About Atheists. By a Christian. And Surprisingly Readable.

Well, this doesn’t happen often.

Christian writer John Shore has posted a very atheist-positive article. After many non-religious people commented on his last piece, he decided to write a response — to Christians.

It also turns out that atheists — or the many from whom I heard, anyway — care just as much as we Christians do about loving and doing right by others.

Curse the atheists! Why couldn’t they be the craven sensory-hounds they’re supposed to be? Must they reject God, and be intelligent and sensitive?

Anyway, they got me thinking. (Another reason not to like them.)

Man, he’s sounding like P.Z. in Bizarro World.

It’s amazing how he explains the typical atheist mindset so clearly:

We Christians want the atheists to come over to our side of the fence — to join us, to become one of us. They would much prefer it if we would quit wanting that, and leave them be. They would naturally prefer it if we could actually respect them for, say, their intellectual (not to mention moral) integrity — but they aren’t exactly holding their breath waiting for that to happen. Because they know that Christians believe atheists to be at best lost, and at worst damned.

And let’s face it: If you know the best someone can think about you is that you’re lost, you’re hardly inclined to, say, invite that person to your birthday party. Ever.

One more excerpt:

We need to listen to the atheists because … well, because we never do. We try to listen to them, but we fail. And we fail because while we’re listening to them, we’re secretly thinking how they really, really need to become Christian.

So I say: Let’s every once in a while put aside our Christian Agenda (none of us are thinking that we don’t have one too, right?), and just listen to atheists. Let’s just hear what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and why they’re saying and thinking whatever they are.

Let’s actually respect them. Why not? How could such a thing possibly hurt us?

Who knows? If we listen to the atheists long enough, isn’t it just possible that we might actually learn something from them?

Umm… thank you. I agree. I think. (Am I allowed to say that?)

Shore loses me in one place, though:

I could no sooner imagine what it would be like inhabiting a consciousness devoid of the constant awareness of God than I could what it would be like to be a … Venusian cannibal.

Right? I have no idea what it’s like to be a cannibal from Venus.

Be pretty lonely, I’d guess. Or pretty full.

Point is: Mystery. Can’t imagine it. Just like I can’t imagine what it would be like to be an atheist. Even before I was a Christian — for just about every second of my waking life, in fact — I was intensely aware of what to me was the fact of God. It’s never even occurred to me there isn’t a God.

Atheists, of course (and insofar as such generalizations have merit), can’t imagine that there is a God. (Well, of course they can imagine there’s a God. They just can’t imagine why anyone would give themselves over to what to them is so obviously a fantasy.)

I actually agree with that last bit (and dismiss his sarcasm); atheists can imagine life with God. Most of us believed in one before the spell broke.

But Shore really doesn’t know what it’s like to be an atheist? He’s kidding, right? It’s such an easy thing to respond to… Of course he knows what it’s like to be an atheist. He is an atheist when it comes to Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He just can’t imagine life without his God. Atheists just dismiss the God(s) others believe in and move on with their lives.

Anyway, if you like the article, let him know! It’d be nice to see more Christians saying such things.

(Thanks to Ben for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism, Crosswalk, Jesus, Christian[/tags]

  • Maria

    Nice to see an article like this!

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    But Shore really doesn’t know what it’s like to be an atheist? He’s kidding, right? It’s such an easy thing to respond to… Of course he knows what it’s like to be an atheist. He is an atheist when it comes to Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He just can’t imagine life without his God. Atheists just dismiss the God(s) others believe in and move on with their lives.

    No, it’s not the same thing. Zeus, Flying Spaghetti Monster, God… it’s all just different names for the same experience of the divine. We might not always know what to call it, but there are many of us who share his experience of the “fact of God”.Experientially and existentially speaking there is a big difference between disagreeing about what exactly the divine is like (i.e. all your different types of gods) and not experiencing the divine at all, period.

  • Ben

    I actually agree with that last bit (and dismiss his sarcasm); atheists can imagine life with God. Most of us believed in one before the spell broke.

    Some of us can’t. I don’t understand how theists believe in God and never have; I can’t recall ever being convinced myself. My ability to empathize or my imagination cannot stretch far enough to understand.

