The Atheist Delusion

The Atheist Delusion

The greatest delusion embraced by the atheist is not that there’s no God but rather that they are free from delusions. The belief that you are free of all illusions is the most dangerous delusion of all for it opens the floodgates to the acceptance of unreality in a multitude of forms.

It is evident that the atheist has not experienced God, but how in the world can he deny that others have not experienced God. Seeing that experiencing God is a personal matter that cannot be judged empirically by an outsiders. You cannot get into another man’s mind or body to know how or what he is or has experienced. Yet this is the very thing that an atheist must claim.

We know that human beings experience pain to various degrees and that it is impossible for one to experience the other man’s pain exactly and to the same degree. The same thing is true of our experience of God. People experience God in different ways and to different degrees. Therefore, the atheist claim that there is no God is totally unreasonable and contrary to the experiences of billions of people. The only real claim that they can reasonably make is that they have not experienced God personally. Yet, in their arrogance they go one step further and say that no one has experienced God and if they claim that they then are delusional.

As pointed out the most that the atheist can truly claim is that they have not experienced God. However, even that might be saying too much for they could have experienced God and not recognized it as a God experience. This would be a very likely theorem because of their preconceived biases which could keep them from recognizing a God experience if they had one. The most that an atheist can say is that they have not knowingly experienced God. Of course, many atheist will say that if they have not experienced God because he does not exist or that God in some way is obligated to reveal himself in such a way that his existence would be undeniable. They seldom blame themselves for accepting an ideology or worldview that will not allow them to experience the divine.  It could be that they’re like a blind man who denies the existence of color because he cannot see it or has not experienced it and then blame color itself for their inability to see it.

In the end, the old saying that a man with an argument will never convince the man with an experience is true. The only people who atheists will move to their unbelief is those who have never experienced God and are already in a sense in the atheist or agnostic camp. Atheist will never be able to argue that God does not exist with a man who has experienced God. That would be like telling a man who was rescued from the sea by a person in a lifeboat, that the person did not exist.

Humans come to know things in many ways. We learn through our mind but we also learn through our other senses. In actuality, our minds process the information that we get through our other senses. However, if some sense has been crippled or damaged we may become dead to that sense and no longer be able to experience the world through it. It could be that some knowledge requires more than one sense and channel. I think this is the case with the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God requires the whole man. If any part of the man has been damaged or disabled it becomes increasingly hard for that man to experience God in any meaningful way.

Therefore talking to a hardened atheist is like talking to a handicap man who doesn’t know that he’s handicapped. I once talked to a young atheist who I knew growing up who had been raised in a very dysfunctional family where there was a great deal of brokenness. His parents claimed to be Christians and for whatever reason they could not work through their dysfunction. This environment caused him to become bitter towards his father and also somewhat towards his mother. This bitterness not only hardened him against having a relationship with his father but it also hardened him against having faith in God. Being an intelligent person he had to come up with a rational explanation for his lack of faith. His self justifying mechanism is the source of his unbelief and not his intellect. In many cases reason is the water boy for the will and imagination, and often hinders people from experiencing God, for people use it to justify themselves.

For those seek an experience with God I would suggest a brutal self-examination of one’s life. This kind of self-examination if done truly will open one’s spirit to God. No haughty or prideful man will ever come in to the presence of God. One must make themselves small and God big before having any kind of meaningful experience with him. In my own personal experience with God I have found it easier to connect with him in a quiet place. My quiet place is the mountains or wilderness. But even if it’s at home in your office or in your bedroom it’s got to be quiet. Noise turns off or weakens our senses. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God”.  By pure in heart he meant those that are single-minded. They are like Jacob who wrestled with an angel and refused to give up because he was totally committed to receiving the promise of God. If you seek God hard enough you will find him or should I say He will find you. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt 7:7-8)

 

 

Revelation and Myth

Revelation and Myth[1]

The word revelation simply means an unveiling or the lifting of the veil.  We often use the word in a religious sense as an unveiling of the Uncreated One or the essence we call God, but the word God is a metaphor that points beyond itself to what is beyond and transcends human intelligence.  The word God itself is a revelation because it brings that mystical essence a step closer to our consciousness.  The word God to some degree enables us to communicate with each other about this mystical essence and our experiences of it[2].  We men have been analyzing and refining our knowledge of this Totally Other since the dawn of human consciousness.  Some have even pretended to be that consciousness when men had a corporal view of God.  It was the nation of Israel that first codified that God could not be imaged by the human mind, a revelation which could be traced back to Moses and his encounter with God on the sacred mountain.  The Uncreated One is not a creature that man has the right to name just as Adam named the animals brought before him.  Be careful about speaking of God.

It’s not hard to figure out how revelation worked.  In the past, men experienced the Totally Other in various ways[3].  When they talk to others about their experience there seems to be a thread that connected these experiences, a thread which basically said that there was something beyond the mere physical. Something so lofty that the human mind could not comprehend it.  It was this something that primitive man gave the title God.

This helps us to understand the ancient myths.  Myths mediated the presence of God to mankind through story and poetry.  It was through these forms of mediation that the ground and foundation of All Beings began to reveal himself to mankind.  This is why we see a thread, though sometimes thin, of the same themes in myth and story throughout the world[4].

You could say that the myths were the temples God used as a meeting places with men.  They were the bridge that spanned the chasm between the spiritual and the physical.  Myths are metaphors that come alive in story form.  In the New Testimony, Jesus became the living temple and bridge where man can meet God.  Unfortunately, some men are metaphorically disadvantaged because of their concrete thinking, which came about by a scientism that denies anything other than our sense experiences.

What about Jesus and revelation?  Well, Jesus is the image or revelation of God.  He said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  The apostle Paul refers to him as “the image of the invisible God.”  Paul goes on to say that God packed into Jesus everything that humans could possibly know about God[5]. So in that sense Jesus is THE revelation of God.  Jesus became a living metaphor that pointed to God. That’s why John could say the word (revelation) became flesh and dwelled among us (John 1:14).  He goes to say, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” (John 1:17-18)  The Word, The myths, The Forms and The Archetypes all took on a bodily form in Jesus.  For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority (Col 2:9-10).

[1][1] Definition of Myth:1 a: a usually Definition of Myth:1 a: a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon creation myths b: PARABLE, ALLEGORY Moral responsibility is the motif of Plato’s myths.

[2] In his book “The Idea of The Holy: An Inquiry into The Non-Rational Factor in The Idea of The Divine and Its’ Relation to The Rational”, Rudolf Otto gives an excellent overview of these mystical experiences and encounters with the Totally Other.

[3] Hebrews 1:1-3 “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe”.

[4] “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James. Also note the works of Joseph Campbell.

[5] “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col 1:18-20).