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Atheist Vs. Mystic. A friend leaves the Atheistic stance after this correspondance.

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posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 01:31 PM
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I used to be an Atheist and still have quite a few friends in that circle of thought. Recently one of my friends left his atheist stance after this correspondence. It is rather lengthy so please bear with me, as there is point to be made.

My original stance and position that I take when debating with Atheists, is that I have directly experienced myself as bodiless and non-local consciousness and have experienced God as the source of Consciousness. I specifically leave all religious stances and belief systems behind (because I find that many people have alot of mental/psychological baggage associated with these, which prevent them from further investigating), and solely use the direct experience stance. Here's how it went:

Friend :If experience has any explanatory power on truth, then how do we distinguish between experiences? Since science and rational thought have been demonstrated over and over to be the best way to find truth, that renders personal experience, useless.

Me: If there exist certain truths that transcend our modern collective version of science & rational thought, then they will remain unfounded. Yet it is from your own personal subjective experience that u find personal experience useless in pursuit of truth paradoxically.

Friend: Yes, there are certain truths that transcend the knowledge we have now. We don't know everything, but we know more every day. And you're right, it is by my experience that I find experience useless, but the evidence I have is the success of the scientific method and rational thought.

Me: U do understand that by your above statement, you are completely nullifying all of subjective human experience. By doing so, we can no longer hold anything valid including rational thought, as that too, is within the confines of "experiencing rational thought". If by your experience, you find experience useless, then by default your experience of "evidence" is also entirely useless.

Friend: Don't mischaracterize me. If you want to have a discussion on the rabbit hole problem of "if our experience dictates everything, how can we hope to know what is true". It's always smart to stay away from absolutes. I'm not talking about subjective experience in the strictest sense, but just personal experience. Especially personal experience that cannot be observed, tested, repeated, documented, etc.

Me: Im not saying that "our experience dictates everything". I am saying that all of us equally live within human experience and that itself is scientifically valid, as nobody ever says that there is no such thing. And it is personal. Using rational thought to come to logical conclusions is not the same as using intuition & awareness to experience an infinite beingness. If an experience or subject transcends rational thought, then how will you approach said subject?

Friend: You'd have to demonstrate there exists an experience or subject that transcends rational thought, and further that it can't EVER be known through rational thought. If ever I come across something that "transcends" rational thought, then I'd just say I don't know, and if someone insists that they do, I'd ask them to demonstrate it in a way I can understand.

Me: Reality itself exists prior to & transcends rational thought. Sure we can take pieces of the whole, agree on labels, concepts, & write volumes about them. However, something like nature has existed prior to us existing, and stands on its own devoid of thought. Yet we can both experience nature and scrutinize it rationally. U can enjoy nature and be in the moment, knowing that moment, yet the moment transcends what you rationally think of it.

Friend: I agree with you there. But personal experience should be able to withstand scrutiny. If the only way to know a certain truth is to experience it, what do we do if some people don't experience the same way you do? Who are you to say that your experience trumps others?

Me: I am not saying that my experience of God trumps others. Others' not experiencing God is obviously commonplace and also valid. Just like in science, we would have to be able to reproduce said experience. As a former atheist i had to test whether it can be reproduced in myself, it was, hence i found it as credible. In turn i have brought others systematically to the experience, giving further credibility to said Beingness. What we do from here on out leaves much to the imagination.

Friend: So can't I just say my experience is that of no God? Or I experience only the universe/my perception of reality, and nothing else? Wouldn't I be just as justified in saying that as you are?

Me: Of course you can say that, but how do you know that the Universe & reality itself (prior to what anyone thinks of it) may actually be God? Would you then still feel justified to say so? At the end of the day, we have those who say that they dont experience God, and those who say they do. I have been in both, & now am of the latter. But realizing that an experience of God may be valid & considering everything we covered, can you still continue to be an Atheist?

Friend: I can also turn it around on you. You're personal experience is telling me that my experience is telling you that personal experience is useless. We can go on ad infinitum. So where does the line stop? The conundrum doesn't address the problem, assuming truth can be known, what is the best method for obtaining it?

Me: We cant dismiss experience of something, if thats the only way something can be known. Your the one that initially said personal experience is useless so there's no reason to go on ad infinitum. I cannot deny experience as it is the mode for everyone's reality. Sure we can trick ourselves into beliefs and relative likes & dislikes. But in this situation, a God experience can be reproduced to someone who hasn't had it before & the characteristics of it are surprisingly similar.