  • HappyNat

    Great article. I agree with John Shore . . .Christian music sucks. :)

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    No, it’s not the same thing. Zeus, Flying Spaghetti Monster, God… it’s all just different names for the same experience of the divine.

    You’re getting ahead of yourself Mike C. What is this “divine” you speak of? “Divine” is a Humpty-Dumpty word- it means whatever the speaker wants it to mean. If Zeus, the Judeochristoslamic God (both mythical figures) and the Flying Spaghetti Monster (indisputably a fictional character) are manifestations of the divine, is Tom Swayer also a manifestation of the divine? For that matter, am I? And if we go so far as to open “the divine” up to all comers, doesn’t it lose its meaning? We’ve now moved into pantheism- if everything is divine, then being divine isn’t particularly interesting anymore.

    So, before we can start running around and saying “x is just another name for the divine”- define the divine. How would I recognize something “divine” versus something “mundane”?

  • Vincent

    Of course he knows what it’s like to be an atheist. He is an atheist when it comes to Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    This past weekend I manned a booth for the United Secularists at a local Folk Festival. I got into a long discussion with a rabbid anti-atheist. She kept yelling about Hitler and Stalin and how atheists are trying to force our non-theistic agenda on everyone else etc. I responded by staying calm, listening to her, and asking her calmly for specific examples. Here’s where I think I made headway:
    She spouted about how we can’t prove god doesn’t exist and I said “well, yes, at some point that’s true, but I don’t believe god exists. The same is true about leprechauns and unicorns.”
    She said “Aha! See, you can’t even prove those don’t exist!”
    And I replied “no, I can’t, but do you believe they exist?”
    At that point she paused and I swear I could hear the gears turning in her head. I think she finally got it.

  • monkeymind

    is Tom Swayer also a manifestation of the divine? For that matter, am I?

    Many would say yes.

    Gerard Manley Hopkins:
    For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
    Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
    To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

    So, before we can start running around and saying “x is just another name for the divine”- define the divine. How would I recognize something “divine” versus something “mundane”?

    You have to look sideways.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    @monkeymind :
    I appreciate your non-answer. “You have to look sideways” is meaningless. You obviously intended it metaphorically, but the metaphor is without context. Sideways relative to what?

    You seem to be of the school that “everything is divine”, which is pantheism. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it renders “divine” meaningless.

    Language can be an extremely precise tool, when wielded carefully. I would appreciate it if you used language to clarify and not obfuscate.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    hey t3k:

    I agree with monkeymind, all of those things are (or can be) experiences of the divine. This is not necessarily pantheism however. In Christian theology there is a concept called the “imago dei” or image of God, which is the idea that all created things reflect God’s character and thoughts without actually being God themselves (in much the same way as a work of art reflects the artists character and thoughts without actually being the artist).

    But at any rate, that’s sort of irrelevant to my point (and Shore’s point too I believe). We weren’t talking about specific definitions of the divine, just that existential experience of it. For those who have experienced it (which I’m sure includes many atheists) you know what it’s like. If you haven’t, then it will be hard to describe to you. We can debate over where that experience comes from and what it means, but I think Shore’s point was simply that you’ve either had it or you haven’t. Some theists like Shore can’t imagine not having it, and some atheists like Ben apparently can’t imagine having it. I don’t think this experience is the only criterion for belief in the divine (certainly plenty of believers have never experienced it, and many atheists have) but it helps, and it does serve as one reason to posit the possible existence of God.

  • monkeymind

    Fr. Hopkins wasnt exactly a pantheist, BTW

    What do you mean by “meaningless”? What is meaningless about experiencing the divine (or signifigance, meaning beauty, whatever you want to call it) in everyday things? What is meaningless about entertaining the possibility that any space can be sacred space?

    Thich Nhat Hahn says, ““The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    Some theists like Shore can’t imagine not having it, and some atheists like Ben apparently can’t imagine having it.

    Okay, now we’re on the same page. I know the feeling of which you speak- but it has never been connected with the “divine” in my mind. That’s just day-to-day life. But there’s a huge gap from “numena” (to use Sagan’s term for the sensation) to god. And again from there to a specific interpretation of god.

