The trouble with atheists is that they are fighting a battle with a delusion, which is not that surprising. Atheists pride themselves on being “not stupid,” after all, and they aren’t. Atheists can see the patent absurdity of God as a violent, abusive, and controlling patriarch, and they can see the ideological web of lies that go into its construction.[1] They know it is foolish to believe in such a farce, and so they don't. They reject the absurdity and settle, most often, into a lifetime commitment to the Church of Secular Humanism, and then they die. And good for them (slow clap, clap). Secular Humanism is most certainly a step forward from the ideologically rooted dogma of church and temple. But, as a former atheist myself I would like, for the record, to say, that rejecting the nonsense of the Western Church is not the only step forward we need to takeRejecting the ecclesiastical image of God, what I like to call “Church God[2] (i.e. a God as violent, abusive, authoritarian patriarch in the sky) frees you from the ideological clutches of the Church, but it doesn’t put you in contact with the full truth. Rejecting Church God is, I would say, only the first step out of the dark forest of the dark ages.

The billion dollar question at this point is, what’s the next step? Well, the next step is to realize that despite all the lies the Church has told, despite the presence of elite ideology and nefarious intent in the spirituality of this planet, humans are not, as the song says, merely dust in the wind. We are something more. Don’t believe me? I hate to drop names, but Einstein,[3] several famous physicists,[4] not a few psychologists, and a small handful of sociologists (Edward Carpenter, for example, Hermanns, and me)[5]  have suspected (and even researched) this for quite some time. If you have only taken that first step, i.e. if you have only rejected the sanctimonious elite ideology of Church God, you might be surprised by this statement—but don’t be. Despite what polemicists like Dawkins[6] would have you believe, there has been a reasonable amount of reasonable scholarly interest in the “something more” of human spirituality.[7]

Of course, I understand that if you are an atheist you may have trouble with this. Strong feelings may be invoked in the hard atheist heart by suggestions that we take human spirituality seriously, or that some legitimate scientists have shown a genuine scholarly interest. I understand why you might have trouble because, as noted, I was an atheist once as well. Consequently, I know exactly why atheists reject the authenticity of human spirituality. They reject it for the same reasons I rejected it. They reject it because they think it is stupid, false, and delusion.[8] And it is false, and arguably stupid, particularly the abusive patriarch part. But it is not all false and it is not all stupid. Some of if it is darkly brilliant. If you ask me, Western exoteric and esoteric spirituality is a genius system of thought and behavioral control put in place to, well, control the thought and behavior of the human masses. I got a glimpse of this brilliance when examining the Western Tarot deck which, as I demonstrated in an article entitled The Sociology of Tarot, is an ideological tool of the ruling class.[9] And it is not just Western esotericism or the masonic tarot. Western ecclesiastical institutions, and perhaps Eastern “spiritual” institutions as well, are very clearly about behavioral control of the masses. But just because elite institutions are about social control, and just because some of the concepts they use to propagate their silly ideologies are wrong, doesn’t mean the whole of human spirituality is a superstition and/or elite bred farce. This is not the sum total of human spiritual experience. These are merely corruptions, interferences if you like, attacks if you will, on the authentic core of human spiritual experience. These do not represent authentic spirituality any more than a horse drawn carriage represents a modern self-driving automobile. They represent elite interference in the connection process, bald face attempts to suppress the powerful and transformative spirituality of the human physical unit, or ridiculous (but effective, I’m afraid) attempts to scare the masses into submission and nothing more.

