I’ll bet you’re thinking this is the story of one more atheist turned believer. Well, you’re wrong! For once we have a believer turned atheist story by John Gordon.
I’ve had many such deconversions in my lifetime. I de- and re- convert quite often, sometimes daily. It’s all part of the emotional roller coaster I attribute to:
- the weather
- how much in control of my life I feel at the moment
There are times when, at my happiest, I don’t believe in God. There are other times, at my happiest, I do believe in God. There are times, out in nature as Mr. Gordon was, that I see the divinity in Nature itself. And there are other times when nothing of the sort occurs to me except the cruelty of the natural universe.
The whole point of this exercise in belief/unbelief however is that it is completely self-absorbed. As Mr. Gordon writes at the point of his conversion:
In an instant, my self-obsession washed away. I felt connected to everything I saw: the water, the trees, the eagles, the clouds. I felt our shared atoms and immortal energy flowing in time and space. My eyes filled with tears and my legs collapsed from under me. I understood that there was nothing greater — nor did I need anything greater — than this moment. And though I may not have had the words to describe it then, I see now that that was the moment in which any vestiges of a supernatural god, for me, died off. Double-rainbow all the way, man.
Self obsession is a dangerous thing. It creates mass movements and tells dictators that what they think is how the world is. It’s extremely reductive in thinking, assuming that how we see the world is how everyone else also sees the world and is therefore true.
The one question that I find never gets answered about God is this:
If there is one God and one true religion, why is it not universally known among people everywhere and why is it only “revealed” to wandering male prophets in deserts?
perhaps, too much sun.