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The Shoe Doesn't Fit Cinderella's Sister
The ATIism Logo
What is ATIism?
People are meaning and purpose seeking creatures. Our consciousness includes an awareness of our own existence as distinctive from other things. Some animals also have a highly developed sense of awareness but they do not ponder the meaning of existence. Humans also wonder whether there is life after death. (See my poem: “Do We Survive?”). Religions offer different answers to some of these mysteries. Today there are many religions but it can be said there are five major world faiths: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam (See my poem: “I Only Know ATI You’re Here”). Millions of people find solace, friendships and guidance within one of these forms.
Many years ago I as was a member of a Christian church but left disenchanted. Many things they claimed about the Bible turned out to be untrue and in many instances the truth was the exact opposite. I’m simply too reason & scientifically-oriented to have remained convinced (See my poem: “Some Years Ago” & download my free eBook “What I Told My Son About the Bible: Things the Clergy Doesn’t Want You to Know”). I also found that none of the other faiths work for me. Yet I’m still amazed by the things I see all around me and my studies in science only make it all the more wondrous. (See my poem: “I Only Know, ATI You’re Here.”). Over time I intuited/reasoned/created “ATIism.” It is a worldview that works for at least this intuitive intellectual. What follows explains what it is and how it works?
To believe something is to fill in the blanks between things known and unknown. This section might sound as if I'm against beliefs but it's not the case. I also believe things; it's just that empty beliefs that don't include any real evidence are difficult for individuals like me to accept. You will see that in a later section I do support things when there are "reasons to believe." In fact so do scientists; its just that these are usually amendable based on new evidence. In other words one can use a belief as a working hypothesis as long as there is a willingness to change due to new information and/or interpretations. However be aware the mind can creatively or in some cases emotionally either fill in the blanks or ignore them and accept untested conclusions. One can also jump to conclusions by connecting unrelated dots. Therefore beliefs should arouse a measure of caution since there are always different ways to view incomplete puzzles.
I think we arrive at beliefs partially via intuition and sometimes emotions. I say partially since reason and sometimes even observation is involved during parts of the process. Parts of the “story” can even be false but it can be made to seem very reasonable. In any case there are always missing pieces in the puzzle. This is to say intuition/emotion often via assumptions can be used to fill in the blanks or missing pieces. There are many variations but generally this is how “faith” or beliefs operates. One feels compelled to believe something and eventually accepts the incomplete theme. The caution is that any such leap of faith can be wrong.
Another common problem relates to the definition of terms or their lack. Consider the common question: “Do you believe in God?” Any answer depends much on what one means by “God.” The term may mean many different things. Is god a humanoid or anthropomorphic being, kind of like a Superman? Is God a spirit, the creator, the first cause, the grand designer, greatest thing that exists or the magician behind the curtain, etc.? Someone could answer yes but have something very different in mind than the questioner. Here is another example. Imagine someone asking, “Do you believe some people are psychic?” What does the term “psychic” mean? Many people think it means someone who walks around knowing everything about everyone. All you need to do is ask such a person a question and you’ll know the future. (Of course, no one is psychic according to this definition). To serious ESP or paranormal research scientists psychic means someone whose guesses or imaginings are correct over and above the laws of chance. They don’t expect to see perfection. To them a statistical analysis determines whether something other than chance was operative. In any case you can see how important definitions can be.
We all have to operate in an imperfect world where all the data is rarely available and accounted for. We use beliefs and assumptions just to maneuver through a day. We make all sorts of decisions based on partial information for example while driving or walking down the street. If a group of teenagers are walking towards you, for example, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily intent on harming or robbing you. One might still cross the street to err on the side of caution but the assumption operates like a belief.
So we can see that we shouldn’t confuse beliefs with things proven. After there is enough supporting evidence there comes a point when we can arrive at a proven conclusion. We do this like juries are instructed: due to the preponderance of the evidence (i.e. the standard in civil cases) or beyond a reasonable doubt (i.e. the standard in criminal cases). In any case after something is proven we no longer need to believe it, since then we know it.
There is another confusing element and that is beliefs can lead to a feeling of knowing. Many people mistakenly think that if they believe something and have this feeling it is the same as knowing. It isn’t. It is simply a compelling emotion but it isn’t anything like knowing something after it has been confirmed or verified by the evidence. Another issue about this kind of feeling is that often people will say “I knew that” after something has been verified, but they rarely say anything when such a feeling is proven to have been completely wrong. Sometimes people emotionally react to "stereotypes" based simply on another's appearance or dress. Everyone who wears leather jackets for example isn't evil. My counsel isn't to ignore such feelings since they can in hindsight also be proven right. My best advice is to listen to them and even act to ensure your safety as long as your chosen path is harmless. At least then, even if your feelings misjudged an individual or situation how you reacted didn’t cause anyone any harm.