    I think the sensation is more common than you may think. I would imagine it is nearly universal. For me, it is persistent and prevalent. I don’t think I’m especially gifted in this area.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    I agree, I think the sensation of the numena (which Sagan got from Kant), is very prevalent… which in fact is part of why I think such experiences do point to the existence of God (not as the only possible explanation for them of course, but as one possible explanation). If God really did create all of us with an ability to sense his reality, then these kind of experiences are exactly what we should expect to find in the vast majority of humanity.

    As St. Augustine said in his Confessions, “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Or as the writer of Ecclesiastes said “God has set eternity in the hearts of men, though they cannot fathom what he has done from beginning to end.”

    Of course, other interpretations are possible and I respect that atheists see somewhat other in such experiences.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    @monkeymind:
    Well, one could argue that experiencing it everywhere demeans the experience- but I was misapprehending you. I thought were discussing the divine nature of things, not the “experience of the divine”.

    These are two very different things. Pardon my confusion.

    That said- I don’t think the “experience of the divine” is uncommon or particularly special. It’s a fact of being alive.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    If God really did create all of us with an ability to sense his reality, then these kind of experiences are exactly what we should expect to find in the vast majority of humanity.

    That’s a faulty chain of logic- you’re assuming your conclusion. Basically, you’re saying: p -> q, q, ergo p. This is not valid reasoning. If the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, we’d expect to see midgets. Midgets exist, therefore the FSM must exist.

    I think the connection forms from acculturation. The feeling of numena is inexplicable at first, and if you’re raised in an environment that ascribes the inexplicable to spiritual forces your own sensations seem to belong in that context.

    I was raised in such an environment, but for whatever reason, those things never properly took hold. Even when I was less than skeptical about spiritual forces(I was a nutbag occultist at one point), that arose from solipsism, not a positive belief in spiritual things.

  • monkeymind

    t3k you say,

    I don’t think the “experience of the divine” is uncommon or particularly special. It’s a fact of being alive.

    The feeling is perhaps universal, but acting on this insight seems to be pretty rare, or else it wouldn’t be so common to find humans treating each other and their surroundings like crap.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    The feeling is perhaps universal, but acting on this insight seems to be pretty rare, or else it wouldn’t be so common to find humans treating each other and their surroundings like crap.

    Insights or no- life ain’t fair, and it never will be. All the enlightenment in the world doesn’t put food on the table, and some times the only way to do that is to do “bad” things. Thems the breaks.

    Besides, having an awareness of the world around you doesn’t automatically translate into being a nice person. Evolution doesn’t select for nice people, and we have a long genetic heritage of being Not Nice.

  • Karen

    I like Shore’s graciousness and his conclusions and will let him know and thank him over at his site.

    However, when he suggests:

    Let’s actually respect them. Why not? How could such a thing possibly hurt us?

    Who knows? If we listen to the atheists long enough, isn’t it just possible that we might actually learn something from them?

    He has to discount the extensive bible verses about how awful, misguided, ignorant and malicious are non-believers. I’m all for ignoring bad parts of the bible – he won’t get any argument from me here – but a lot of bible literalists simply won’t go along with his suggestions, I can predict that.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    He has to discount the extensive bible verses about how awful, misguided, ignorant and malicious are non-believers.

    There’s a long tradition of cherry picking from the Bible. It forces you to, with its contradictions and historical revisions (and revisionism).

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    Besides, having an awareness of the world around you doesn’t automatically translate into being a nice person. Evolution doesn’t select for nice people, and we have a long genetic heritage of being Not Nice.

    I think a lot of the atheists here would probably disagree with you on this… at least, many of them have pointed out to me in the past that biological Darwinism doesn’t necessarily imply or support Social Darwinism. (They’ve explained to me why this assumption is based on outdated interpretations of evolutionary theory.) But hey, you’re free to disagree with them. I won’t bother taking up their arguments for them, but if Siamang or Richard Wade want to weigh in on this for me, that’d be cool.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    many of them have pointed out to me in the past that biological Darwinism doesn’t necessarily imply or support Social Darwinism

    This isn’t Social Darwinism.

    I stated that there is no evolutionary selection pressure towards “being nice”- which I don’t think they’d disagree with me on. At most, it’s a bit of a nonsequiter- akin to saying “eating that hamburger has no effect on your car’s gas mileage.”

