“I think religion per se, is a ghastly blight on the progress of the human species towards the stars. At the same time, it, or something like it, has been an undeniable source of comfort, meaning and hope for the majority of poor bastards who have ever lived on Earth, so I’m not trying to write it off completely. I just wish that more people were educated to a standard where they could understand what religion is and how it works. Yes, it got us through the night for a while, but ultimately, it’s one of those ugly, stupid arse–over–backwards things we could probably do without now, here on the Planet of the Apes.
“Religion is to spirituality what porn is to sex. It’s what the Hollywood 3–act story template is to real creative writing.
“Religion creates a structure which places ‘special,’ privileged people (priests) between ordinary people and the divine, as if there could even be any separation: as if every moment, every thought, every action was not already an expression of dynamic ‘divinity’ at work.
“As I’ve said before, the solid world is just the part of heaven we’re privileged to touch and play with. You don’t need a priest or a holy man to talk to ‘god’ on your behalf–just close your eyes and say hello. ‘god’ is no more, no less, than the sum total of all matter, all energy, all consciousness, as experienced or conceptualized from a timeless perspective where everything ever seems to present all at once. ‘God’ is in everything, all the time and can be found there by looking carefully. The entire universe, including the scary, evil bits, is a thought ‘God’ is thinking, right now.
“As far as I can figure it out from my own reading and my own experience of how the spiritual world works, Jesus was, as they say, way cool: a man who achieved a state of consciousness, which nowadays would get him a diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy (in the days of the Emperor Tiberius, he was crucified for his ideas; today he’d be laughed at, mocked or medicated).
“This ‘holistic’ mode of consciousness…announces itself as a heartbreaking connection, a oneness, with everything that exists… There are a ton of meditation techniques which can take you to this place. I don’t see it as anything supernatural or religious, in fact, I think it’s nothing more than a developmental level of human consciousness, like the ability to see perspective – which children of 4 cannot do but children of 6 can.
“Everyone who’s familiar with this upgrade will tell you the same thing: it feels as if ‘alien’ or ‘angelic’ voices – far more intelligent, coherent and kindly than the voices you normally hear in your head – are explaining the structure of time and space and your place in it.
“This identification with a timeless supermind containing and resolving within itself all possible thoughts and contradictions, is what many people, unsurprisingly, mistake for an encounter with ‘God.’ However, given that this totality must logically include and resolve all possible thoughts and concepts, it can also be interpreted as an actual encounter with God, so I’m not here to give anyone a hard time over interpretation.
“Some people have the experience and believe the God of their particular culture has chosen them personally to have a chat with. These people may become born–again Christians, fundamentalist Muslims, devotees of Shiva, or misunderstood lunatics.
“Some ‘contactees’ interpret the voices they hear erroneously as communications from an otherworldly, alien intelligence, hence the proliferation of ‘abduction’ accounts in recent decades, which share most of their basic details with similar accounts, from earlier centuries, of people being taken away by ‘fairies’ or ‘little people.’
“Some, who like to describe themselves as magicians, will recognize the ‘alien’ voice as the ‘Holy Guardian Angel.’
“In timeless, spaceless consciousness, the singular human mind blurs into a direct experience of the totality of all consciousness that has ever been or will ever be. It feels like talking with God but I see that as an aspect of science, not religion.
“As Peter Barnes wrote in ‘The Ruling Class’, ‘I know I must be God because when I pray to Him, I find I’m talking to myself.'”