Friend: You haven't demonstrated why your experience trumps mine. The mere possibility of an experience being valid isn't enough for me to decide on your version of God or anyone's. I operate in probabilities, and for me the probability is higher that a God doesn't exist, which is why I don't believe it.

Me: Its not about one experience trumping another, as that is based in duality, and the God Experience is Non-dual. Its like asking can an experience of eating vanilla ice cream, trump the one eating chocolate. The difference is, I tested whether an experience can be had, and you didn't. The God experience can be approached devoid of belief & w/ skepticism, but afterwards you walk away w/ no doubt about God's reality.
_________
After this, he admitted that his idea of God was biased & loaded with baggage such as priests molesting children, religious wars, & his over all dislike for organized religion.

However, he came to admit that I had made very crucial points to him & that he was now considering the possibility that God may exist, and what people do in God's name may have nothing to do with God, and that if an experience of God is possible, then the only way to know for one's self would be to experience God for one's self.

He's since taken up studies of mysticism, esotericism, meditation, going within, and nonduality. Through introspection and contemplating koans, he's had his first glimpse of himself and reality as consciousness and has left his previous position of Atheist




posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 01:46 PM
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reply to post by dominicus
 


When you experience god, what do you experience?



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 01:46 PM
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Pretty cool argument.. did you record it and then transcribe it? reminds me of the plato style philosophical dialogues,,, you should do this with a lot of people on a lot of different topics,, and compose a book..



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 02:02 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


When you experience God, you experience this...


edit on 15-10-2012 by xxshadowfaxx because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 02:08 PM
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Originally posted by xxshadowfaxx
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


When you experience God, you experience this...


edit on 15-10-2012 by xxshadowfaxx because: (no reason given)


I don't experience God. I was asking the OP if he could describe experiencing God, so that I may know when/if it happens to me.



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by dominicus
 





that renders personal experience, useless.


Let me stop you there. Science begins with personal experience, mostly observation. Newton observes apples and other objects falling - GRAVITY. Now we can refine those observations with tools and systems of measurements and repeat the experiments with multiple people to make sure those observations are indeed accurately and not the result of some hallucination or stupor.

This is where Global Skepticism comes in, in order to make it anywhere we have to make some basic assumptions. One of those base assumptions is that, at least a lot of the time, our sensory imput gives us accurate information about the world around us, "this tea is hot, that object is at a distance, objects at rest tend to stay at rest, etc". Now we know that our senses do deceive us and that assuming they are correct is an assumption that can only be made tentatively, that's why we use measurements, collect data and check and re-check that data and the results of experiments time and time again to be sure they are as accurate as we can get them.

At the base level all our reasoning is going to be, in some sense, circular, again this is the problem of Global Skepticism.



The God experience can be approached devoid of belief & w/ skepticism, but afterwards you walk away w/ no doubt about God's reality.


Having been both a Christian and, for a time, a wanderer of various other forms of theism, I can assure you that one can experience "GOD" and walk away with PLENTY of doubt. All of the profundity of emotion, the height and depth of religious experience, can be had with no God required. I learned this when, as a Bible believing "holy ghost" filled Christian I found that my "speaking in tongues" could be set off by secular experiences. An emotional song, a deep piece of poetry or fiction, even a beautiful girl could set off my "speaking in tongues" just as readily as a heartfelt prayer could.

As an atheist I can say that this conversation is a muddled mess, and far from a very convincing argument for God or any other form of mysticism or superstition.



a God experience can be reproduced to someone who hasn't had it before & the characteristics of it are surprisingly similar.


This is what I mean by above. The explanation could very well be that these "God" experiences are just part of the human experience. During my time as a believer I can recall intense feelings of comfort, of being wrapped in the hands of God, of being one with the Universe. As an atheist these experiences are still there, but now they are separated from this imaginary construct, "God", a character strapped to my ego, an externalization of something that was always inside of me. Just recently I had a dream where I was standing on the shore of a cosmic ocean that literally could not be observed by a human being, I had actual physical discomfort, and incredible awe, trying to look at it and perceive it. The human brain releases some powerful chemicals. There are even scientists trying to find this God-experience, its origins and how to induce it (see: God Helmet). There are also atheists who meditate and will openly admit to seemingly transcendental experiences (see: Sam Harris).

To be an atheist is not to be closed-off to the possibility of God, the supernatural, or the vista or human experience. But, in my opinion, it is to be skeptical, very skeptical, especially of believing what makes us feel good or believing what we WANT to believe, without having any actual evidence to back it up. I might have a vision where I meet and talk to Spock, the experience may be as real as any I've ever had, but that doesn't mean I should set up the first church of Spock and start praying.



