readers'&my comments on
the Shaman Atheist :: the Dao of Atheism

from: LW 9sep95
subj: Re: dao
i hate to mention this; you put the phonetic spelling; it's really Tao.

not to worry, that's the way it's spelled. really. ;)
is it Peking or Beijing?
back as a young teenager i was embarrassed by my mispronunciation of
the "T", and i figured that the "T" wasn't necessary, and was happy
when China went with more phonetic spelling. i vowed i wasn't going
to foist the same weird european pronunciations on any new readers,
so i choose to spell it phonetically, as do some others.
but, apart from the spelling, what'd you think?

Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 19:03:45 -0400 response to: JD 12sep95
Subject: Re: Shaman Atheist web site
Newsgroups: alt.religion.shamanism

> Hi Friends!
> To me a Shaman Atheist is a oxymoron. How can one journey with the > spirits and not believe in Spirit/God/Goddess/etc.! So I went to the web > sight to see what there definition of atheism was which is attached below. > After reading through this a few times I still cannot see the concept > of a Shamanick Atheist. Anybody out there want to explain this one? > Walk with Light,Wisdom,Love! > JD Shamanick Pagan

human social existence is a journey with other "spirits" - presuming, of course, that you and i have spiritual aspects of ourselves, whether we be poly/mono-theists or atheists (ie, "spirit" does not require a "Spirit" to direct it).
religious journeys do not require the companionship of spirits or Spirit/s, nor do ecstatic experiences require such communion.
"shaman", to me, refers to an individual who has a deeper-than-average understanding of the relationships between human beings and the world, and a person who uses this understanding to help others. whether a person Personifies the experience (as don Juan/Carlos Castaneda anthropomorphizes peyote) or not is, to me, a moot issue.
can atheistic buddhists or daoists "journey with the spirits"? can the terms "Spirit/God/Goddess" be understood as metaphors for, say, "the ground of being," as Tillich refers to "God"?
or must religion be always understood in relation to Big Persons who control and manipulate the universe?
and can an atheist, such as the Buddha, have a profound understanding of the nature of reality, have "mystical" experiences like Timothy Leary, help/heal people as Lao Dzu has done with his writings?

what you read was the introduction directed at primarily anti-theist, anti-spiritual atheists. the book argues for a deeper understanding - a religious understanding - of what it means to be atheist - to not experience the god/desses that many of you presumably do.
delve a little deeper. go on to chapters 40-50.

you might also want to check out another web site on religious atheism and see how other peoples incorporate atheism into religious life.
i think you might especially enjoy the Dine' (Navajo) story. lastly, oxymorons are often only moronic to the outsider and serve to deride that which they do not understand.
check out Christian and Jewish and Islamic atheists, too, along with the suggested -requirement- of atheism within liberation theology.

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