So, if there is more to human spirituality than vapid superstition and elite machination, what is that something more? The answer to that is remarkably easy to state, but profoundly difficult to understand. I can say that human spirituality, authentic spirituality is about connecting to what I call The Fabric of Consciousness. I can say, and I have,[10] that spiritual practice is about suppressing the neurology of the brain (specifically the Default Mode Network, or bodily ego) long enough so that Consciousness can you descend into the vessel, the body. But to the uninitiated, i.e. the ones who have never had or (as is more likely) don’t remember a connection experience, these amount to little more than just words. I can say that human spirituality is about connection, but the atheist, the uninitiated, the indoctrinated, and so on, struggle to understand and accept, not because there is anything inherently difficult or particularly heretical in the ideas themselves, but because, as I have already said, the atheist is fighting a battle with a delusion. They equate the whole of human spiritualty with the vapid and ideological Church God. The atheist hears spiritual talk and they go into an intellectual/emotional freefall. They think, they assume, that to talk about spiritual things is to talk, nay proselytize, about Church God. They think that to open up about spirituality is to proclaim allegiance to the Western Church. But that’s not true. As a former atheist who is now a mystic I can tell you, Church God is a nonsense spiritual fiction. It is spiritual ideology pure and simple. I reject Church God as a valid and useful construct just as vehemently as I reject Capitalism as a sane and progressive economic system. As a mystic who is a former atheist I can tell you, I don’t want to have anything to do with Church God at all

But, as I’ve already said, the silliness of Church God and the ideological nature of ecclesiastical institutions does not necessarily invalidate other aspects of human spirituality. As someone who has explored the mystical hallways of Consciousness through connection I can tell you, there’s lots of authentic things to see and lots of fascinating cupboards and closets to explore. For example, since I’ve been looking I’ve noticed the powerful and potentially revolutionary potential of mystical experience,[11] and seen the extent to which political/economic elites will go to colonize our collective human spirituality.[12] I’ve gotten into the neurology of mystical connection[13] and even speculated about the nature of The Fabric (of Consciousness) to which we connect.[14] I would argue, based on the little bit that I’ve done, that there are some fruitful avenues of research, and valuable things to discover, when it comes to human spirituality.

Of course, I have to admit, as an atheist it wasn’t easy seeing beyond my illogical over generalizations (i.e. the assumption that Church God = Human Spirituality) and irrational superstitions. It wasn’t easy admitting there may be something more worth looking at. I was the worst of the worst of the atheists, arrogant, strident, and staunch. I used my presumed intellectual superiority to arrogantly bash the duped, deluded, and deceived believer wherever and whenever I could.  It took a massive blow to my cherished materialist world view to open me up to the possibility that my atheist worldview was wrong, even naive. It took even more to get me to a point where I’d be willing to ask some honest questions and explore with open minded curiosity. That I’m talking to you now not as a religious man (i.e. someone who believes in Church God) but as an explorer (i.e. someone who believes there is something more, and wants to find out what that is) is a major personal/ideological breakthrough. I’m cautious about stating this because I know what the materialists and atheists will think, and I know what some will say. They will think I want to talk about Church God and they will, as Peter Berger once said, dismiss it is as stupid superstition beyond the pale of respectable parties. But what can I say but this: believe me when I say, I don’t want to talk about Church God because Church God is a nonsense fiction used to control the masses. I do, however, want to talk about mystical/religious experience because, as William Stace says,[15] mystical/religious experience is "a psychological fact of which there is abundant evidence…. To deny or doubt that it exists as a psychological fact is not a reputable opinion. It is ignorance and very stupid."

What else can I say?

Endnotes

[1] Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (New York: Anchor Books, 1969), Karl Marx, "The German Ideology," The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. R. Tucker (New York: Norton, 1978).

[2] Church God is the image of God supplied not by mystics who have actually explored divine realities, but by paid employees of one of the biggest, and arguably the most evil, based on their history of violence, theft, and manipulation, corporations on this planet, the Catholic Church.

[3] William Hermanns, Einstein and the Poet (Boston: Branden Books, 1983). A.H. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (New York: Viking, 1971)., William James William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study of Human Nature (New York: Penguin, 1982). Edward. Carpenter, The Art of Creation: Essays on the Self and Its Powers (London: Georbe Allen & Unwin, 1921).,

[4]  Ken Wilber, Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists (New York: Shambhala, 2001).

[5] Anon, "Edward Carpenter: Red, Green and Gay," Socialism Today 131 (2009), Sheila Rowbotham, "In Search of Edward Carpenter," Radical America 14.4 (1980), Hermanns, Einstein and the Poet.

[6]  Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Mariner Books, 2006).