You can see why I claim that faith stems largely from intuition and emotion. Just because you believe something it doesn't mean it's true. Of course one can get clever and ask, like Pontius Pilate allegedly did of Jesus, "What is truth?" One good definition is that truth is the degree that your statement(s) agree with what is. This of course means that we must be able to test, check or verify an assertion by observation and/or detection. Keep in mind I'm not saying that intuition cannot be correct. Many times it is; but it's just we can't really know it, despite our feelings, until it's verified.Acting Out Negative Emotions
There is another element related to beliefs. Some religions teach that believing their doctrines is the most important thing in life. However, your actions can directly affect others but what you simply believe cannot. Believing things is an internal process and in ATIism what one does is more important than the simple act of believing. (See my poem: “When I Woke Up”). This doesn’t mean that beliefs don’t count; it’s just that they count less than your actions. You simply cannot justify committing crime, for example, on the basis of a belief. In cases of so-called ideological crimes I’m convinced that negative emotions play a large part in their perpetuation. Hitler and the Nazis murdered millions of Jews, for example, as they instituted the so-called “Final Solution.” They believed the Aryan Race was superior and the Jews had to be exterminated. Hitler’s hatred of Jews was without doubt primary in his development and initiation of his evil philosophy.
Even more common crimes are committed when someone has lost control of some negative emotion or feeling. It could be hatred, jealousy, envy, revenge, lust, power, greed etc. I claim that in every crime committed someone lost control of their emotions and allowed it to motivate them into action. Police departments would do well by looking for the perpetuating emotion as well as the physical evidence. It does not mean that just because someone had a negative feeling they committed a crime. It means that someone or even a group of people who committed the crime acted on a negative emotion. Of course you might wonder how you can “look” for an emotion. Well, it requires that you know something about human behavior. You also have to imagine the crime scene and set up the situation. If, for example, there was a love triangle and one of the parties was murdered, jealousy and revenge is very likely motive. It isn’t hard to figure who had such feelings.
In any case it doesn’t mean that one should never feel negative emotions but we do have the responsibility to control them. In recent years there have been numerous cases of deranged individuals killing numerous innocent people after they acted out their negative feelings. If one is continually haunted by negative emotions they should seek out appropriate aid. It is much better than letting them harbor and build until one loses control and acts on them.
ATIism Compared to Religions
ATIism is the concept that we and all other things exist within a greater collective that one could call “All That Is” i.e. “ATI.” It is the greatest thing that exists; this is to say it is existence in its fullest sense. No thing could have created ATI since that means there had to have been something outside of ATI and this is nonsense. In this sense you can metaphorically think of ATI as the creator and the creation. However changes within ATI give rise to things, most being temporal (See my poem: “Does Everything Change?”). Speaking metaphorically you can say that ATI is continually creating some things and destroying others. It is amazing that humans have arrived after billions of years of previous changes (See my poem: “Earth, My Dear Mother”). I want to emphasize that when I say ATI I’m not referring to only our universe, meaning the one that includes our solar system and planet Earth. These things will in some billions of years disappear without a trace. We don’t currently know if there are other universes but there are several multiverse (or multiple universe) theories in physics. However existence and activities within ATI will continue in some way, on and on. ATI is literally “everything” and includes whatever is outside our neck-of-the-woods. In any event ATI has to be omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (present everywhere) and infinite (has always existed and will always exist). These are qualities that other religions attribute to god and in this sense ATI is god at least in ATIism.
Most religions follow the lead of faith (i.e. recall in my terms this is intuition/emotion) and reason/observation assist. This is to say great regard is given to “revelation.” However in ATIism it’s the opposite. Reason/observation leads while intuition/emotion assists. Great regard is given to science as the most objective mode of exploring things within ATI. There are other differences. One is that in many religions god is thought of as being an anthropomorphic being, that is to say a superman-like being. A common image is that that of god sitting on a throne upon a cloud somewhere in heaven, surrounded by a sea of worshipping angels/spirits. There isn’t anyway to prove this but people can believe it, if they like. On the other hand the existence of ATI is certain. It is something you don’t have to believe (See my poem: “When I Woke Up”). If an individual has enough awareness they will become conscious of their own being. The auxiliary to this is the realization that since one exists so does something that includes all things. The final nugget is you and I exist only since ATI does (See my poem: “The ATI Realization”). This to say we have our being within ATI. Our species evolved over time and our lives exist along the latest twigs on the Homo sapiens limb of the grand biological tree.
