Theists often struggle to understand how I can maintain a deep sense of sacred awe without believing in the supernatural. They seem to assume that a life without God is a dry, artless, wonderless existence. As I discussed with Matt Langston in a recent episode of Sacred Tension, my personal experience is much the opposite. I feel like nontheism has ripped away the veil between me and the fundamental mysteries of reality. The utter inexplicability of being, without a God to rely on as an answer, is the most sacred and mysterious thing I have ever experienced.
I recently stumbled across this quote by Lilith Starr in her book Compassionate Satanism which resonated with my own experience of nontheistic awe:
I liked the idea that everything was holy just as it is ─ that indeed reality itself is sacred, without the need for an external power to make it so. Zen dovetailed easily with science, which formed another pillar of my belief system. I saw the sacred blazoned across the cosmos in the principles of self-organization. Reality held all the spirituality I needed.
I occasionally see discussions in religious circles about a need for a re-enchantment of the world: that atheism, science, and materialism have robbed us of our innate wonder and interconnectedness. The alienation of a godless world, some claim, deprives humanity of its moral code and capacity for fulfillment.
I do not relate. I am more religious and spiritual now than I ever have been, precisely because I have no god. There is nothing more sacred than the conscious experience of the present moment, more awe-inspiring than the vastness of space, or more confounding than the hard problem of consciousness.
Being rid of God is like being born again and again and again, blinking in awe at the utter mysteriousness and sacredness of reality.
But that’s just me. What do you think? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, or on my discord server. Also, don’t forget to become a patron so I can continue to bring you content every single week.