(I had hoped to do a blog post now about the 2017 AREI Symposium, but I’d like to include a link for 2018 and that website isn’t quite ready. Please watch this space!!)
Many of those who contact me will ask me what I “believe” about this or that. Some of those wrestling with the message of Jesus will talk about maintaining their “Christian faith,” as if having faith were a positive thing. For years I have thought most people were going to outgrow such a lazy way of thinking, but I guess it’s time to say this plainly.
Beliefs are intellectual and spiritual nonsense. We are better off without them!
The fact that humankind is so prone to accepting beliefs as sufficient explanations probably began as a survival tool. Back when it was impossible to know where the rain came from or what happened after death, we thought up comforting beliefs that allayed our fears and made us feel sufficiently powerful to live at peace in this material world. But the problem is that the nimbleness with which we develop our beliefs and cling to them beyond all reason has become an active barrier to our ever really knowing anything.
We can see this problem most easily with religions. People who adhere to a preferred religion are fond of calling themselves “people of faith,” but faith is not a virtue! It’s a cop-out. It is the frank equivalent of saying “I don’t really know what’s going on, but I’m scared that it might be something bad so instead of trying to learn the truth I am going to cling to this happy story.” For Christians such a posture is inexcusable, since it flies in the face of the words of Jesus! He said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (MT 7:7-8). And “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (JN 8:31-32) Free from what? Why, free from merely believing! But Christians seldom listen to Jesus.
And I was reminded again of how badly holding to old beliefs has led mainstream science off course when I came across two more articles about the notion in scientific vogue right now that something like human immortality can be achieved electronically. This sort of thing is the inevitable end-state of scientists clinging to old beliefs and refusing to consider evidence that refutes them.
The false belief so badly distorting mainstream scientists’ ability to come to terms with reality is the notion that solid matter exists, when in fact the core discovery of quantum mechanics – now a full century into the past – is that in fact everything is energy. As no less a light than Nikola Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” And Max Planck, the father of quantum theory, said way back in 1931, ”I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” By 1944 he was concluding that “There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
These scientific geniuses were exactly right! And even despite their insights, to this day scientists have little ability even to understand what consciousness might be. But despite their bumbling, it is now generally understood that even the smallest subatomic particle is merely a vortex of energy. So for mainstream scientists to cling to the belief that consciousness is generated by our material brains is the exact equivalent of believing that your television generates the evening news! Your brain is a receiver and transmitter of your consciousness, and nothing more. But scientists have made an old, nonsensical belief in the solidity of matter the very foundation of modern science, so they also must cling to the erroneous belief that your meat-brain generates who you are. It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry!
Unless we can free ourselves from our ancient attachment to forming and retaining beliefs, humankind is going to remain stuck in this nonsensical acceptance of fictional shortcuts. In perfect fact, believing anything is useless in an age when it is possible to know!