Suffering from conceptual confusion and metaphysical mental cramps, Deepak Chopra argues for an empty god in a vain attempt to preserve the superstitions of the theist.
Promoting his new book, The Future of God, Chopra, writing for Huffington Post, argues that god makes more sense than atheism. He is wrong. In fact, properly understood, many of Chopra’s assertions serve as arguments for atheism and against theism.
What is god?
Chopra says: “God is a journey in consciousness.” But wait, there’s more. Chopra claims: “The conjunction of the individual mind with the source of consciousness is where God lives.”
So, according to Chopra, God is “a journey in consciousness” living at the “conjunction of the individual mind with the source of consciousness.”
Chopra’s notion of god is confusing, to say the least. Yet one thing is certain, Chopra’s god is radically different than what most people mean by “god.” Chopra’s god is not the God of Abraham. In fact, Chopra’s conception of god technically constitutes blasphemy for Christians, Muslims and Jews.
For Chopra, god is “an impersonal God.” Chopra notes: “God can be approached without resorting to the cultural mythology of a humanized Father and Mother watching over us from Heaven.”
In short, Chopra’s New Age god is antithetical to Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachings, and is something very different than what most people mean when they talk about god.
To his credit, Chopra acknowledges that atheists and other freethinkers are correct in their critique of organized religion:
“Atheists have a point when they accuse organized religion of a litany of gross failings, including crusades, jihads, and the Inquisition.”
In fact, Chopra is eager to distinguish between his conception of god and the God of Abraham and other more traditional deities. So again we must ask: What does Chopra mean by “god”?
Argument from Quantum Physics
Making his case, Chopra claims his conception of god draws upon “a rich tradition, both East and West, of an impersonal God.”
“God is the source of consciousness and all that we associate with consciousness: self-awareness, intelligence, creativity, evolution, etc.”
Chopra builds his “impersonal God” on the slippery foundation of quantum physics. Positing a radical subjectivity that borders on solipsism, Chopra deploys his unique brand of “quantum mysticism” to reject a common sense understanding view of the world he labels as “naive realism.”
“Before we can be completely sure of any fact, science must account for something more basic: How do we know the world? What is the connection between objectivity and subjectivity? What is consciousness to begin with?”
The claim is problematic for multiple reasons, the most obvious being that we can be, and indeed are certain, about a great many facts concerning the world, without accounting for the profound epistemological and metaphysical questions raised by Chopra.
We know that most dogs have four legs, that fire is hot and ice is cold, that the Earth is shaped like a globe and orbits the sun, and a whole host of other trivial and not so trivial facts about the world. We know these facts without the complete epistemological and metaphysical account of said world required by Chopra.
Perhaps even more problematic is to assume science can, or even should, address such such profound questions of metaphysics and epistemology.
Yet Chopra needs to throw any common sense understanding of the world out the window in order to make room for his ‘science based’ quantum mysticism. Chopra proclaims:
“… quantum physics has totally dismantled the validity of the five senses when it comes to understanding the ‘real’ reality that defies not just our eyes and ears but our common sense ….”
And from this assertion Chopra takes huge and unwarranted leaps in logic to reinvent god, a god “found inside our own consciousness, not ‘out there’ in a supernatural realm.”
Once common sense is thrown out the window to make room for quantum mysticism, anything follows.
Yet if Chopra’s god is not “out there” in a “supernatural realm” but instead is a “journey” found “inside our own consciousness” one is left with a profoundly unsatisfying account of god; an account of god that would lead a reasonable person to assume that god is synonymous with human consciousness.
And if this is the case, if god is synonymous with human consciousness, than for all intents and purposes the atheist wins the argument, and god is nought but a poetic fiction.