When I tell people that I am both a Christian and a scientist (but not a Christian Scientist, LoL), I often get puzzled stares in reply. How does one reconcile those two? Aren’t faith and reason mutually exclusive to eachother?
Well, no, not really. There are several philosophies that embrace both faith and reason, two of which are very dear to me: Gnosticism and Deism. Also, when it comes to creation stories, I favor Intelligent Design over strict creationism, simply because certain versions of Intelligent Design acknowledge the validity of Evolutionary theory, both stellar and biological. Finally, I also believe in reincarnation, an Eastern mystical idea I think was woefully omitted from mainstream Christianity, in which I have very little faith, due to the fact that the canonical Bible is moreso the revisionist product of oppressive ancient political regimes than any inherently valid history, philosophy, or morality.
While meeting with a Deist discussion group, the question was posed: “Since Deists are often considered atheists by traditional religions, have you as a Deist ever been forced to endure any abuse from traditional theists?” After a few minutes thought, my response to this was: “Actually, as a Deist, I have taken far more abuse from self-righteous, know-it-all Atheists than any variety of Theist.”
What most atheists refuse to recognize is that Atheism is in itself a leap of faith. One cannot prove that there is no God any more than one can prove, conclusively, that there is a God. It is logically impossible to prove a negative. Think of it this way: If I were to tell you that the apples from my tree were the best-tasting apples in the world, how would you go about invalidating this claim? You would have to taste apples from every single tree in the world, compare them to mine and find one superior, a task which would probably be impossible within a single human lifespan, to say nothing of devising a system for rating the taste of apples objectively.
And the same thing applies to proving or disproving the existence of God. The universe is vast. Humans have been studying it for hundreds of thousands of years, and still haven’t completely figured it out. We thought we had a pretty good handle on it when Newton enumerated his laws of physics, but then Einstein figured out that those only work on Earth, and there are objects in deep space like pulsars, quasars, and black holes that violate Newtonian physics, which is why the Special Theory of Relativity and General theory of Relativity had to be created. Einstein was never able to create a unified field theory to unite the micro with the macro that fit with observable data. But suffice to say, science is a work in progress that is taking thousands of years, and may never be complete.
And many Atheists will attack the straw man of this idea of a benevolent God. If God exists, why is there so much suffering in the world? Well, just because God isn’t what you want it to be, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Maybe God transcends or is beyond human morality. Maybe God doesn’t give a damn about Planet Earth or the human race. Maybe God is a psychopath. But in any case, saying that there is no God just because it doesn’t work for you personally above all others is akin to a spoiled brat saying he has no parents just because they won’t buy him a Ferrari.
Thus, the only really logically defensible position is agnosticism, which is a simple admission that one doesn’t know whether God exists or not. But I like to think of my ontological viewpoint as consisting of both knowledge AND belief. There are things that I know and can prove through repeatable demonstration, and there are things I merely believe through circumstantial evidence and intuition. And finally, there are my hopes, dreams, and wishes to which I cling.
There is also Chaos Theory and the Anthropic Principle to consider, in addition to Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Perhaps the universe merely appears ordered because we are viewing it through a human lens, or perhaps this pocket of order in which we find ourselves is not truly reflective of the ultimately chaotic universe in which we live. There are many Black Swans that could potentially pop up to challenge our currently accepted ontological models. Think of it this way: In a truly random sequence of numbers, the subsequence “12345” is bound to occur by random chance. But this doesn’t mean that the entire sequence is ordered, even if we could only perceive the part that is. Chaos, by definition, can contain random pockets of finite order, but order cannot contain any chaos whatsoever. Thus, chaos is ideologically superior to order.
Many atheists will cling to Occam’s Razor in order to rationalize oversimplifying complex ontological problems. But aren’t things actually getting more and more complicated the more knowledge of the microcosm and macrocosm we uncover? How often do you crack open a sophisticated, newly-engineered piece of technology and find a simple mechanism driving it? So maybe the simplest explanation isn’t always correct. Maybe that’s just a way that people with access to privileged information try to convince those denied the facts to stop asking questions.