Another difference is some religions put the founders of their faith on very high pedestals; some are even thought to be god. We can see this in varying degrees in the cases of Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed. In ATIism no former human is or can be viewed as anything like ATI. Such a notion is nonsense, meaning that one cannot arrive at this via reason/observation. One can only accept the idea that some former human is god as an article of faith, which is to say one must believe it. However it also entails that others are free to not believe it, especially since there isn’t any evidence. ATIism says all people are/were merely human. (The physical birth process begins when a female’s egg or “ovum” gets fertilized by a male’s sperm, etc.). This doesn’t mean that some people don’t possess great talents. We all have the potential to grow and develop into more mature, creative beings. In ATIism those who have founded religions should be appreciated, even respected but not deified.
These factors can affect each other and in combinations can influence the nature of your accepted worldviews and beliefs. Experience factors can include many things. If someone has had an angelic, ghost or UFO experience they are more likely to believe such things compared to someone who hasn’t. Even if some people have had such an experience their intellect may still oppose it and rationalize the event as a momentary hallucination, wakeful dream or delusion of some kind. If so, they still might not believe it. Some individuals may encounter convincing arguments against some of their religious beliefs but they may not make any changes due to social factors. This might entail family and other kinds of group pressure. Much of this could also be due to emotional factors. They might feel the need to remain accepted by their significant others and therefore chose to ignore the problems.
Much of what people are willing to believe depends also on their personality type. If some one is primarily a “thinking” type they rely much on their intellectual analysis. An “emotional type” relies more on feelings. An “action type” likes to act independently and is often in the thick of conflicts. A “social type” likes to keep the peace, avoid conflict and readily goes along with traditions. An “intuitive type” goes with their “sixth sense” and experiences. Of course all of these forms reside within everyone so you could create a 5 tiered system to more thoroughly describe individuals. Here is an example. One personality type is an individual who is (in order of usual predominance) primarily a thinker, secondarily an intuitive, thirdly a socializer, fourthly an actor and fifthly emotive. So you could have all the forms in any of the five tiers of usual operation; creating a system of 25 possible personality descriptions. Keep in mind there are other systems of personality analysis. My main point is what we believe also depends much on the filters created by our personality. The idea is what one person sees as being significant another barely notices and vice versa. Some people, for example, could careless about reason, evidence and proofs while to others it’s primary. In any case the issue is complex. Recall the Cinderella story; the shoe didn’t fit Cinderella’s sisters no matter how hard they tried and in like manner one shouldn’t try to force fit people into ATIism. There are many other perspectives and religions that may simply be more suitable for them. After all people can live successful, meaningful lives within any of the world’s religions.
There are many stories in religious
literature that is without
any evidence: Moses received the law directly from God on top of
There is other less certain things such as the nature of an afterlife. Again there is good reason to believe there is more; but we can’t completely prove it. If there are other realms, as I suspect, these would also have to be part of ATI. ATIism allows individuals to make up their own mind about such things. Some people are convinced that re-incarnation of some sort is part of the plan. Some believe in other after-life schemes like souls going to heaven, purgatory or hell. Others think there will be a resurrection to either a newly made physical body or to a spirit form. Of course some founders of religions were adamant about their after life teachings, believing they couldn’t be wrong. Considering how different their teachings are they can’t all be right. I think we can’t know the precise nature of any after-life (See my poem: “Do We Survive?”). ATIism claims that where you are now is your place-of- power and we will know what’s next when we get there. In the meantime this life and world is of immediate importance and the “next realm” isn’t comparably so. Even if there isn’t an after-life it is still better and more fulfilling to live a meaningful, purpose-filled life. Despite our beliefs, it is what it is.
An ATIer also decides for her/himself the form of their spiritual practices. To some prayer makes sense, for others it’s meditation and/or contemplation. I like to use all the forms but that’s my choice. People also decide what therapies to use for healing but modern medicine is recommended to be part of the plan. Healthy lifestyles are encouraged including a wholesome diet and exercise but people make these and other lifestyle choices for themselves.
Five Functions of Healthy Religions
Here are five general functions that a healthy religion should include but there are others.
