Friday, March 23, 2012

Far From Real Freedom

To: Freedom From Religion Foundation
From: Dave Gresham (emailed 6/2011)

Has the FFRF that once advertised inclusion of deists, free thinkers and independents evolved into atheists and agnostics only?

I have been told the majority of members were always atheists or agnostics. But is the percentage higher than it might be because almost every opinion in your paper reflects only one or the other? Maybe independents like me leave when they never hear opinions similar to their own? It is one thing to be a minority, but I feel like an orphan. 

Wouldn't a larger and more diverse group of members promoting freedom from religion be more helpful in achieving your stated objectives? True religion is entirely individual and independent anyway, representing the innermost essence of our beliefs. No one has ever believed everything someone else does, and no one ever will. So the FFRF needs to allow a wider variety of opinions in its publications, even things you do not agree with. In short, print letters from deists, free thinkers and independents, not just atheists and agnostics, your core membership.

For example, the FFRF appears only to believe that there is no life after death, or that such a thing cannot be known. This means millions of potential members, who believe in life after death, are repelled by an organization where nobody seems sure of an afterlife that they (potential members) accept as a fact. Indeed, the emphasis seems to lean the other way.

In addition, the FFRF often name-drops famous deists like Paine and Jefferson, yet never publishes their detailed views. Thomas Paine said this about his book Age of Reason, "the people of France were running headlong into atheism, and I had the work translated and published in their own language to stop them…" In short, it is unfair to cherry pick quotes for your benefit, but never voice anything that might foster deism. (Note I am not a deist. In my opinion we have progenitors, not creators, but this is not the place to digress further.) The point is about integrity and the lack of less popular viewpoints.

All of that having been said, perhaps you will allow me to share some of my beliefs on the certainty of life after death? If so, here are few…

The reason we cannot understand the next life is the same principle as if a baby in the womb tried to understand its parent's existence. Or imagine if an acorn tried to describe what being an oak tree is like. The caterpillar knows nothing compared to the butterfly, yet it sleeps in confidence of a glorious awakening. And we can do the same. An unborn bird somehow knows to break thru its shell to a much greater life. Even though what awaits is unknown, it presses forward with confidence. These examples, and endless others, show us that life can progress from one age to the next. We don't understand it, but when our body dies our spirit goes on somehow.

The progression from one world to the next can also be seen by examining ourselves. First, one physical seed (sperm) and one physical seed (egg) united in the womb to conceive us. We grew in the womb and eventually emerged to a life on earth. But when we were born, our placenta, which had received everything first, was discarded. Just like the placenta that preceded us, our physical body receives all things first. But the spiritual seed of love joins with our physical body and conceives a spiritual life for us, here in the womb of this earthly life. When we die here it is simply our emergence as a spiritual birth into a new world, while our body here will be discarded as obsolete, just as our placenta was.

Having subjected myself to be ruled by love above all other things, an idea that carries its own authority, I have no doubt my life will go on somehow when this life ends. But I have yet to talk to anyone in the FFRF, or read anything in the magazine that mirrors my total confidence. Am I alone here?

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and encourage others who may see the same things I do. True religion is ultimately the most personal thing for each of us. This makes it critical for the FFRF to respect minority opinions and keep them from being unwelcome, or even silenced, lest its influence be diminished.