Faith transitions can be rough. Especially if your faith was a thing that you clung to in times of need. I remember one of my very first spiritual experiences. I was a young kid, I had lost my dad’s brand new hammer after working on my treehouse with it. Dad was going to be home soon and would be furious, I was scared. My mom pointed out that Heavenly Father would know were the hammer was and I should ask him. I still remember praying fervently for some help, I was pretty scared. I got up and thought to myself, I need to clear my mind and let impressions flow now if this is gonna work. I did my best to clear my thoughts, then my mind wandered back over the events of the day and boom! I knew exactly where it was and I walked right to it.
I was sure my prayer had been answered, I had after all gotten the help I needed, when I needed it. This pattern continued throughout my life. These experiences became an anchor for me and my personality, they helped me define who I was, and certainly instilled a potential for who I could be. Being confident that you can call on the powers of heaven when you need them is pretty ego boosting. It could explain much of the self confidence I felt in my life. I know that in may cases church creates such an expectation of perfection that many people lose self confidence, especially women. But a mildly narcissistic male that tends to overlook his own deficiencies gets a whole different thing out of the faith. You get God’s power to effect change in the world. God’s!!! How cool is that? So when I lost my faith, it stung. Deeply.
I wondered now that I realized these powers were pretty much all in my head if they would dry up and fade away. What would happen to my purpose in life? To what would I anchor my personality? For a time I flirted with other religious approaches, Christianity, Pantheism. They all seemed to pale from a knowledge perspective, they all showed the same patterns of self deception that I had learned to recognize as I lost the faith of my birth. For a long time I called myself a hopeful agnostic, finally I realized if I was honest my stance was truly an agnostic atheist one.
But I couldn’t lose hope. Maybe I couldn’t be confident there was a powerful alien being from Kolob keeping an eye on things and watching out for me anymore, but that didn’t mean I had to give up hope in the potential of mankind. Just because I didn’t buy the idea that we were created in the image of God anymore didn’t mean that possibility wasn’t still in our future. This may possibly even happen in my lifetime as we accelerate our technology towards the human singularity. Our capabilities today are already God-like compared to a scant hundred years ago. We all carry a seer stone in our pockets where access to knowledge appears on a glowing rocklike surface at our whims. Go ahead and drop your iPhone in a hat and think about how magical that might have seemed to people in a world without electricity less than two centuries ago. Is it silly to hope for humanity to become Gods even if you don’t think one made us? I don’t think so.
To hope is human I think, to find wonder is normal. Turned out the more I let go of religion the more I became concerned about helping people in the now. I think it is because I refocused my hope. My hope for my posterity and love for the life I have been lucky enough to experience is higher than it has ever been. I might live to see the singularity, but if not. I am sure that someone in my posterity will make it and they will get there by standing on the shoulders of those that came before. Why not try and do my part as best I can for those future generations? It’s one of the reasons I started this very blog. Unless some pretty big catastrophe’s strike the planet, there is a measure of immortality in my words as they sit forever spread across the information cloud copied and recopied into the future.
Pondering this sense of immortality one day and seeing a friend go through that loss of identity that accompanies faith I had an epiphany. I felt a message that I desired to tell future generations, something I hope my children read and their kids and so on and so on. Is it what I hope are my last words to be shared when the sun goes out? I haven’t a clue since the future isn’t set. But for here and now it is.
We human’s describe deity on our own terms, God for most of us is the embodiment of good irrespective of what scriptures or leaders might tell us. When we pray and look for guidance, when we hope for something greater that makes the pain worth it. We aren’t focused on the negative, we are reaching for the positive. When faith is lost and you realize that the mythical being you counted on doesn’t exist, it is devastating. You feel like there is a hole where faith once existed and you might want to lose hope as well. But if like me you experienced spiritual awakenings that shaped your life, if like me when the chips were down and you turned inward and carried a prayer in your heart and had it answered. Consider the following:
The answer was real, the feelings were real. The hope and comfort and love you felt were all real. Where did they come from then? The power did in fact affect your life for the better, it did help you change, improve, strive and overcome. In that sense the results were measurable. If there is no divine guide out there looking out for you, then what?
It means the power to overcome, the power to survive, the power to forgive, the power to love and feel and share, the power of will and the power of hope. In short, all the power that you always attributed to God… it was in you all along.
Ironically you are the divine that you are looking for. You always were.