Today as I meditated, the thought came to me that God exists in the mind.
It’s an old thought, but I realized the one thing that I can truly say I know is true about God, is that — God exists in the mind.
No atheist I know would argue with that, it’s the extra-dimensional cause that they take exception with, and I understand their skepticism.
But as one who has experienced a deep relationship with God, I can’t dismiss it away, and if God only exists in the mind, be it as a figment of my imagination or due to the nature of reality and/or God’s self-imposed limitations, then this clears up so many problems with traditional theology.
The problem of evil is a big stumbling block for many because they imagine God is all-powerful, and if he is all good, how come he doesn’t intervene to stop evil?
Well, the problem is that we assume he can intervene. Again, maybe something about the nature of reality prohibits him from doing it, or as the process theologians say, he simply is doing the best he can.
But if you will tentatively accept that God operates solely in the mind, and his effect is to raise our conscious awareness and make us more empathetic and loving, then all the evil in the world is due to us turning away from God and after the pleasures of the natural self.
It suddenly makes sense, why Paul talked so much about crucifying the flesh and letting Christ live through you. If by Christ, he means the spiritual principle that transcends the small self, then many Buddhists would agree with him.
But it does more than just make theodicy irrelevant, it changes our expectations of what God’s blessing and God’s help means.
I should have got this long ago, but the Bible says:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
Notice how it talks about spiritual blessings? I don’t know the history of the prosperity gospel, but somehow blessing became synonymous with wealth and health.
And yes, God’s blessing for Israel was indeed land, but what was the purpose of the land? For Israel to be a light to the nations. In other words to be a spiritual blessing.
Now not every Christian has believed the prosperity gospel, but many charismatics have. They don’t just want an encounter with God, they want divine healing, money, and tangible displays of God’s glory.
It’s no wonder that skeptics look aghast at all the claims of healing that fail to pass a closer examination.
But if we move to a more _spiritual _viewof God, and by that I mean a view of God that doesn’t suppose he physically interacts with the universe beyond being the ground of being, so many of the critiques of atheism fall away.
I was watching a video by Matt Dillahunty recently, where he talked about appeals to faith, and how faith is just gullibility and that you could claim anything by faith, including the absurd.
He and many other atheists, when looking for proof for God’s existence always look in the natural world, for evidence, and I agree with them that in the natural world there isn’t a slam dunk.
I think the fine-tuning of the universe and the argument of life’s informational complexity are good clues, but it’s far from iron-clad.
But what if instead of looking for God out there, we start looking for God ‘in here’?
Because unlike all first cause arguments and appeals to miracles and revelation, I know from first-hand experience that God exists in my mind. It’s not faith, it’s first-hand knowledge.
The only question is what is the nature of the cause of God in the mind? To use a computer analogy, is it baked into the hardware, or is it just a piece of software that can be upgraded or deleted?
I’m inclined to view it as baked into the hardware. Why? Have you seen how religious certain people get after they leave religion?
For many of them, they turn from worshipping the ineffable God to worshiping the power of the state to bring justice and correct our faults. So, there is something in us that longs for that which is greater.
Where does this leave me at the moment? For one I think I’m finally understanding the comments by Bishop Robert Barron and other serious theologians that the critiques of the New Atheists are only demolishing the simple God of children’s stories.
But beyond that simple picture of God, is a rich and very interesting open field of possibilities that I intend to explore. However, for me, it starts with the realization that if God is anything, he exists as a reality in my mind.
And I don’t need to look in the world for evidence. Well, let me say it like this:
Physical things require physical evidence; spiritual things require spiritual evidence.
It’s telling that before the Enlightenment, the very concept of knowledge was based on cogitation. Which is why for eons we believed the sun went around the earth.
It’s only after the Enlightenment that the word knowledge became identified with empirically provable facts. Quite simply it’s Plato vs Aristotle and for the history of the West, knowledge was much more Platonic than Aristotelian.
I’ll close with this — the more you gaze at something the more you become like that something. This is a very ancient principle.
Naturalists are gazing into the universe and they only see matter and energy, and so that conforms their thinking to think that the natural is all there is.
Truly spiritual people are gazing within to whichever image of God they worship, and become, stumblingly, more like their God.
I think that the world needs more people who dare to go inside and search for the divine.
That’s why I think that advocates for psychedelics are on the right path. Psychedelics are a very big door to the divine, but they are not the only way. That said, one day I would like to try them when they are legal 🙂
Anyway, I’m quite surprised at how my views are shifting lately. The skeptic part of me thinks I’m just reverting to what is comfortable as I grew up this way.
But something deep in me is calling to the deeper things and I can’t ignore it.