[7] Sociologists, see William R. Garrett, "Maligned Mysticism : The Maledicted Career of Troeltsch's Third Type," SA. Sociological Analysis 36.3 (1975). Also Anon, "Edward Carpenter: Red, Green and Gay." My own nascent work includes  Mike Sosteric, "Mysticism, Consciousness, Death," Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research  (2016). Also Mike Sosteric, "A Sociology of Tarot," Canadian Journal of Sociology 39.3 (2014). Finally, Mike Sosteric, The Science of Ascension: Bodily Ego, Consciousness, Connection, 2016, Available: https://athabascau.academia.edu/DrS.

[8] Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (New York: W.W. Norton, 1961).

[9] Sosteric, "A Sociology of Tarot."

[10] Sosteric, The Science of Ascension: Bodily Ego, Consciousness, Connection.

[11] For a glimpse into the powerful and transformative nature of authentic human spirituality, see Mike Sosteric, Dangerous Memories: Slavery, Mysticism, and Transformation, Unpublished Manuscript, 2016, Academia.edu, Available: https://www.academia.edu/25031557/Dangerous_memories_-_Slavery_mysticism_and_transformation, 7/20 2016.

[12] Sosteric, "A Sociology of Tarot."

[13] Sosteric, The Science of Ascension: Bodily Ego, Consciousness, Connection.

[14] Sosteric, "Mysticism, Consciousness, Death."

[15] William Walter Terence Stace, Mysticism and Philosophy (London: Macmillan, 1960) 14.

References

Anon. "Edward Carpenter: Red, Green and Gay." Socialism Today 131  (2009).

Berger, Peter. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. New York: Anchor Books, 1969.

Carpenter, Edward. The Art of Creation: Essays on the Self and Its Powers. London: Georbe Allen & Unwin, 1921.

Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. New York: Mariner Books, 2006.

Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. New York: W.W. Norton, 1961.

Garrett, William R. "Maligned Mysticism : The Maledicted Career of Troeltsch's Third Type." SA. Sociological Analysis 36 3 (1975): 205-23.

Hermanns, William. Einstein and the Poet. Boston: Branden Books, 1983.

James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study of Human Nature. New York: Penguin, 1982.

Marx, Karl. "The German Ideology." The Marx-Engels Reader. Ed. Tucker, R. New York: Norton, 1978.

Maslow, A.H. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Viking, 1971.

Rowbotham, Sheila. "In Search of Edward Carpenter." Radical America 14 4 (1980).

Sosteric, Mike. "Dangerous Memories: Slavery, Mysticism, and Transformation".  Spirituality Studies, 2016.  Unpublished Manuscript:  Academia.edu. 7/20 2016. <https://www.academia.edu/25031557/Dangerous_memories_-_Slavery_mysticism_and_transformation>.

---. "Mysticism, Consciousness, Death." Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research   (2016).

---. "The Science of Ascension: Bodily Ego, Consciousness, Connection".  2016. <https://athabascau.academia.edu/DrS>.

---. "A Sociology of Tarot." Canadian Journal of Sociology 39 3 (2014).

Stace, Walter Terence. Mysticism and Philosophy. London: Macmillan, 1960.

Wilber, Ken. Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists New York: Shambhala, 2001.

I believe that I have cosmic religious feelings. I never could grasp how one could satisfy these feelings by praying to limited objects. The tree outside is life, a statue is dead. The whole of nature is life, and life, as I observe it, rejects a God resembling man. I like to experience the universe as one harmonious whole. Every cell has life. Hermanns, W. (1983). Einstein and the Poet. Boston: Branden Books (p. 63).

Albert Einstein

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Written by Michael S.

Michael S. (Dr. S.) is a scientist, sociologist, author, mystic, and mystical poet whose interests are human psychology, human society, spirituality, consciousness, global pedagogy, and global transformation. He’s busy writing about a dozen books all of which are aimed at enlightening the people and transforming the planet in line with the purpose, and for the benefit of, all. Visit his academic profile or his academia.com website, read some of his scholarly papers, view his video Money Moksha, and read his economically enlightening book, Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy. .

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