Thursday, 18 May 2017

The nature of atheism (and other undermining un-beliefs)

It is natural, normal, spontaneous to believe in God and in the world of the spirit (which I here term the Holy Ghost - I simply mean the immaterial divine as it permeates everything).

So how is it that modern people do not believe in either God or the Spirit? It is a matter of explaining-away - a matter of having alternative explanations for universal human experiences.

I know this from the decades when I was an atheist and a materialist - I had all the spontaneous intimations of the divine which people had in the past and continue to have in non-Western societies. That is, I felt that the universe of reality had purpose, hence meaning - that it was ordered rather than chaotic; that what happened mattered.

But I explained away this spontaneous insight as being, for example, a product of the way that humans evolved, or the way our sensory organs or brain just-happened to be made. This was a tragic thing for me, or anyone else, to do; because it meant that deep down I regarded everything that was and had been and could be - absolutely everything - as pointless and meaningless.

Such a conviction lay behind, or below all experience - undermining it, eroding it, subverting it into a conviction of delusion; it meant that I did not believe in my own experience, my own thinking...

The experience of everything being alive and sentient was equally solid - it was how I responded to the situation I was in, whenever I was aware of it. Sometimes it was a delightful benign and beautiful situation - at other times it was a deadly, oppressive sense of malignity around me. This I explained-away as a projection of my own emotions onto the surroundings.

And what of Jesus Christ? It is possible (many do) to believe in God and the Holy Ghost but not in Christ; but what is missing from such a belief. From my perspective the reality of Christ is mainly (but not only) about the possibility of becoming like Christ - Jesus was God as Man who was resurrected to eternal life and full divinity, as a gift which we may choose to accept.

In a nutshell, the reality of Christ is the reality of eternal family - which is, for me, necessary to a hope-full life. An eternity of solitude, even if it were blissful, is a sad, sad thing - a thing which would negate much of what has been most valued in my mortal life.

And more? Well, in this mortal life there is the mystery and magical otherness of Woman, and there is marriage; and the possibility that this too will be permanent and eternal. For me, this has become bound-up with my belief in the reality that God is both man and woman: both Heavenly Father and Mother. To accept the common idea that sex is a temporary state and marriage must end at death... these too are sad and lonely beliefs; which also undermine my spontaneous experience of life at-its-best.

Yet more? Creativity... this has been a big factor in my life; I mean the need to be writing, playing music, singing, connecting with literature, art... Is this just a pastime, a lifestyle? Or is it the same kind of thing that I would be expecting to do in eternity? Is eternity active, evolving, open-ended?

The alternative notion of an eternity that is timeless and in essentials changeless; perhaps worshipping or simply being... to some this is an ideal but to me this devalues my experience of what is Good. It is a kind of unbelief. I was delighted to discover and feel the truth of a view of Heaven and eternity as endless creativity.

In sum - the ideal is love: love implies people, family, marriage, children, creativity - all these, and more no doubt. Before any may be believed they must be understood and imaginatively entertained as possibilities - conviction may, or may not, follow....

2 comments:

  1. I am glad you have had these spiritual intimations of the divine in different stages of life, but I neither had them growing up as an atheist, not while deciding intellectually to become Christian, and not now as a Christian. I am also struck by the billions of Asia whose form of religious intuition seems to be just about opposite to the idea of a creative Heaven, which I share to a degree -- the sinking back into nothingness / anonymous bliss of Nirvana.

    Do you believe in the 'universality' of your way of seeing things based on any theory or grounds other than intuitive ones? I hope this does not sound offensive or negative.

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  2. @durendal - Well since you are still alive and live by a morality and have ideas of beauty and value truth - I presume you are just better at explaining-away than most people. So good that you don't even notice.

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