Recently, as part of an article about atheism, I was asked the following question by Illuminata Magazine:
Q: How do you respond to Richard Dawkins’ brand of ‘informed’ atheism supported by scientific investigation? Or what would you tell somebody who’s confused by all these genetic theories that these gentlemen use to prove what they call the ‘God Delusion’?
Frankly, I had to look the guy up. These kinds of arguments hold little interest for me anymore, and this is why:
A: I don’t respond to Richard Dawkins’ brand (or indeed any other brand) of scientific argument around the existence of God. Richard Dawkins is a brilliantly intelligent man, and I understand why he has arrived at many of his scientific conclusions. And I also understand why his arguments would appeal to many. But intellectual brilliance and science are Stone Age tools, quite frankly, when engaged in a search for God; they’re hopelessly crude and thoroughly unequal to the task.
I too was once a cynic, by the way, and for many years it never even occurred to me God might actually exist. I just assumed God was a made-up concept designed to prevent me from sleeping in on weekend mornings. And then one day I had a spiritual experience. I wasn’t looking for it—it just happened.
And that’s the funny thing about all intellectual arguments for or against the existence of God. They don’t matter worth a damn, because God is not ever found through the intellect. Authentic spirituality is a felt experience that bypasses the intellect entirely, and permanently changes one’s perception. And when that experience occurs, mere intellectual understanding or opinion or argument is completely eclipsed by Knowing, and that’s knowing with a capital ‘K.’
I have experienced that which could be called God (or Divine Source, or any of a hundred different names) many times. Not only is it real, in my knowing God is the only thing that’s real. This world as we think we know it, is not real. All the great spiritual teachings of the world say the same thing. All is one, in truth.
As Einstein once said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistent one.” And my knowing concurs with this scientific statement. (Einstein was not speculating on the existence of God here, just making a general statement about our perception of the world versus its actual properties.)
To the naked eye, science and spirituality appear to be diametrically opposed, with opinions and “proof” flying on both sides. I’m not interested. I hew to a higher truth, a deeper knowing. I do not require theories or proof to back up the truth, because real truth, once experienced, blows everything else out of the water.
I have no investment in trying to persuade anyone of this. Until one experiences it for himself or herself, what I’ve just described makes no sense. Or perhaps it sounds (to an intellect) like I’m advocating a big frosty glass of happy juice, an abdication of rational thought in favor of unicorns and rainbows.
Actually I would suggest the opposite—that it’s exceedingly healthy to maintain a certain skepticism as one treads a spiritual path. Take no one’s word for anything. Have your own firsthand experience.
For anyone truly interested in a serious search for the existence of God (as opposed to intellectual brawling as ego entertainment) I would suggest this: Go someplace quiet, be still, and ask. Just ask, very sincerely and with a completely open mind, for evidence of the truth one way or the other. Evidence of God, or no God.
Call it a scientific experiment if you like. And see what happens.