What I have found is that many atheists, via their amoral and insensitive behavior, often become so invested in there not being a God, Karma, or Cosmic Justice, that they refuse to acknowledge any evidence to the contrary, in what becomes a kind of reverse Pascal’s Wager. On the other hand, some Christians treat the crucifixion as a blank check to do whatever they want, as if Jesus Christ died 2000 years ago so that they can be assholes today. The point I guess is that both Atheists and religious fundamentalists rely upon dogma, often because it enables their selfish behavior.
Atheists also like to point at atrocities committed by organized religion as a way to discredit it. This inevitably includes mention of The Salem Witch Trials, The Crusades, and the Inquisition. But these attacks only apply to organized religion, not necessarily personal faith. Besides, atheists have the egregious human rights violations of Stalin’s, Mao’s, and Pol Pot’s authoritarian communist atheism to answer for, as well as the tyranny of post-agricultural society, and scientific abominations like nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare.
But this paper isn’t meant to be a criticism of Atheism, or religious fundamentalism, both of which which I feel dig their own hole and thus need no further chastization, but rather, it is a defense of faith from those who would say that all faith is unreasonable. It is my position that one can be both faithful and reasonable at the same time, as long as one has the proper framework of knowledge and belief. So bear with me, because this is going to take some biographical storytelling to explain, as many of my ideas do.
I’m not much into ministry, because I think that convincing others of your beliefs is just another way of rationalizing them. Instead, I try to celebrate diversity and acknowledge that everyone is one their own unique spiritual path. I don’t pretend to be on the ultimate path, and I think that all paths eventually lead to the same positive place even if some take more detours than others. But I do urge others to be prosocial in their morality, no matter what faith or lack thereof they may choose.
I haven’t always believed in things like God, the soul, karma, reincarnation, the afterlife, or cosmic justice. In fact, hardship and injustice were what caused the dark, faithless times in my life. And yet still, I rejected Nihilism, the Will to Power, and other philosophies that would enable my depravity and tyranny. Instead, I searched for meaning, and slowly, the pieces of the puzzle came together. Most of those pieces were books, and a few of them were people.
The first book to ever fill my heart with spiritual inspiration and joy was the Tao Teh Ching by Lao Tzu. This book was not given to me purposefully. My father, the Machiavellian executive, in a classic Lex and Lionel Luthor moment, gave me the Art of War by Sun Tzu at the age of 13, thinking that it would help me succeed in the world. But I found the book to be quite boring, and, returning it to its boxed set, there I found Lao Tzu’s tome. I was enthralled by it, and have been reading and recommending it ever since. In fact, I have purchased and given away more copies of this book as a form of ministry than any other book written by a human being, as it is one of my favorites.
But the Tao never fully satisfied my visceral desires. It was a book about how to be a monk, and win by losing. The book seemed to only satisfy my right brain, leaving my left, more analytical mind wanting. And in a materialistic society such as America, I found my Eastern values constantly being disrespected, and myself constantly offended by such a two-dimensional system.
That was when I started studying Kabbalah, numerology, gematria, astrology, and Jewish mysticism, and specifically the work of Aleister Crowley. The thing I loved most about Crowley’s philosophy was the emphasis on the existence of the Soul, aka the Higher Self, whose higher conscious will was supposed to be exhalted over the baser urges of the body such as hunger, chemical dependence, emotions, material greed, and the sex drive. Here we see one of my first exposures to Cartesian dualism: the idea that there is a material will and a spiritual will, and that one should be held in higher regard than the other. Also the idea that the material world simply isn’t real, or is the projection of a false God.
