As spirituality is my only reliable source of joy, my rejoinder to the materialists is “Your assertion that spirituality is delusional is like a blind man telling me that art is delusional.” I recognize that is not the most constructive approach, but I have worn myself out trying to puncture their arguments.
The concern is not moot – the self-righteous forces that threaten our civil order are inspired in their loyalty by the spiritual cocoon of acceptance. When told that they are delusional, they are perfectly justified in their rejection of temporal institutions that seek to divorce them from that sustenance. Scientists, in deriding spirituality, are the locus of a great evil in their lives.
Why are the materialists so set in their rejection of spirituality? At root, their complaint is simple: science has no explanation for spiritual experience. Worse, serious attempts to test telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance have failed. The explanation offered by the spiritualists is that the scientific environment generates “negativity” that blocks their skills.
The unfortunate implication – reflected in my retort above – is that the negativity arises from the experimenters. This pits the rationality of science against mystical faith. It pits humanity’s reason against the better angels of its nature.
When I realized that most of our minds exist in our souls, I identified another rationale. Science is reductionist; it tries to decompose systems into their smallest parts with the goal of learning to control outcomes. Given this practice, if you were a spirit arising through billions of years of effort, would you expose yourself to manipulation? Perhaps an analogy would make the choice obvious: the materialists insist that the brain is the mind. The only way to test this hypothesis, unfortunately, is to map every synapse of the brain, control the chemistry of the cerebral-spinal fluid, and inject a controlled stimulus to determine whether the brain responds as predicted by the material laws of the universe. In other words, the test subject would have to sacrifice their life to science.
Not an appealing prospect, is it?
But there is another possible source of the negativity that disrupts scientific study of spiritual experience. Our religious traditions celebrate the avatar’s protection of the faithful from spiritual torment. In both Buddhism and Christianity, that power is held also by their disciples. Those spirits that profit from our torment, then, have an interest in preventing our ascent to spiritual maturity. The negativity, then, would arise from the spiritual realm. It is a form of gaslighting.
How to puncture this falsehood? I found the answer in this week’s Bible study, in a mysterious passage in Luke 11. Jesus is accused of being in league with demons, and concludes his rebuke with these thoughts:
33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”
How can light be darkness, for example? This makes no sense.
And then an incident came back to me. I was down in Port Hueneme doing work for the 2020 Census. On that Sunday, the temperatures ran up into the 90s. The front of the house was exposed to the sun, so I took refuge in a slim slice of shade beneath the eave to disrupt a young family preparing to take their children on an outing. The woman stared at me uncertainly, but answered my questions willingly. Finally, as her husband came to the door to shuttle another child into the minivan, she interrupted me, “You know that your eyes are glowing?”
There is so much of this in the New Testament, where the record elides the stage direction. “Jesus’ eyes began to glow.” He was educating the disciples to moral discernment. When someone offers sacred wisdom, they project light into the world. We don’t need to rely upon the judgment of our minds when confronted with moral controversies – we can see who is telling the truth. So be patient with the materialists. Speak your truth with love. They will be confronted with evidence that their science cannot explain. In the union of rationality and love, we shall surpass human limitations and material constraints, bringing healing to the world in their synthesis: urrationality – rationality that penetrates illusions to reveal the heart of existence.