A Personal Relationship With Reality

A Personal Relationship With Reality February 5, 2013

Someone I am connected with on Facebook shared this recently:

When I saw the image, I at once had two reactions.

The first was to think, yes, of course, the idea that one is the focus of the universe and everything revolves around you is a problematic one, which has more to do with modern individualism than Christianity itself. And our awareness about the size of the universe helpfully challenges this view of ourselves as the center of cosmic attention.

On the other hand, I’ve heard people who self-identify as atheists talk about their own worldview as having “a personal relationship with reality.” And depending on what sort of language one is comfortable using about the immense universe, and anything even greater that it may be a part of, that could well be the same thing as a personal relationship with God – even if not what Evangelicals mean by that phrase, which is itself, as most people know, a relatively recent appearance in the history of Christianity.

Both are metaphors. And both can give expression to something meaningful. Would you agree?

Of related interest, IO9 had a piece about Lee Smolin’s evolutionary view of universes.

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  • Scott F

    The question is not the nature of your relationship with reality/God but that of its/His relationship with you.

  • I’m an atheist, but I’m unhappy with that first image. I think C. S. Lewis answered its argument well in “Miracles”:

    “For no man was, I suppose, ever so mad as to think that man, or all creation, filled the Divine Mind; if we are a small thing to space and time, space and time are a much smaller thing to God.”

  • When I use the phrase, “I have a personal relationship with reality”, you may take note of the slight edge of sarcasm in my voice.

  • BrotherRog

    IMO, it’s a non-issue as — in the Greek, John 3:16 says — “For God so loved the “kosmos” (the entire created order), that he gave his only begotten son….”

  • Pseudonym

    Yes, religion is parochial. But you know what? So is art, so is music, so is history, so is linguistics… hell, so is biology, if you want to get technical.

    You have heard it said in the past that you are insignificant in the face of the vastness of the universe. Very truly I say to you: I’m part of the universe, and you matter to me.