t agree with any human attempt to describe this consciousness or these consciousnesses. I’m not agnostic because I believe this position (the illusion of self explained below) can be proven or at minimum experienced for the “self.” I say I believe in God or gods because they exist within a story which created the “self” (or you) and that story is false. You and I do not exist. What exists is the story of you, which is just as real as the story of God (or gods of your choice). These stories about God or gods point to (or attempt to explain) the source of consciousness, and consciousness is real (you’re experiencing it now).

Regardless of the story you choose to believe (atheism, agnosticism or theism) it is false (because Continue reading

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What Is Daoism?

I caught this quite fitting image at the end of the path I was walking while filming the video titled "What is Daoism?"

I caught this image at the end of the path I was walking while filming the video titled “What is Daoism?”

Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi. But he didn’t know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi. Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.

Along with the post titled “The Dao to Buddhism” I made an accompanying video. In the comments of the video someone asked me if I could explain what Daoism is. Not only did I Continue reading

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The Dao To Buddhism

I had this post in mind for the last week or so. The original title  was something like “How Studying Daoism Led Me to Buddhism.” This new title is better.

The Dao is a Way

Dao is translated into English as Way. What’s interesting about Way is that it can mean a method or a path. If this post was titled “The Dao of Buddhism,” it would be about the hows (method) of Buddhism. The current title is reflective of the path to Buddhism, specifically my own. I happened to walk the path (way) of the Way (Dao) to get to Buddhism. This came to me while walking to a Buddhist Temple in the mountains of Neihu (Taipei County). This map says it all:

This is the map that gave me the idea for this post.

This is the map that gave me the idea for this post’s title.

See the little guy in the lower right. That was me. Follow the red path breaking left at the fork and you’ll run into Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Daoism, Enlightenment | 6 Comments

Who’s Enjoying The Brownie?

I suppose I can officially say I’m a practicing Theravada Buddhist as of about a week ago. I’m primarily focused on getting comfortable with the sitting posture without actually focusing on meditation. Right now I’m sitting for 40 minutes once or twice a day while reading.

Before sitting today I noticed I was a little hungry. I didn’t have a lot of options so I ate an apple. I needed a little more fuel, so I went with a brownie, not so much because I “desired” one as it was just something simple to eat. That said, brownies are tasty so I enjoyed eating it. While enjoying the brownie I asked myself “Who’s enjoying the brownie?”

Things got a little weird from that question. I realized my tongue liked the flavor and certainly enjoyed it, but I was kind of indifferent to the brownie as I was eating it in preparation for sitting (as opposed to desiring the actual brownie). Then I started to “see” the me that wasn’t there. The feelings in the bottoms of my feet from standing weren’t me. I wasn’t tasting the brownie. The sounds of the cars driving by weren’t me either. It was all just a bunch of inputs coming in and getting processed by the mind (I can’t even say my mind… who owns that?!)

All this tripped out thinking is because I’m currently Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Enlightenment, Theravada | 6 Comments

Happiness, Martial Arts and Enlightenment

You probably haven’t noticed but I’ve been tweaking the tagline of this blog the last couple weeks. First it was “Flowing to Nirvana”, then I decided “Flowing to Daoist Immortality” was a little better (as I’ve spent the majority of my life thinking I’m a Daoist) and now I like “Happiness, Martial Arts and Enlightenment.”

While my personal goal is still Nirvana/Daoist Immortality, I thought I’d be better off focusing on the “flowing” part of the tagline. No matter how much I want “nirvana” and how hard I work to get it, everything I read about it seems indicate that my chances for success are slim. So while I’m trying to crack that nut, I figure I might as well share my top three loves of life (right after YOU my reader 😉 ).

  • Understanding human happiness
  • Studying martial arts
  • and figuring out how this “enlightenment” thing works

I’ll slowly get my categories to reflect these changes and I’ve already put up a page for each one where I’ll continually add “the best of the best” in terms of resources on each topic (the only one worth visiting at the time of this writing is the one on happiness).

The idea behind this change is to consolidate topics that I had spread across an array of websites and YouTube channels, which would make things simpler and easier to manage, which will (has) in turn make (made) me happier. If there’s ever something you want me to write about in the realm of those three things, chances are I’d be totally up for the challenge.

Why not stroll on over to the page on happiness, check out the “formula for happiness” and see if you learn something. 😀

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Categorizing Atheism As A Religion

I was going to write a post about why it’s important for Atheism to get branded a religion and for atheists to be OK with that, but I’m going to save it until after I read “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.”

I’ll summarize the idea briefly here. Perhaps my stance will shift upon reading the book.

Cliff’s Notes Version of Why It’s Important to Categorize Atheism as a Religion

In a nutshell it’s about seeing that religion is Continue reading

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Is Atheism A Religion? Why Or Why Not?

I asked that simple but controversial question on Facebook last night and went to sleep. Actually, the full post was:

Is atheism a religion? Why or why not? Just finished “The Happiness Hypothesis” and… I’m kind of thinking it is now. The problem is with defining religion.

Follow [this link] to see or add to the conversation there.

It was interesting to see how quick (I’m assuming) Atheists were to point out how Atheism is not a religion or state that Atheism is lack of a “belief in deities.” I also enjoyed all the “ready made” points like (all from the Facebook thread):

  • Atheism is a religion the same way not having children is parenting.
  • Atheism is a religion, like not collecting stamps is a hobby.
  • [Atheism is a religion like] Bald is a hair colour.

Even got some photos!
Continue reading

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