It was through my study of the Tree of Life that I became exposed to the work of a man named Drunvalo Melchizedek, and the concept of Sacred Geometry. Drunvalo is a very great man, and I credit him with bringing me into the light, by giving my left brain the proof it needed that God exists. His work was all about the patterns and structures in nature: The Phi Ratio, the Golden Mean Rectangle, Metatron’s Cube, and the Flower of life. These things all related to the patterns in nature, molecular structure, cellular structure, plant growth, even galaxy formation that seemed to suggest that there was an underlying order to the universe, and that this order did not render itself by random chance. The watchmaker’s argument began to ring truer as new information came to light.
But it wasn’t just the science Drunvalo presented that contributed to my personal philosophy: it was the history as well. For Drunvalo told a story about the Fall of Man, which I considered crucial to my own theology. It was he who introduced me to the concepts of Luciferian Dualism and Unity Consciousness. Because Earth has fallen from God and Unity Consciousness, it has become a Luciferian planet, where all living beings are in competition with eachother, rather than synergizing through cooperation. The idea that “I” am separate from everything and everyone else, rather than “I” simply being a unique facet of the same jewel that embodies all of creation, is the Devil’s delusion, forced upon us all by the illusion of materialism, finity, and mortality.
At the same time that I was maintaining a private study of spirituality and theology, strictly to satisfy my own thirst for knowledge regarding the subject, I was also enrolled in a very research-oriented scholastic institution, dissecting brains and learning experimental design and statistical analysis. Taking apart a brain and mapping its neural network, and knowing that the entirety of a human being’s thoughts, opinions, and beliefs were contained within, could easily drive one to some very depressingly deterministic conclusions.
But instead, I simply recognized that the brain was merely a tool of the soul. It is a material thing just like any other, the avatar of our soul in the material world, but I refused to believe that a person’s brain and body are the entirety of their being. Instead, I see them as vessels. Very complicated and beautifully articulated vessels (especially when we are referring to beautiful women, whom I relate to the engineered perfection of European sportscars), but mere vessels nonetheless. The true essence of one’s being was the soul, and what is a soul but a facet of the Divine? So, even though I respected the scientific method as it applied to materialist systems such as physics, chemistry, and biology, I thought of these systems as secondary in importance to the spiritual realm, which I consider the driving force behind consciousness, and life itself.
Basically, I believe in a force superior to the brain, and layers of existence on top of the mere physical. A whole system of mental, emotional, and spiritual planes. And maybe even a bad plane beneath the material, that some people get sucked into when they die, like: “Aggghhhh, oh no! I shouldn’t have been such a douchebag!” The universe needs a toilet, I think. I like to believe that some sinners can be redeemed through some sort of spiritual salvation, but let’s face it: some people are just going to Hell. I used to think Hell was a dumb idea until I became awake to the way some people treat eachother. Now I’m all for it. Maybe not forever, but I do think some souls could benefit from punishment.
I also began learning how to think rationally through internet discussion. Merely proffering an idea did not make it valid; that idea had to stand up to the relentless analysis of some very ruthless minds on the internet, and I had some of my ideological children horribly maimed by the logic of others in this way, until I learned to think more objectively and not be too attached to my ideas. The internet, I think, can be a crucible for ideas, which is good, because it won’t allow bullshit to fly for too long, at least not completely uncontested by contrarian thinkers.
It was at this point in my studies that events in my personal life brought me to become a Christian. Romantic failure, legal persecution, and financial misappropriation had made my life a living Hell, and this caused me to, for the first time ever, empathize with Jesus Christ as he was crucified. And I realized that those who suffer for the benefit of others carry a certain divinity to their grave. As much as I wanted to take revenge upon those who had slighted me in one way or another, I realized both the futility in doing so, and the far greater reward of living and letting die.
But my personal Christian theology was a very Gnostic one, both because I rejected the canonical gospel, and because I valued the use of entheogenic substances in my spiritual journey. Marijuana, psilocybin, LSD, MDMA… these were all cognitive tools that I used to explore myself, the material world, and the Astral Plane. In other words, I knew God through experience.
