Atheism And Faith
I know many agnostics and atheists. The other day I was talking to one, a man I like, and curious to know why he espoused this faith, I asked him if he had ever had an intuition or spiritual experience, that blink of the eye in which you see an aura or into other dimensions? Laughing, he answered No. As far as he was concerned there is only the physical world, into which he was born by copulation, and out of which when his life is over, he moulders in the grave, that’s it. He does not question the things that have occupied me from my earliest childhood: questions like, Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? Is there life after death? Where was I before birth? The questions can all be asked in another way: Who am I? What’s going on?
I stand at the opposite pole from my atheist friend. I have had numerous experiences, visions and insights as sudden as lightning flashes. Afterwards, you cannot forget what you were shown. You may not quite believe it, but neither can you forget. I am not alone in this. Numerous people have been graced to have their senses opened and see into the spiritual world and at the same time to live in this natural plane as well. I have seen, for example, that the Divine is not in space but in love. Angels surround us with love and when we love most deeply, then are they closest and most visible. I have seen that a spirit or angel is not composed of material substance and therefore cannot be seen by normal sight but with the heart – the spiritual eye. Is this why my friend, who was reared in a hating, bitter and abusive environment sees only with the physical eye? Certainly to do so would act as a protection against the fist he expects to clobber him. But I think there’s more.
I have family members who are also staunch and fundamentalist atheists. They are rational, logical intellectuals, who trust the tools of science and analysis above all else. They are also decent, loving, righteous and law-abiding, and you could not ask for finer people in the world.
But they can’t see the Divine. They might appreciate beauty, but it goes no farther than appreciation. It does not engage them with humility. Neither do they give credence to the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s “hidden pattern behind a seemingly random event” – a treatise that influenced Carl Jung’s theory of synchronicity and allows for visions, premonitions, dreams, and meaningful coincidence. The arguments in favor of God or Destiny or a Greater Plan, in favor of a spiritual dimension surrounding us, are all irrational. They concern emotion, intuition, a vague feeling, an uplifted sudden soaring hope – what I call the brush of an angel’s wing. They concern the philosophical musings, “Is there something higher than myself?” Or is life, indeed, as meaningless and random as my atheist friend avers?
I don’t know. But this I will say – Listen, this is important. We all have strange experiences and it is incumbent on us to interpret the events in the way that makes us happiest. For me, that means to trust myself. Goethe said it, too: “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
Well, God’s world is rich in diversity, and so are the people who live here, and I give thanks for our differences, which make some of us see into spiritual dimensions and some of us not, and which makes life so rich, inexorable, and unimaginably beautiful. Meanwhile, here is a story that you can interpret as you will. Is the spiritual just our imagination? Or is there indeed, in the words of Hamlet, “More things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”?
If you want to read the story, you must click on the next Blog, for this one has already grown too long. I think of these two as a matched pair. My September offerings.