Christian Philosopher Michael Sudduth Converts to Vaishnava Vedanta

Bill Vallicella has posted a long letter from Sudduth on his blog, describing what has happened and how. This is not the kind of thing one sees very often, so it makes for fascinating reading.

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  • Andy

    "Krishna and his words were becoming one."

    I remember my words and me being one after smoking a fattie, back in the day.

  • Angra Mainyu

    Fascinating and puzzling as well.

    It's hard for me to understand how someone like that "thinks":

    "As before, words such as these illuminated my life, comforted me, and guided me, but this time I began to feel the presence of God through Lord Krishna himself, not merely his words. Better put, I was beginning to experience Krishna himself through his words. Krishna and his words were becoming one. And I found God directly present to me in such experiences, but present to me in such a way that I experienced both tremendous awe and reverence for God and a deep intimacy with God through my consciousness of Lord Krishna."

    How would one even feel the presence of God?

    What kind of feeling is that?

    What's "consciousness of Lord Krishna"?

    I guess if he already believes he's being watched by God, he may focus on that belief, and then feel a mixture of feelings, including awe, perhaps fear, etc.; still quite puzzling, though.

  • Steven Carr

    If Michael Sudduth had claimed he had a profound totally convincing experience that the CIA were watching him, instead of Krishna, he would now be getting the help he needs.

  • Pulse

    That sounds like a fruitful experiment. From now on, as I read testimonies of spiritual experiences such as these, I will mentally replace all references to "God" or the equivalent with "the Illuminati" in order to better understand the person's state of mind.

  • Francois Tremblay

    It's pretty incredible the contortions someone has to go through to make sense of the world using religion, isn't it?

  • Brian

    I think he should get his sensus divinitatis checked out. It sounds like it's a bit overactive.

  • Eric Sotnak

    @Angra: "It's hard for me to understand how someone like that "thinks""

    Indeed! As a general rule, I really TRY to to be as epistemically charitable as possible, but there are times when I just find myself blinking in baffled wonder.

    When I first read about this I couldn't help but wonder how much of a voluntarist component to impose on Sudduth's conversion. He really seems to be choosing to accept what look to me like 'feelings of coolness' as evidence of truth. Yet I'm generally highly suspicious of doxastic voluntarism, at least in its more simplistic forms.

  • Angra Mainyu


    Yes, I'm highly suspicious of doxastic voluntarism too.

    In fact, I think I would have even more trouble trying to wrap my head around such a choice.

    But even if it's possible to choose like that, I'm not sure what motivation a Christian would have to make such a choice, regardless of coolness.

    I mean, he was a Christian, so he probably believed that choosing to no longer be a Christian would be a course of action that would result in damnation, or at least, in losing his connection to God, and worship idols instead.

    Of course, if voluntarism is psychological possible, he might have been irrational about choosing as well.

    But I think he had those feelings as a Christian, and was convinced – for some reason – that those feelings indicated that God was communicating with him.

    In fact, he still thinks he had experienced God through reading the Bible, and calls Jesus 'Lord'.
    He still believes that the Christian god exists, etc.

    He seems to believe now that Jesus is God, and Krishna is another manifestation of him, or something like that.

    So, perhaps the change wasn't so big, in his mind: he associates those feelings with "experiencing God", and since he's had them now when studying Krishna, he came to the conclusion that God was telling him to change the "mode of worship", or something.

    But I'm just speculating; putting myself in his place is still very difficult – though I'm trying.