Springingtiger's Blog


Devotional Atheism

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I sometimes describe myself as a devotional atheist. I do not mean that, like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, I have elevated atheism into a religion as dogmatically inflexible and intolerant as any theistic cult. I mean rather that my devotion is literally a-theistic. I do not worship a God, but I tend to call that to which my devotion, if it may be called devotion, is turned, Siva.

The non dualism I practice includes all possibilities, even though all of them are, when not in error, very limited. Without agreeing with any of them it includes Jerry Falwell, the Pope, Osama Bin Laden, Richard Dawkins and Josef Stalin and any and every opinion that can, has been or will be held or expressed. Even the most sublime theologians, the loftiest philosophers, most inspired artists are only human and are limited by their humanity. Whatever brings all this into being and sustains it is beyond our ability to know. Indeed every conception we have of God, given it is generated by a human mind is, if not wrong, so far short of ultimate reality as to be largely irrelevant.

I am not saying either religion or science is irrelevant to our daily lives. We need models by which to make sense of the world on which we live and to provide optimal standards of behavior. Our stupidity arises when we believe our models to be true and prefer one to another. I don’t suppose any intelligent person would these days reject the theory of evolution, but let us be clear it is only the most plausible model we have of how we reached this point in chronological time. and we should not be so attached to it that we cannot let it go when a better evidenced theory arises to replace it.

Only a fool believes they have all the answers, or that their scripture, prophet or guru has the answers. Indeed, as Werner Erhard says the power lies in the question. I cannot describe Siva, Siva is too far beyond my human mind the best I can do is approach him with wonder at his manifest creation and with an open mind. I cannot even define good or evil because this universe is greater than our morality, I can only accept that things happen as they should, whether the performance of evil or the fight against it. People must behave as they believe appropriate, but they should not fool themselves that they are right or wrong. In NLP we say that, “A person does the best they can with the resources they have available” and that, “Every action has a positive intention” we may not agree with an action, but that may be because we may have a different model of the world.

The devotional atheism of the Saivite is not even a model of the world it is a formless model that lives in the unknown. People must follow the best path they can, the Saivite chooses to walk where there is no path, a well trodden, yet untrodden, pathless path. I don’t know where I am going, but I will know when I shall get there…perhaps. (Cosmic joke)
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