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by xxshadowfaxx
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


When you experience God, you experience this...


edit on 15-10-2012 by xxshadowfaxx because: (no reason given)


Incorrect. That account was merely a description of Kundalini energy passing through the Ajna Chakra and other chakras. Only when it reaches and fully activates the seventh chakra after passing through all the other chakras does one enter samadhi and achieve union with God.



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 02:44 PM
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I once had a very profound experience of oneness with the universe in my youth. After that I quit huffing gasoline. Not poking fun, just telling you what happened.

The human brain is a weird, wonderful, amazingly complex thing. Just because it goes screwy sometimes isn't a very convincing argument for a god.

And no, my youthful stupidity didn't give me brain damage. Thank Ba'al.



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 03:24 PM
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I have asked the following questions numerous times...

Why is it that humans automatically ascribe divinity to any entity they deem superior to themselves?
What makes this entity worthy of worship and adoration?
Why do we deify an entity just because it is beyond our comprehension?
Providing said entity even exists, what makes it worthy of the title God?

These are sincere questions. What makes "God", a god to you?



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 03:31 PM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 



Having been both a Christian and, for a time, a wanderer of various other forms of theism, I can assure you that one can experience "GOD" and walk away with PLENTY of doubt.

You experience that you exist. Do you walk away and doubt your own existence and experience of your own existence?


All of the profundity of emotion, the height and depth of religious experience, can be had with no God required. I learned this when, as a Bible believing "holy ghost" filled Christian I found that my "speaking in tongues" could be set off by secular experiences.

I'm not talking about emotional highs which can be gotten in a pew as well as a rock concert or romantic picnic sunset with a erotically beautiful women, I'm talking about experiences that happen prior to the mind, prior to emotion, and transcend them both.

Neither am I talking about speaking in tongues. I am talking about being consciousness, being able to separate from the body, to experience the source of consciousness, remembering my existence as consciousness prior to even having been born in a body, amongst various other things that can be repeated by those who begin to penetrate the depths within.

You could very well be an atheist and penetrate the depths, eventually you will come across these realities and they are just as much, if not more, vivid and real and alive is our current everyday reality, bringing one to a conclusion that the spiritual realms are real.


As an atheist I can say that this conversation is a muddled mess, and far from a very convincing argument for God or any other form of mysticism or superstition.

So you are grouping mysticism in with superstition, which goes to show how much you know, since a very elementary understanding of the two would show that the former deals in direct experience and the latter deals in belief. That's a heck of a difference. The thought of a rock, is not the same as actually holding an experiencing an actual rock in your hand.

As far as muddled mess, that's just your opinion. The atheist friends I have brought these arguments up to have never used "muddled" as an argument when I presented my case logically, clearly, and concisely.



a God experience can be reproduced to someone who hasn't had it before & the characteristics of it are surprisingly similar.

This is what I mean by above. The explanation could very well be that these "God" experiences are just part of the human experience.

Well of course they are part of the human experience, and they show us that there is more than just the human experience, allowing us also in the form of NDE's/OBE's, to see that when the body dies, consciousness continues on. There are even scientific theories on non-local bodiless consciousness starting to emerge in respective fields.


During my time as a believer I can recall intense feelings of comfort, of being wrapped in the hands of God, of being one with the Universe.

There is a big difference between "believer" and "experiencer".


As an atheist these experiences are still there, but now they are separated from this imaginary construct, "God", a character strapped to my ego, an externalization of something that was always inside of me.

So your more mystic than you think. I have the option to experience directly, said "God" rather than just believing in said "God". There is a HUGE/VAST difference between the two and by definition, you would be labeled a mystic.


To be an atheist is not to be closed-off to the possibility of God, the supernatural, or the vista or human experience. But, in my opinion, it is to be skeptical, very skeptical, especially of believing what makes us feel good or believing what we WANT to believe, without having any actual evidence to back it up.

This is rather interesting because there is a method in which to reach the experience of God, which seems to take care of the above quote, and is one of the ways I had gotten to my experience.

That is to suspend all belief and allow reality to reveal itself devoid of any single thought or belief. What emerges is something prior to any belief, and yet substantially real and ever present. How can anything that's "belief" based ever trump what is directly and experientially revealed to someone who suspends all belief, and the said revealing is repeatable to those who also take the route of Unknowing.? I would rather say, suspending all belief to get to Ultimate Truth experientially tends to have it's own defense mechanism against your point in the quote above.


