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The Guru Dialogues VII (Religion, Atheism, Spirituality)

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posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 08:40 AM
Seeker – I’d like to talk about the difference between the religious person and the atheist. They seem incapable of reconciling. You see these huge and endless debates on the internet and in the publishing world. It has always seemed to me like atheists have just closed off their minds, and are relying on science and the scientific method to dictate what they can and can’t believe. At least the devout Christian has a bit of faith in something larger, more vast than himself.

Guru – Are they really so different? I mean fundamentally, in the way that they are approaching the issue of God, are they really any different?

S – Definitely. One believes and the other doesn’t.

G – I would say that both believe absolutely and categorically. Both have thought themselves to a conclusion and believe with absolute certainty. Their minds are made up and, at that level, they are the same. The Atheist believes that death is an absolute end. They are certain of this and will accept no other opinion unless it is backed up by scientific proof. The religious man, perhaps he is a Christian, but he could be of any other faith (in fact, he could have made up his own faith), believes with absolute certainty in the existence of the soul, and that the soul lives on after death. He is willing to argue this with passages from the bible, the Koran, the Talmud. He too will defend his position in a close-minded way, fighting against the arguments of the other, holding his ground at all costs, deaf to what the other is saying.

S – Ok, ok…We’ve been down this road before. You’re saying that both are mental arguments, and as such are missing the whole picture. A metal concept can’t capture reality, what is….etc, etc…I don’t know, the way I see it, at least the devout Christian believes in goodness and the power of love.

G – Actually, I would say that atheism can serve as a blank slate in the process of spiritual development. The accumulated doctrine of organized religion is swept aside by the truly atheistic point of view. If the atheist is then willing—at some later point—to re-examine his or her views, to go beyond the mental world they have created for themselves, this blank slate can become a springboard for spiritual development—an uncluttered room. Atheism, then, is not in itself a negative stance. It was a stage that I myself went though.

S – Why do the atheist and the religious fundamentalist stop and not continue their inquiry, then?

G – As always, the answer is fear. The Christian who needs to believe absolutely in heaven and a god as a concept is frightened that there may be no solid god, no actual gates of heaven. The atheist believes he is far braver, since he considers that he has set aside such childish illusions. But really he too is avoiding the same unknown, the same emptiness that frightens the religious man. He accepts his "terrible" fate, his "final end," the cruelty of a random universe, but he will not accept the limitations of his own mind. He will not accept that he cannot, given enough time and a large enough brain, know everything. Both are afraid. Both are avoiding reality.

S – So what about you then. You’ve talked about god, about the power of love…all that stuff. Are you not also avoiding?

G – I am not avoiding the limitations of my mind. I have seen those limitations and that has freed me up to experience the universe as it is. It cannot be known with mind but it can be experienced. Its ultimate nature is love, and we are each that love. Atheism and religious beliefs are seen to be as invalid as any other collection of thoughts—they pale in relation to the infinite.

[edit on 23-6-2009 by Silenceisall]

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