    But the point I was making is that there is no natural force that requires that we be nice. In fact, the contexts where being nice are good for you are few and far between. I would argue that one of the primary purposes for civilization is to increase the number of situations that reward “nice” behavior and punish “not nice” behavior. But now we’re getting really far afield.

    A sense of numena has no impact on whether you behave in a “nice” or “not nice” fashion.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    If God really did create all of us with an ability to sense his reality, then these kind of experiences are exactly what we should expect to find in the vast majority of humanity.

    That’s a faulty chain of logic- you’re assuming your conclusion. Basically, you’re saying: p -> q, q, ergo p. This is not valid reasoning. If the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, we’d expect to see midgets. Midgets exist, therefore the FSM must exist.

    Not faulty logic. More akin to testing a scientific hypothesis. We have the data (i.e. noumenal experiences), and a hypothesis to explain the data (a noumenal being, i.e. God, has designed us in such a way that we might perceive her through such experiences), and a testable prediction based on this hypothesis (that if the hypothesis is true, then we would expect most people in the world, no matter their religion or lack thereof, to have such experiences on occasion). Because we find that this prediction proves true, it becomes supporting (though certainly not conclusive) evidence for the truth of the hypothesis.

    Of course, any competing hypothesis that doesn’t posit the existence of a God would have to likewise account for this data (both the existence of noumenal experiences and their near universality among the human race). As I understand it, various hypotheses like the “God gene” are attempts at an alternative hypothesis. Personally I don’t find them very convincing (actually I think they sort of beg the question), but they’re decent attempts nonetheless.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    I stated that there is no evolutionary selection pressure towards “being nice”- which I don’t think they’d disagree with me on.

    Actually, I think they might (though I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth). The argument that I’ve heard is that human beings have evolved as fundamentally social creatures, and that this sociability is key to our survival. Since being “nice”, as you put it, is crucial to social harmony, one could very well argue that we have evolved in such a way as to make “niceness” a survival trait.

    I know Dawkins and other gene-centric neodarwinists might disagree, but it’s an argument that makes sense to me.

  • monkeymind

    I stated that there is no evolutionary selection pressure towards “being nice”-

    I think you’re likely to get lots of disagreement on that one from evolutionary biologists. Oxytocin can be your friend! :-)

    A sense of numena has no impact on whether you behave in a “nice” or “not nice” fashion

    We’re disagreeing then on the definition or implication of finding the divine in all things. I would view it as a way of seeing and acting, rather than just a feeling that comes and goes. Certainly teachers like Jesus and Buddha saw this insight as transformative.

  • Vincent

    Mike C said,

    I agree, I think the sensation of the numena (which Sagan got from Kant), is very prevalent… which in fact is part of why I think such experiences do point to the existence of God (not as the only possible explanation for them of course, but as one possible explanation). If God really did create all of us with an ability to sense his reality, then these kind of experiences are exactly what we should expect to find in the vast majority of humanity.

    This is circular logic, because god is the hypothesis for why we have such experiences, but god is defined by such experiences. If we did not have such experiences you would equally say that given a god with those properties we would not expect to have such experiences, we don’t, therefore god.

    I’ll try to rephrase:
    We experience something and say because of this experience there must be a god.
    How do we know it is proof of god?
    Because a god who is like this (i.e. who can be seen in these experiences) would make himself visible thus.
    Experience.
    God?
    If God, then Experience.
    Experience, therefore God.

  • Vincent

    For those who have experienced it (which I’m sure includes many atheists) you know what it’s like. If you haven’t, then it will be hard to describe to you. We can debate over where that experience comes from and what it means, but I think Shore’s point was simply that you’ve either had it or you haven’t. Some theists like Shore can’t imagine not having it, and some atheists like Ben apparently can’t imagine having it.