I might have a vision where I meet and talk to Spock, the experience may be as real as any I've ever had

Visions of spock, and experiencing the source of Consciousness, is a BIG difference



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 03:37 PM
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Like I always say. How can you tell the difference between something that seems to be god and actually is, and something else that seems to be god and isn't but can trick you into believing it? So even if you have a supernatural experience, all you really know is that you aren't in a position to scrutinize it... therefore you learn nothing. That is why it always has been and always will be a matter of faith.
edit on 15-10-2012 by Tearman because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 03:41 PM
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Originally posted by Klassified
I have asked the following questions numerous times...

Why is it that humans automatically ascribe divinity to any entity they deem superior to themselves?
What makes this entity worthy of worship and adoration?
Why do we deify an entity just because it is beyond our comprehension?
Providing said entity even exists, what makes it worthy of the title God?

These are sincere questions. What makes "God", a god to you?


What makes "God" a god to me?

If an intelligence created the universe,,, and therefore me,, That intelligent creator,, would be known by the word "God",, which usually means Intelligent creator of the universe...

If an intelligent creator did not create the universe but the universe arose "naturally" and noone is king of the hill, in control,, in complete knowledge,, etc.... then there can still be "Gods" technically,, however it would be more related to the concept of "father" or "creator"... for example,,,, there are creators of movies, and bridges,,, these individual intelligent entities conceived and created these organized and purposeful constructions,,,,,

If a human were to create an artificial intelligent robot which was pretty much a human in its ability to think etc. perhaps even beyond human capabilities,,, would the inventor be the father,, the creator,,, the god of that robot?

you will probably come back with stuff like,,,, well how can that inventor be the god if it is not omnipotent,, omni present ... etc.,,....

i will definitely come back with,, those are words and definitions created by man to imagine what a god of the universe may be like,, since the latter part of what im saying applies to a universe not created by a god,,,, that does not apply to the readjusted deffinition of what a "god" may be in terms of original and intelligent creation...



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by ImaFungi
 


I think what people normally mean by god is whatever answers the question of where everything ultimately came from.. An idea that makes no sense to me, because it immediately raises the question, well where did he come from then?

I think this definition of god is the concept that most atheists have in their mind and reject.
edit on 15-10-2012 by Tearman because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 03:59 PM
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Originally posted by Tearman
reply to post by ImaFungi
 


I think what people normally mean by god is whatever answers the question of where everything ultimately came from.. An idea that makes no sense to me, because it immediately raises the question, well where did he come from then?
edit on 15-10-2012 by Tearman because: (no reason given)


yes i understand that,,,, but if you read what i wrote,,,, you can apply that to,,, an intelligence naturally arising,,, and then creating something,,,,

the past history of reality/existence may be infinite..... but if we can arise and create original components,, father,, god to these concepts and entities,,,,

whats to say this universe is not the original creation of an arisen intelligence,,,,,

which implies this universe is not everything which ultimately came from somewhere......

if the past is infinite,,, there is potentially infinte amount of history in regards to where and how and why everything got to the level and point it is at,, that is unknowable and unanswerable....
edit on 15-10-2012 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 04:01 PM
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The average debate is so offtopic because not all mystics believe in a God, some believe in nirvana, transcendence, a higher truth, Self, etc, yet most atheists think the only subject of discussion is if God exists, and when/if he will heal the cripples (and of course if you talk about Jesus healing lepers they say it never happened). Mainstream Christianity has monopolized the word God so it's like that word can't even be used independently of the bible, better to use Brahman or Self.
edit on 15-10-2012 by filosophia because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 04:04 PM
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reply to post by ImaFungi
 


Oops, I read your post but not the one you were replying to, and so I guess I thought you were asking a question. Whether or not the past is infinite, we'd still be left with the question "why is it that way to begin with?" And either way, I think there will never be a complete answer.



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 04:05 PM
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Originally posted by Tearman
reply to post by ImaFungi
 


Oops, I read your post but not the one you were replying to, and so I guess I thought you were asking a question. Whether or not the past is infinite, we'd still be left with the question "why is it that way to begin with?" And either way, I think there will never be a complete answer.



yes thats what i said,,, past may be infinite,,, we can never know an answer,,,, but if an intelligence can arise,,, whats to say an intelligence didnt rise a septigiglion light years ago,,, and create this universe a few billion years ago?

because that is what the god argument is focused on is it not? whether or not a god created this universe and in turn us...
edit on 15-10-2012 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 04:15 PM
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Originally posted by filosophia
The average debate is so offtopic because not all mystics believe in a God, some believe in nirvana, transcendence, a higher truth, Self, etc, yet most atheists think the only subject of discussion is if God exists, and when/if he will heal the cripples (and of course if you talk about Jesus healing lepers they say it never happened). Mainstream Christianity has monopolized the word God so it's like that word can't even be used independently of the bible, better to use Brahman or Self.
edit on 15-10-2012 by filosophia because: (no reason given)


In a general way, the problem atheists usually have with belief systems is when someone asserts impossible knowledge of "truth". As long as things remain in the realm of admitted faith, most of us atheists wont have a problem with it. But once someone start making statements asserting "truth" about things that one couldn't possibly know for certain, that's where very vocal disagreements tend to arise.

