When my mind and heart joined forces to break away from a somewhat “scientific” materialistic version of fundamentalist Christianity (in the ever-evolving SDA Church as it was in Southern California in 2001), I kept my “friendship” with a Supreme Being intact by praying a lot.
We tend to hang on to certain subjectively tested assumptions that are difficult to test objectively in a blinded, controlled way.
Instead of rejecting God, I rejected the assumption of mainstream Christianity that the Bible is infallible, lacks contradictions when correctly understood with God’s help, and is the primary (if not the exclusive) written communication from the Divine Source to humanity.
But I didn’t throw out the ancient Judeo-Christian writings or any other ancient or modern spiritual writings as if they were of no value. I think they’re all vital to our spiritual evolution and survival as a species. Binary thinking is the human error that would have us toss them out.
I’ve seen a few good people leave the SDA church and hang on to their version of God, and also hang on to their assumption that the Bible is essentially infallible when properly interpreted. These folk tend to join another fundamentalist Christian Church, retain their sense of superior religious enlightenment, and continue to attempt to “prove” that their new beliefs are right based upon their new understanding of the “infallible” Bible.
I’ve also seen a few people leave the SDA church and reject the existence of a personal Supreme Being as well as the Bible. These folk, (n=3), may continue an interest in spiritual things and possibly join a non-Christian religious belief system. Alternatively, they may reject all spiritual things and fall back upon “scientific” materialism (the anti-spiritual, pseudo-scientific, untestable assumption that the universe and everything beyond it consists of mindless, random matter and energy).
Everyone tends to see their own worldview, new or old, as the most reasonable and accurate one. Fortunately some can see this human tendency and question its influence on their own thinking.
As you may recall, I’m often wrong about important things.
Despite this glaring fallibility, it seems clear to me that “scientific” materialism is not only anti-scientific and anti-spiritual, it’s also toxic to humanity because it creates a meaningless, purposeless worldview that seems to cause clinical depression and leads people like Putin into cruel, amoral behaviors that can be justified by the materialist belief that free will is a false illusion and morality doesn’t exist except in a flexible, user-friendly way.
Lately I’ve noticed a growing number of highly educated people associated with the UFO community leaving “scientific” materialism in a way that reminds me of how I left Christian fundamentalism while holding on to my most treasured assumption.
My most treasured assumption was and is my sense of friendship with an intelligent, benevolent, loving Supreme Being, whose personal characteristics still seem to me to be best reflected in many (but not all) of the saying attributed to Jesus in the Bible.
Similarly, some people who leave “scientific” materialism hold on to their most precious assumption: that the Universe is impersonal. I can’t fault them for doing the same sort of thing I did. But let’s at least clarify it a bit.
Those who exit materialism may reject ultimate universal randomness, they may come to believe that there’s something more to reality than matter and energy, they may come to believe that the Universe is a great supercomputer or perhaps the physical brain of a huge organism inside which we are its tiny separate dissociated egos, or they may even come to believe in a higher Spirit as Einstein said…
“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some Spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man.” – Albert Einstein
But is a Spirit personal? Not necessarily.
It seems to me that many who “leave” materialism don’t leave a certain debilitating aspect of it.
They hold on to the untestable assumption that, one way or another, the higher “seemingly intelligent” force, or computer, or brain, or Spirit cannot possibly be personal to humans. That is, prayer cannot really be the process of talking to a loving Friend with the highest personal morality, because the Supreme Force cannot possibly have anything to do with human morality. It must be seen as either too smart, too finite and divided, too infinite, or in some other way incapable or unwilling to connect with a human being in a personal way. Even if the Source were in some sense a Person, the notion of he/she/it listening to humans individually or even collectively would be impossible. It would be like a human trying to talk with a bacteria, we’re told.
But here’s the thing. The DNA codes of Earth and possibly those of the rest of the Universe are a hyper-complex language with “codes within codes within codes” as geneticist Garry Nolan, put it. The age of the Universe (still thought to be a mere 13.8 billion years) is but a miniscule fraction of the time required for mindless, random forces (random mutation, genetic drift, and natural selection) to come up with a code for a functional protein of modest size, let alone simultaneously coming up with a protein nano-factory necessary to maintain and replicate that DNA while carrying out its other complex commands.
So, ignoring the mainstream noise to the contrary, it’s scientifically respectable now to postulate that an intelligence greater than our own had a personal role in writing the first genetic codes and constructing the first protein nano-factories of this Universe.
Certainly anyone with an open mind can see that it’s reasonable to postulate that the intelligent minds behind modern UFOs might have advanced DNA technology giving them an ability to tamper with, if not Intelligently Design new DNA code.
But taking it a step further, the first DNA codes of the Universe, together with the first intracellular nano-machines that must have been present at the same time to interpret and obey the machine language of those DNA codes, could reasonably be postulated to have come from a Source living beyond the reality we call the Universe or its space-time matrix of potential.
And it seems obvious that any Mind capable of writing DNA code would also be capable of understanding human language. So the idea that prayer is talking to a Real Friend who can literally hear you and care about your life is not the objective impossibility it’s often assumed to be by materialist “science.”
And if you explore the evidence that our Universe appears to have a number of characteristics of a holodeck-like replica of some more fundamental reality, then you might reasonably conclude that the personal monitoring of, and contact with, each person within this replica by Someone beyond it would be a likely possibility.
Naturally, I would encourage anyone leaving the “scientific” materialist faith to personally test the hypothesis that our Higher Source is a personal and loving Being, rather than impersonal and out of contact with us.
As far as I know, the only way to test this hypothesis is to pray and see if you have a sense of connecting with Someone.
If you accept consciousness as something other than a false illusion, then subjective testing is at least a reasonable approach. Some might argue it’s the only approach available even to scientists, because we must all pass any data through the lens of consciousness.
Prayer is a matter of “talking to God as to a friend,” as far as I know.
But test the hypothesis your own way and call it meditation if the word prayer doesn’t sound right. After all, I’m often wrong about important things, and testing this particular hypothesis seems extremely important because…
If enough of humanity were to discover how to talk to a Loving Supreme Being who does what’s right because it is right and respects free will because it’s the right thing to do, my gut feeling is that our species would…
eventually stop enjoying real and pretend violence on TV,
stop believing that war is inevitable,
stop electing sociopath leaders,
stop stumbling toward nuclear holocaust,
work together to end poverty without cancelling the freedoms of the non-elite,
stop polluting our bodies and the planet,
learn to survive the dangerous aspects of our technologies long enough to evolve into a loving species that could safely expand beyond Earth and be accepted into, perhaps, a larger society of mature species out in the Universe who have learned to “love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them.”
Conscious, Intelligent, Personal Love,
Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD