God Does Not Exist

‘Consider, for instance, the recent and curious episode of the “God Helmet.” If you have not heard of it before, this was a device that for a time was believed to have the power to induce “religious” experiences in those who wore it, simply by stimulating the temporal lobes of the brain with weak magnetic field emissions. Its inventor was the cognitive neuroscientist Michael Persinger, who began studying religious mental states as early as the 1970s, and who eventually hit upon the theory that all such experiences have something to do with the structure of the bicameral brain. Perhaps, he speculated, a man who finds himself seized by a mystical sense of an unseen presence—God, an angel, an extraterrestrial, a ghost, a fairy, what have you—is merely experiencing a transient excitation of neurons that causes his brain’s left hemisphere to become indirectly aware of the distinct and usually tacit “alternate self” of the right hemisphere.’ David Bentley Hart

The results of the ‘God Helmet’ were roundly dismissed, the effects shown to be products of their own imagination.

As Bentley Hart rightly points out, even if the ‘God Helmet’ had worked it would not have proven anything in terms of God as no-one in classical theism is denying the reality of how an encounter with God would indeed have an effect upon the physical reality of our brains. But this is not the emphasis of this blog post.

What the ‘God Helmet’ saga demonstrates to me is the misconception again and again that God is somehow a bigger version of us or created reality. Dawkins often gets way out of his depth and is breathtakingly lacking in all theological and philosophical understanding when he purports that ‘Any God capable of designing a universe…must be a supremely complex and improbable entity.’

God, quite simply, is not like created ‘stuff’.  You will not find God looking through a telescope or under a microscope because God is not part of created reality.  Certainly God is deeply and passionately involved with all things, but he is not like created things.

God does not exist the way you and I exist.

The Church in the West is, at the moment, heading towards Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. In the resurrection of Jesus we see that death has no part in God.  Death stands against all that God is. In the death of Jesus we see and recognise our own violence and sin and how human reality is one of death. The death of Jesus exposes our mimetic rivalistic violent desires and the way we scapegoat and expel the innocent victim to satisfy our vampiric violence in order to try and overcome death on our own terms in our own violent ways. In the resurrection we see God nonviolently overthrow our violence, expose our scapegoating, trample down death and declare its toxicity as well as revealing how it has no place in who God is.

Created reality decays and dies. Plants, animals, stars, humans – everything dies.

God however is not like created reality. Death and decay have no place in God’s own Self because God is beyond and completely Other. God cannot be empirically tested or examined because God is Ultimate Reality, wholly Other to creation.

If materialists and strident atheists could at least begin to grapple with this point then at least the debate could start from a place of validity.

The resurrection of Jesus reveals this God who is not like us yet invites us to become like him, to share in the Divine dance and know Life. God is present with us, loving us, beckoning us to know His love for ourselves, inviting us into his eternal, everlasting, all-encompassing embrace. When the early Christians declared ‘Jesus is alive!’ they were declaring that God is Life, in him there is no death.

So God is not MAN said in a loud voice as Karl Barth highlighted.  God is not like creation.  God is wholly Other.

In other words, God does not exist.


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