Monday, May 28, 2012

Spiritual Atheism

The vast majority here on earth believe in God, or in a number of Gods. Those who believe that there is only one God are not unanimous over who he is, or how he is. They don’t agree on how he wants us to live and where he is hiding. Most people agree, though, that he is a man.

Some believe that he cares about all people and some believe that he only cares about their own particular group. Some believe that he resides somewhere far away, indifferent to our suffering and some believe that he is here with us somehow and hear our prayers. Millions of people have died through history in horrific religious wars and conflicts about the different perceptions of him and his demands on us. And these conflicts are still ongoing.

Many people say that they believe in God but they don’t. They simply say what they believe they should say. They follow the conventions in order not to differ from their group. Nevertheless, they eagerly go to war to defend the God they pretend to believe in.

One survey found that less than 3 % of all people here on earth are atheists. However, religious people can also be atheists. Some Buddhists and Taoists for example do not believe in any Gods, and some atheists pray to a God they don’t believe in, secretly.

Those who believe in God or a bunch of Gods have also many other beliefs that can’t be found in their original religious scriptures. Some believe that greed and competition are good. They believe that nothing is more important than to make a lot of money. Some are racists; some are right-wingers. Also atheists and scientists have beliefs. Everyone has beliefs.

Where do all these different beliefs and ideas come from? Do we simply create them in our heads? Are they just fantasies?


Atheism is not necessarily a belief. Maybe you don’t care about Gods, in the same way as you don’t care about gnomes or fairies. Maybe your mind is busy with something else. This way of looking at things is sometimes called weak atheism. You don’t care about trying to prove that there are no gnomes or ghosts or gods.

I don’t believe in God and I am not religious. How can a good God let children die in gruesome diseases and starvation? It doesn’t make sense. This position is called strong atheism. To me are beliefs in Gods, ghosts and spirits superstition. However, I understand that I don’t understand almost anything about how life and the universe work. Life is a mystery to me, but this doesn’t make me an agnostic.

Those who say, “Maybe there is a God, maybe there isn’t, I don’t know.” are called agnostics. Well, maybe there really are gnomes and trolls in the woods, after all. Maybe there really are ghosts in old castles. What do I know? I can’t prove that ghosts and gnomes don’t exist. Agnosticism is a meaningless concept.

Moreover, I don’t believe in reincarnation. The belief in reincarnation is also a mental construct, as I see it. Those who have this belief have no memories from past lives. They base their beliefs on hearsay, imagination and speculations. The idea that people suffer in this life to atone for crimes in past lifetimes is a weird idea. If you suffer from a severe illness, it is not because a God planned this misery for you or because you have committed crimes in former lives.

However, I have experienced some very strange synchronicities in my life. Many other people that seem reliable can also tell stories about very strange coincidences. These experiences and stories are proof to me that there is also a mystic dimension.

I don’t have a name for the way I look at things. I am an atheist, yes, and I dislike claims and speculations that there are no evidence for. At least some kind of personal experience behind a claim is important to me if I am to listen. Almost all spiritual explanations I come across on the internet, in books or in the real world seem more or less wacky to me. Nonetheless, there is a mystic dimension. I know, because I have experiences of it.

It is possible that I have fooled myself. I know perfectly well how easy it is to fool oneself. I have tons of experiences of self-deception, but still, I would lie if I said that the mystic dimension is just an illusion.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Grand Design

... common sense is based upon everyday experience, not upon the universe as it is revealed through the marvels of technologies such as those that allow us to gaze deep into the atom or back to the early universe. 

In the history of science, we have discovered a sequence of better and better theories and models, from Plato to the classical theory of Newton to modern quantum theories. It is natural to ask: Will this sequence eventually reach an end point, an ultimate theory of the universe… or will we continue forever finding better theories…? We do not yet have a definitive answer to this question, but we now have a candidate for the ultimate theory of everything… called M-theory.

M-theory is not a theory in the usual sense. It is a whole family of different theories, each of which is a good description of observations only in some range of physical observations. 

The different theories in the M-theory family may look very different, but they can all be regarded as aspects the same underlying theory. They are versions of the theory that are applicable only in limited ranges. 

The quantum model of nature encompasses principles that contradict not only our everyday experience but our intuitive concept of reality. Those who find those principles weird or difficult to believe are in good company, the company of great physicists such as Einstein and Feynman… In fact, Feynman once wrote, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”

Regarding the laws that govern the universe, what we can say is this: There seems to be no single model or theory that can describe every aspect of the universe. 

From "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

Physicists can‘t accept the idea that there is also a spiritual dimension, so they leave out this aspect from their theory constructions. They ignore this piece of the puzzle. I think that this is a shortcoming. There is a spiritual dimension and this dimension has nothing to do with religion.

The best evidence I know of, that a spiritual dimension actually exist, that it is not just a fantasy, is the strange phenomenon called synchronicity.

I think I can safely say that nobody understands life.

See “On meaningful coincidences” August 3 2008 in this blogg.