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Feb 12, 2012 by

Colon Hannaford – “Can atheists achieve union with God?”

I thought about this whilst making a pot of tea. “Yes, they can. Actually they have an important advantage.”

“Can you explain this briefly?” You mean, now? I can try.

Suppose that we have been sharing a prison cell. You have been told you may soon be released. I will soon be shot. You have learnt to trust me. You asked me these questions.

Here’s what you probably already know.

Until recently the sciences were highly materialistic. Now it is becoming apparent that what is most important in any possible universe is the ordering of information. Scientists would like to know what fundamental principle controls this ordering. They are having to guess.

Some ancient religions, especially of India and China, have always claimed that we only perceive an illusion. Beyond the illusion is a void. Within the void is the intelligence that orders and controls the universe. The aim of these religions is to contact this intelligence.

Traditionally this principle, this intelligence, is known as God. You may have talked to it as a child. I have suggested that it may be understood as honesty. It may appear to us as a hugely powerful protective being of our own form and nature. This is also traditional.

And this is what you want to meet. To do so requires a higher level of consciousness. Paradoxically, you may then feel a child again, with a child’s innocence and courage. This will already make it worthwhile. You may also decide that, if it is eternal, so are you. This is a foolish thought, but comforting. It is the basis of most if not all religions. It may be true.
Now we can begin.

All systems of belief are meant to be consistent and coherent.

They are all orderings of information.

Like a phase state.

Phase states are usually stable.

When they become critical, they can change almost instantly into another.

 

A very cold liquid may be in a critical state.

A tiny crystal has a different order of information.

It is like a contradiction.

It can cause the liquid to change almost instantly into a crystal.

This reacts to light – that is, to information – very differently.

 

Contradictions always disturb systems of thought.

They can cause whole systems to change instantly.

I had once a total belief in science.

I had begun to realise that I only knew what I had been told,

Then a major contradiction appeared.

 

Certainty ceased to be certain.

In this instant I realized

That I didn’t try to be honest and to ask questions

For myself.

Angrily I demanded: WHO wants this?

 

I have described elsewhere what happened next.

 

Now you may be in much the same situation.

You believed in your religion.

It was your system of thought.

You believed what you had been told.

You were not allowed to think differently.

 

I want you to go back to your religion.

To enter it uncritically.

To immerse yourself again.

To sing and pray joyfully,

Just as you did when you were satisfied.

 

You need to do this until you know

That person again.

Uncritical, unquestioning,

Without self,

Believing its contradictions can be explained.

 

Learn to pray as well alone.

Do this also joyfully,

Without question,

Without doubt.

Learn to be satisfied with this too.

 

One day

Be sure this will happen.

It may be in public worship.

It may be in private.

Something will trigger your need.

 

Suddenly you will realize

That the system of belief

That you have again learnt to depend on

Is unable to deal with contradictions

Which you cannot accept.

 

Then, in that instant,

You will know that there is higher intelligence.

It expects you to make this discovery,

It has waited for you to realise that this is why you are alive.

Then you should say, aloud if you like: “I want to know YOU!”

 

If there is a response,

And there may be, then you can ask:

“Please, fill me with your grace.”

And this may happen too.

I wish you the joy of it.

 

Of course, you may ask,

What if I fail?

And why can millions pray every day

Without making this discovery?

What’s missing from this plan of yours?

 

Nothing.

They see no contradictions.

This is why there are so many religions.

They provide comfort to many.

But they also divide.

 

Some believe that science describes reality.

That science would end wars.

But, pointlessly discovering a pointless universe,

Life without consciousness or free will,

Such science declares life pointless too.

 

Sad people.

Dangerous people.

If their lives have no value,

Or purpose,

Neither, they say, has yours.

 

They are wrong.

Everyone can decide for themselves

What level of consciousness,

What order of information,

They want for themselves.

 

The gate is not always open.

Nor is it locked.

Try.

If you fail, try again.

This is expected too.

 

Athletes train themselves to exceed every previous performance by imagining themselves exceeding. This has been an attempt to help you imagine an event which you may have believed impossible. The event is modelled on my own experience. It was recognised by scholars as authentic, precisely because others have made very similar reports.

As far as possible, try to be spontaneous. It is important not to be anxious. I was not anxious. I was angry not to have recognised my boss , my overseer, for so long. It was not necessary for me to meditate for hours or wait for some drug to take effect. I asked for help. The response was instantaneous.

Many have tried and failed. Perhaps they were too anxious. Perhaps they were still trying to prove their own belief. But honesty is ruthless. We live on air, water, food, warmth. Hatred kills. Love must be demanding: on the lover. These beliefs are true.

It is essential to throw off your old beliefs, just as children throw off and trample their clothes in order to feel free.

But it is also essential to know that you are not begging for refuge.

This is your home. It is your right to ask for grace.

In this experiment, you have the advantage of being many, whilst at the same time everyone can remain anonymous. Atheists have a further advantage in being almost free of unnecessary beliefs. It is essential not to pretend. Remember that many are called: few are chosen.. You are not trying to prove anything. You are not competing Dishonesty may impress others, but you must live with it.

If you are able, let us know how you get on.

Colin.
12th February 2012.
Oxford

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