Doubt And Divinity: Part I

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.


6 thoughts on “Doubt And Divinity: Part I

  1. Thank you, Sophy. I am looking forward to reading more.

    We do all have strange experiences and at the same time, I venture, most have a very little notion that, in fact, they are not alone or a minority in this respect.

  2. Working as a chaplain, I was gifted to have many people share spiritual experiences with me that they didn’t feel comfortable sharing with family or close friends for fear of censure, resistance…whatever.

    Older people often feared their children would find such stories reason to find them incapable of living alone in their home. That says so many sad things about our culture, i believe. I love science; the more it uncovers, the more I’m convinced that a Sacred/Loving Energy and Artist is generating and embracing all. But certainly, a job that invites one to explore her own and others’ spirituality often runs into indifference, doubt, and disbelief…

    Often, it’s a negative “religious” background, understanding, or experience that shuts people down and makes them not only leave a given institution but close off connection with their spirit/Spirit altogether. I think the fact these negative experiences often happen when one is at an early cognitive, emotional, psychological, and/or faith stage is also integral to their lack of tools to move deeper and beyond…

    Thank you, Sophy, for your continued invitations and path-finding.

  3. I wonder whether some people are hardwired to go searching for God in this life and some simply are not. I know I have been keenly interested in the subject of the spiritual behind all of this physical since I can remember.
    I knew a man who had a lovely ecstatic experience and went to his doctor. His doctor heard the story and, knowing this man very well, said, “I predict in a year you will have almost forgotten this experience and it will have no effect on your life.” This turned out to be the case. The man simply wasn’t interested in following this bright occurrence, didn’t want to step through the opening door.
    I suspect that there is as much need in this life for the role of the fundamentalist believer as that of the fierce atheist and everything in between. I am very grateful to be living a life (at least this time around, if there is such a thing as a return to this world) with the searching for God personality, but then I don’t know what it feels like to be anything but me.
    I look forward to reading the next blog. Thanks Sophy!

    • Wow Margaret you may not know what it feels like to be anything but you but you certainly seem to have a feel for the richness and diversity of how the big picture must be “…I suspect that there is as much need in this life for the role of the fundamentalist believer as that of the fierce atheist and everything in between..” I love that notion! There are just so many reasons why it makes so much sense!

  4. I just read your book yesterday and will pass many of your books out to my loved ones. I felt touched and felt so much joy, that I hadn’t felt in years. I sent out the strongest smiles to all whom i came across. However, the following day I bought Dannion’s book “Saved By The Light.” I felt tremendous sense of heaviness and fear and sadness by his predictions. How do I go back to having hope and not liiving in fear and dread? Anyone?

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