    I hope you see the inconsistency in this statement. You used the caution word “some” so perhaps you do.
    Anyway, since you concede that both theists and atheists have felt it, and there are both theists and atheists who have not felt it, then whether an individual can imagine life with or without it is irrelevant.
    Clearly you have 2 groups of people: those with the experience and those without. Some in each group can imagine what it’s like living in the other group, others (like Shore) can’t.
    Shore says he can’t imagine being in the other group, but he puts all atheists in that group.
    You supported Shore’s conclusion while at the same time denying his premise.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    Since being “nice”, as you put it, is crucial to social harmony,

    That’s what I said. Just more obliquely. Let’s drop that thread.

    any competing hypothesis that doesn’t posit the existence of a God would have to likewise account for this data…As I understand it, various hypotheses like the “God gene” are attempts at an alternative hypothesis.

    I think we’re getting unclear. “Any competing hypothesis…”- competing against what? I assume you mean “any competing hypothesis seeking to explain numena“. Obviously, then, they must account for the phenomena they seek to explain- that goes without saying.

    But any hypothesis claiming there is no god isn’t required to say anything about that phenomenon. There are many things that could cause it. Occam’s razor would lead us to take the simplest- my vote is for the complexity of the human brain. We have the capacity to recurse and reflect in a fashion that no other organism demonstrates. I think it very likely that such activities are sufficient to explain the sensation.

    I would view it as a way of seeing and acting, rather than just a feeling that comes and goes.

    You’re moving the bar. I have, the entire time, been talking about the “sense” of numena. The awareness of the divine. You proposed that such an awareness would lead to certain actions- I disagree. The awareness doesn’t imply action.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    This is circular logic, because god is the hypothesis for why we have such experiences, but god is defined by such experiences. If we did not have such experiences you would equally say that given a god with those properties we would not expect to have such experiences, we don’t, therefore god.

    Vincent, if our noumenal experiences were the only reason out there to posit God’s existence (and his definition) then you might be correct about circular reasoning. But of course, they are not. The existence and definition of God derives from more than just the sense of the noumenal, though of course this sense influences it.

    Though you’re right, perhaps I should have been more specific about my hypothesis. The existence of noumenal experiences leads to a hypothesis of a God who wants us to be able to perceive her (and perhaps even interact with her) in some way. If such experiences did not exist then perhaps there would be other reasons to posit God’s existence (e.g. the cosmological or teleological arguments perhaps) but I suspect our hypothesis about God might in fact be rather different. Perhaps we’d posit a more detached, deistic God who doesn’t care whether we perceive her or not (indeed, exactly the kind of God Aristotle suggested when he formulated these arguments).

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    You supported Shore’s conclusion while at the same time denying his premise.

    Terribly sorry Vincent but I’m afraid you’ve lost me.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    “Any competing hypothesis…”- competing against what? I assume you mean “any competing hypothesis seeking to explain numena“. Obviously, then, they must account for the phenomena they seek to explain- that goes without saying.

    Yes, quite right, that’s what I meant. And that’s what we’ve been talking about this whole time, isn’t it? For my side of it at least, I’ve not been talking about the existence or non-existence of God (why do atheists assume every discussion must come back to that? ;) ), but about an explanation for these noumenal experiences that many people interpret as experiences of God.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    why do atheists assume every discussion must come back to that?

    Well, when people state a tautology, you try and give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they meant something else.

    many people interpret as experiences of God.

    And therein arises the interesting question. If someone were raised outside of a culture that held no deistic beliefs- would they interpret the experience that way? No such culture exists- and with well documented cross pollutions between cultures historically, the idea only needed to arise once for us to convincingly claim that it spread through cultures like a virus.

    There are a great many cognitive questions that could be investigated along these lines.

    Again, my personal thought is that numena arises from reflection/recursion. Belief in god, on the other hand, I believe arises from having a brain wired to make intentional assumptions (ie. assuming that objects in your environment have an intention, like the thinking the lion intends to eat you). Which means that belief in deities would be universal among most mammals- although obviously very different in nature from what we experience.

  • Vincent

    Mike C said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    You supported Shore’s conclusion while at the same time denying his premise.

    Terribly sorry Vincent but I’m afraid you’ve lost me.

    Sorry, Mike. I wasn’t clear. I think that’s because we’ve gotten far from the original issue.
    Hemant scoffed at the idea that Shore can’t imagine what it’s like to lack a belief in god.
    Hemant posited that it’s just like not believing in Zeus.
    You disagreed based on the subjective experience of the existence of god (numena?).