As for the topic of god, we usually have a pretty specific concept in mind while wearing our atheist hats. I.E. concerning the origin of the universe. The only reason that I, as an atheist, am concerned about chrisitanity at all is because they claim that the god of the bible is responsible for the origin of the universe. A claim that a) doesn't answer any questions. and b) they couldn't possibly know was true even if god revealed himself to them personally.
edit on 15-10-2012 by Tearman because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 04:48 PM
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reply to post by Tearman
 



In a general way, the problem atheists usually have with belief systems is when someone asserts impossible knowledge of "truth"

That's why I approach from a different angle, that of direct experience, which is compelling because it offers up the listener the opportunity to see for one's self if this is true, all beliefs aside.


As for the topic of god, we usually have a pretty specific concept in mind while wearing our atheist hats. I.E. concerning the origin of the universe. The only reason that I, as an atheist, am concerned about chrisitanity at all is because they claim that the god of the bible is responsible for the origin of the universe. A claim that a) doesn't answer any questions. and

understood, however it's not just Xtianity claiming that God created existence.


b) they couldn't possibly know was true even if god revealed himself to them personally.

In my case, and perhaps a few thousand or more across the globe, there is a remembrance of having existed prior to being born here. For me I was an individual unit of Consciousness and was discussing with other units of consciousness, coming to earth to be born. Well now, as "consciousness" I had to have come from somewhere and had some kind of origin. It seems we all pre-existed and forget when we put on flesh.

But again, why should you belief my claim here. Penetrate the depths within your own self, and sure enough you'll remember too eventually.



posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 10:53 PM
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reply to post by dominicus
 




You experience that you exist. Do you walk away and doubt your own existence and experience of your own existence?


Yes actually. Have you never doubted your own existence for a period of time? Ever laid back and wondered if you might merely be the character in someone's dream? Again, to get around global skepticism we HAVE to make certain basic assumptions. One of those basic assumptions is that our experiences, and our sense perceptions, are reliable. As I stated we KNOW that this isn't true, we know that our senses can be fooled and that our experiences cannot always be trusted and are not always accurate.

You seem to be attempting to use global skepticism to prove your version of God, when in actuality global skepticism makes it is impossible to prove, or know, anything.



prior to the mind...remembering my existence as consciousness prior to even having been born in a body


But let me guess, you had this experience while meditating, you had this experience AFTER you had a mind and a body. Sure you EXPERIENCED this memory, but you did it only while actually having a mind. Before you were born you have no memory of before you were born, you had this experience AFTER you already possessed a mind, so how on Earth does it suggest you had consciousness BEFORE having a mind? What it suggests is that the experience was solely IN YOUR MIND.

Once upon a time, when I was a spiritual wanderer, I attempted to meditate and remember my past lives. You'd be amazed at all the information that flooded my mind about who or what I was before I was me. But does that mean the experiences were real? The memories were real because I was experiencing them? Well no, because no matter how much I felt like I'd transcended time and space I was actually still seated on my bed with eyes shut and MIND open. Mind, where all of this stuff takes place, where it begins and ends and outside of the mind there is no evidence for any of this.



That's a heck of a difference.


Many superstitious and religious people claim to have had experiences. There are folks who claim to have been visited by angels, seen Jesus and the Virgin Mary. There are those who have had visions, more esoteric experiences than anything tangible - and then there are those who claim to have actually directly experienced these things and the things they experience can be VERY different, everything from meeting Jesus to meeting Elvis.

By the way, the way you present the term mystic makes me wonder if you've considered the possibility that being a mystic and being an atheist at the same time are possible. I know there are probably new agers who have "visited the source of consciousness" who are atheists, or believe we were created by aliens. As was mentioned attaching GOD just brings with it baggage.



Visions of spock, and experiencing the source of Consciousness, is a BIG difference


And what if Spock takes me on a tour of the cosmos and shows me the source of all consciousness?





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