“Can you be an atheist and still believe in God?”
I woke up this morning with this question rolling around between my ears, right where I had left it last night before nodding off. Not that I’m reneging on the matter, mind you. No sirree, the Judeo-Christian God I grew up with – that ancient anthropomorphized deity with more character flaws and baggage than I’ll ever have – is unquestionably nonexistent in my mind.
But I suppose it all comes down to how “God” is defined and that’s really at the crux of what I’m grappling with here. Suppose all of the existing ideas are either woefully mistaken or mere fractions of the whole, incomplete. Maybe it’s a grotesque mixture of both.
Perhaps God isn’t a supernatural being or deity but simply the presence of a metaphysical reality that we kind of just knew in our gut was always there. Something that can’t be entirely described or defined but simply is.
Oh, I know, I know… science. “Hey! There’s no evidence for that!” Can’t be true then, right? But science only deals with the physical world. What can science tell us about the metaphysical? How can science begin to explain that deep intrinsic longing within for something spiritual?
I think we’re seriously limiting our scope by accepting only what can be proven by science. The human experience goes much deeper, far beyond the physical. And it’s a beautiful thing to explore and consider, the metaphysical – that ineffable underpinning of all reality, the source code responsible for being and nonbeing. Maybe this is God, or something we can call God.
“Holy crap, what are you saying, man?! You sound like a quack! You’re the WORST atheist EVER!!”
Maybe. But I think as nonbelievers we’re inclined to dismiss any and everything that lacks sufficient physical evidence. We fall victim to hard materialism. We operate with a “no proof, no purchase” mentality that puts inflexible limits on how we define reality. But why? And what about the experiential evidence?
When I became an atheist, I chucked anything that could even remotely be connected to my past belief system. I didn’t just cancel the service, I yanked the wire from the wall – full disconnect with no intention of going back. (I did this once with Comcast, too.) I was done with it all, including spirituality. It wasn’t “real”. Not because it wasn’t, but because I decided it wasn’t. On what grounds? Well, it seemed like an incongruent concept to mix with ardent atheism at the time. Yet here I am now reassessing that decision.
I may have been a bit impulsive but that’s how I roll. I blame the ADHD.
Here’s what I’m driving at: Spirituality is not a religious entitlement; it’s a human one. The deeper I delve the more obvious it becomes (to me) that there is a spiritual dimension I’ve been ignoring. I’m really trying to think outside of the box on this because I’m not used to contemplating the spiritual aspects of my existence. That mental muscle has atrophied and I’m having to work to get in back in shape – some good ole metaphysical therapy.
I’m going to chew on this for a while, probably a long while, but I don’t want to sit inside my own thoughts here. I want feedback. I want a discussion. So I’m asking you, what’s your take? Can you be an atheist and still believe in the metaphysical?
Comment below. Looking forward to hearing from you.