    Shore’s premise: atheists don’t experience the divine.
    Shore’s conclusion: a theist cannot imagine life without the experience of the divine, therefore a theist cannot imagine the atheist perspective.

    Your hypothesis as I read it (and you credited Shore with having the same) was that Zeus was just someone else’s name for the divine he experienced, and therefore that what Shore said was that he could not imagine life without that feeling.
    But then you said lots of people, theistic and atheistic, go through life without that feeling, and that lots of people, theistic and atheistic, have that feeling.
    Shore’s premise was that atheists don’t have that feeling and thus he could not imagine being an atheist.
    You agreed with his conclusion that imagining being an atheist required you to imagine life without that feeling, but denied the premise because you said some atheists do have that feeling.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    hmm, okay, thanks for clarifying Vincent. I think I understand now. I think the best I can do is to say that I’m not sure exactly what Shore thinks, but I can tell you what I think. What I would say is that it is very difficult for theists who have had this experience of the noumenal to understand atheists who claim to never have had it (I confess that I too can’t imagine what that would be like). However, I suppose theists who have had such experiences could probably understand atheists who have had similar experiences but have reinterpreted them in some way.

    Anyhow, as you’ve unpacked Shore’s meaning (assuming that you’ve interpreted him correctly) it seems that I probably do disagree with his opening premise after all; or rather, I’d want to qualify it. Rather than saying “atheists don’t experience the divine” (meaning all atheists), I’d say “some atheists don’t experience the divine”. With that qualification I would then agree with the conclusion that some theists (those who have experienced the divine) cannot imagine the perspective of these particular atheists.

    Of course, that’s probably too many qualifications and it just becomes a true but rather trivial statement. So I guess we might as well drop it.

    (Pfew… I think I need to go back and review my symbolic logic textbooks now. :roll: )

  • http://starseyer.blogspot.com Mikel

    Actually, I think they might (though I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth). The argument that I’ve heard is that human beings have evolved as fundamentally social creatures, and that this sociability is key to our survival. Since being “nice”, as you put it, is crucial to social harmony, one could very well argue that we have evolved in such a way as to make “niceness” a survival trait.

    I know Dawkins and other gene-centric neodarwinists might disagree, but it’s an argument that makes sense to me.

    Hummm…actually Dawkins makes a good case that niceness (he calls it altruism in the book) can be selected by natural selection as part of an “evolutionary stable strategy” in The Selfish Gene. For reasons having to do with the fact that we all have a better chance of survival if we can depend on one another, and also if we can avoid depending on cheaters.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    Hummm…actually Dawkins makes a good case that niceness (he calls it altruism in the book) can be selected by natural selection as part of an “evolutionary stable strategy”

    I’m not sure I’d agree. Cooper’s Evolution of Cooperation makes a great game theoretic argument. It really depends on how much you think behavior is modeled by evolutionary forces.

  • http://www.templewhore.blogspot.com Slut

    I can completely understand his inability not to understand the atheist POV. When I was a theist, I could not imagine it at all either. I thought atheists were missing something, that they were cold and closed off to the experience of god.

    Now that I realize that entire experience was the product of pure imagination, it’s equally impossible to imagine going back or reaquiring that delusional thinking.

  • PrimateIR

    My mouth hangs agape at his honesty. Great post Hermant.

    Now that I realize that entire experience was the product of pure imagination, it’s equally impossible to imagine going back or reaquiring that delusional thinking.

    Discovering Santa….and I would return to the days of belief if I could.

  • Pingback: +Z’ev » Blog Archive » Thursday (Proper 19 Year 1)

  • Vincent

    I guess Shore would have been better off saying he can’t remember what it was like before he felt that godish feeling or ascribing it to anything other than god. Then it’s just a limit on his own memory or imagination.

  • http://www.popcorngallery.blogspot.com Max

    I never believed in God–even as a kid. But I still think that it’s understandable for a believer to not be able to imagine a world without a creator. I’m sure he COULD imagine a world in which particular details of his religion are incorrect, but that is different than feeling the presence of a higher power. I sometimes even get that sense although I know choose to base my life on testable facts rather than gut feelings.

  • James

    Amazing how some fundamentalist was able to fool all of these people into discussing Christianity.


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