- Firstly a healthy church creates an atmosphere or a feeling of belonging to a spiritual family. The group should function as to accept individuals who show an interest in the group’s purpose and doctrines. This should not include any physically draining or harmful initiation process.
- Secondly a healthy religion inspires its membership towards living moral and lawful lives. This isn’t to say everyone must be perfect but rather direct individuals to strive towards taking the high road and live a healthy way. If any group encourages you to commit crime or violence go to the police!
- Thirdly a healthy religion encourages members to do good works for those with needs within the group and others.
- Fourthly a healthy religion allows individuals to question doctrines and teachings. People should also be allowed to choose their own therapies but modern medicine should play an important part in the process.
- Fifthly a healthy religion inspires individuals to live purposeful lives. It should provide people with a sense of meaning for their existence, as well as provide solace to those when ill, counsel to those who require guidance, aid to those in need and hope to those who are grieving over a deceased loved one.
Negative Features of Unhealthy Religions
Here are some unhealthy signs to watch for in religions but there are others. If you see more than one of these, you should consider leaving. I’ll be using the term “church” to cover the “group” that may be known by some other names.
- Beware of any church that teaches their leader is God’s one and only channel. This limits one’s ability to get direct inspiration since there is only one source, the leader. Beware of any leader who takes upon any lofty name or title, like “Christ” “God’s Messenger” or “Chief Apostle” etc.
- Beware of any church that divides the world into two; the church is good and the world is evil. This teaching can even be used to try to keep individuals from associating with family and with other people outside of the group. In extreme situations people can be impelled to live in the church’s compound, where contact with people outside is restricted. Similarly beware of any group with racist teachings. (It’s the same problem. One race is declared to be good and another is degraded or claimed to be bad).
- Beware of any church that demands most of one’s resources, free time and aims to control members. One shouldn’t be required to give up all their money and/or belongings. Nor should one have to participate in continual church activities to raise funds. A healthy church teaches and encourages individuals to interact with others outside the group and does not dominate all their free time. Do not give up your power to any church that insists they have the right to physically punish individuals for non-attendance, mistakes or so-called sins. If any group engages in beating people go the police.
- Beware of any church that doesn’t allow people to question doctrines; especially if their teachings go against sound science and reason. Extreme compliance is often part of a group’s programming techniques. They also often use negative emotions such as fear and guilt to control people. Also beware of any group that has a blanket prohibition against modern medicine. This does not mean that every medical treatment is desirable but individuals should be allowed to make their own decisions in consultation with doctors.
- Beware of any church that condones liberal sex with more than one partner or with minors. Healthy sexual expression is a private affair and a special bonding with one loving partner. Beware of any leader, priest or minister who uses her/his position to take advantage of others. When these lines are crossed it can lead to a lot of trouble. If minors are being sexually abused go the police.
What then is ATIism? It is a worldview, a philosophy & a religion. It is my religion at least and perhaps that of a few others and that means it is the big intellectual picture we use that puts it all together. ATIism is really an alternative religion for people, like me; for whom the other religions simply don’t work. However, ATIism is not yet an organized religion, with members and services etc. Perhaps it will become that but I would only like to see it with people for whom the shoe truly fits! Cinderella’s sisters belong and would be much happier amongst other offerings.
There is also a mystical component to ATIism. I have spent many wondrous moments being full of the joy and amazement of ATI. These mystical moments are difficult to express in words but your awareness heightens and you feel part of the amazing big picture, impressed by the synchronicity and serendipity of events that led to your life within ATI. You can feel the sunset, ride with the wind, beam along with star light and visualize distant galaxies and yes … feel blessed peace and happiness!
The Basic Tenets of ATIism
- ATI is All That Is. It is the greatest thing that exists and/or is existence in the fullest sense. Metaphorically speaking ATI is the creator & the creation.
- ATIism is a worldview where reason/observation leads but intuition/emotion assists.
- Science is the best vehicle for exploring and understanding things within ATI.
- Human beings arrived after billions of years of changes within ATI. Even if the processes were random, the serendipity is remarkable.
- Good works have a longer reach than mistakes. In other words good is more powerful than evil since it can make amends.
- People can live successful lives within almost any religion.
- There are
reasons to believe (but not to absolutely prove) there is a purpose for
our existence and life after death. Aware people endeavor to become all
that they can be and aim to stay aligned with their sense of purpose.
They strive to control negative emotions and to feel the mystical union
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