One of the things that prevents atheists from even talking about the idea of the Divine is that they think of God as the proverbial “old man on the throne up in the sky.”
It’s obviously a narrow and relatively juvenile view — but one that speaks more to ignorance than hate. Many atheists have simply never been given a context within which the concept of the Divine can be discussed or understood.
“For a Jew, life is a partnership with God … You cannot pray to God without petitioning yourself.”
There are ways to engage them in the conversation by learning about other valuable spiritual philosophies. Doing so doesn’t undermine our own faith or spiritual beliefs, but there are approaches to the Big Questions that pull directly from our faiths and bring value to these philosophies.
This is not about grabbing an atheist and converting him overnight. This is about getting the conversation started in a language atheists can understand.
One philosophy worth learning about is called Science of Mind, also known as Religious Science. In fact, most people have probably even heard of one of the leading figures of this early 20th century movement: Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Emerson, along with the founder of Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes, themselves emerged out of the New Thought movement of the 19th century.
The general conceits of New Thought — and these will be very familiar — are that there is an Infinite Intelligence, known as God, and it is everywhere. God is infinite, supreme, universal, and everlasting. In addition, Divinity itself dwells within each of us, and the highest spiritual principle is to unconditionally love each other. Another vital core belief: Our mental state does manifest into the physical and becomes an experiential part of life.
Anybody can get behind these ideas, particularly the last two. It’s hard to argue with unconditional love, and our culture has widely accepted the idea of “mind over matter” and “think positively.”
Readers will obviously see these are tenets derived from Judeo-Christian belief, mixed with a little Buddhism. This Infinite Intelligence is often referred to as “Christ Consciousness,” in fact, for Jesus was a blueprint for wholeness, of achieving oneness with God. By recognizing and aligning ourselves with God’s presence, or the Christ Consciousness, we have access to all the gifts the Lord provides.
As I like to explain to atheists, I think of God as being an energy that flows through me that I can access any time I choose (and yes, you better believe George Lucas pulled from some of this same stuff when he created “The Force”).
Science of Mind also aligns itself with the concept of affirmative prayer. Yes, thinking positively — those cultural buzzwords that people have rightly bought into — is a core belief of Science of Mind. Atheists dismiss prayer because of a misperception, that it is of an individual asking a separate Divine being to engage in an act that contravenes the laws of physics, aka magic. That’s not the case at all.
Both Christians and Jews engage in affirmative prayer. The late Rabbi Harold Schulweis said, “For a Jew, life is a partnership with God … You cannot pray to God without petitioning yourself.” Science of Mind asks the same — that because we are manifestations of God, we have the power to petition ourselves and God simultaneously, to find strength from within.
Breaking down Science of Mind further, one will discover that most of its core beliefs are really derived directly from Christian theology.
However, it doesn’t regard Christ as the literal son of God — though it does regard him as a prophet.
Lawrence Meyers writes about everything from faith and popular culture to public policy and finance. He is the manager of the forthcoming Liberty Portfolio stock newsletter, has written 3 books and over 2,300 articles for websites such as Breitbart, TownHall, and InvestorPlace.