Also, if Satan and God were at war, and the Fall of Man was a consequence of that war, then Jesus was the reconciliation of God and Satan, the Alpha and the Omega. The Spiritual and Material. The left and the right. The light and the darkness. Through the salvation of Christ, God’s son, man was allowed to ascend from Hell and be healed by the light.
I also have great respect for the Hindu system of reincarnation, which I believe is something that most enlightened beings subscribe to as well. Through past life regression and conversation with my Higher Self, I began to uncover the agenda of my soul, which has always been that of liberator. In every life I have lived on Earth, I have fought for freedom. I have died on many battlefields and come back stronger every time. Some of my battles were political, some social, some economic, some material, and some spiritual. But it was always my faith that made it so easy to sacrifice myself to a cause, the knowledge that nothing material would ever truly hurt me more than selling out my values and acquiring bad karma would. In other words: to compromise one’s values is seen as carrying far greater spiritual consequences than the mere material consequences of taking a stand: imprisonment, injury, death, etc…
Conversely, there are those who have lived many lives dedicated to oppression. I believe these types of people are those who are so stuck in the moment that they are blind to the bigger picture. Maybe they buy too much into the illusion of the material. So, I believe that human history is the story of souls reincarnating themselves over and over on this planet to fight the same battles in a neverending progression towards paradise and enlightenment, with some people being more effective to this end than others.
But of course, there are far better places to be incarnate, and far more powerful forms than human to take. And I believe that this is where the idea of the “afterlife” comes in. For once you are done with Earth, there are many other levels to move to, just like a worm becomes a butterfly and takes to the skies in a new life.
Just as you were once a lower form of life, you are destined to become a higher form of life. And the material world is like a school, or maybe even a work-release prison. Karma is your grade, and how well you do is what determines whether or not you graduate, or are released. The idea that the material, external world is more real than the internal world of the spirit, to me, is laughable. We are all playing Satan’s game, Satan, AKA Samael, God’s wisest Angel, the Tester of Souls. The weigher of hearts against a feather.
And out of respect for Satan, and the very idea of paying the Devil his due, I respect physics, science, chemistry, biology, and all the other deterministic systems in which I find myself temporary entangled, mostly due to the intricacy of their design and the fun that can be had playing this game. Satan made the physical universe, and is the master of everything material. But God’s invention is far superior: the Spirit. My faith in God is what makes me see the value in basic morality, so that my Spirit will not karmically be weighed down to this physical plane forever. Because there are higher levels of consciousness to be achieved, and we will all get there eventually.
Though every person is a universe unto themselves, being incarnate in the physical realm breaks our solipsism by exposing us to the problem of other minds, which is why we have to be on our best behavior in our interactions with others, in order to avoid bad karma and keep a clean conscience. How interpersonal conflicts of agenda are resolved is what defines a society. This is where politics come into play, as well as economics, and we must carefully scrutinize our social infrastructure in order to route out systemic injustice and promote harmonic human interaction. Unifying the world both in spite of and in celebration of cultural differences is obviously key to this goal.
But ultimately, because I believe that God is an anarchist, a facilitator and not a ruler, I believe that the point of life and consciousness is to eventually become Gods in our own right, and foster the evolution of beings less spiritually evolved than ourselves. We are all moving towards a higher level of consciousness, and that will entail more autonomy and ability to create our own life, and our own theatres upon which it will perform.
Spirituality and great works are the path to true freedom, whereas atheistic, nihilistic, scientific determinism is a prison of ignorance in which we confine ourselves. To believe otherwise is to believe that humans are merely biological machines, with no meaning or purpose in life but to work, consume, and reproduce. When in reality, there are contributions to make: art, music, literature, and applied science. Cures to disease and the solutions to environmental problems. New technology to make life safer and more enjoyable.
I hope my faith and reason coexisting prove that it is possible to retain old school spiritual values while still being progressive politically and a futurist and transhumanist technologically and scientifically.