I was raised an Atheist and married a devout Christian. How does that work you might ask. It works because I reconciled my disbelief with my belief. A child’s basic personality is formed by the age of eight or so. It is extremely difficult to change that, but behaviors and beliefs can be “modified” to enable survival in an environment that requires such change. Whether it is actually change or just a temporary departure is relative to how long the different behaviors and beliefs are required. If it is required for a short time, like a performance, it is not change, but if it lasts to your dying day, call it change. I took a film class many years ago and learned about suspension of disbelief and the fourth wall and all that stuff. More on that later. People will “believe” the Earth is round because they will be taught it is so and be given examples of evidence, such as objects sinking below the horizon and the movement of apparently spherical objects in the sky like the Sun and Moon. So we believe. Most of us.
Some of us do not want to accept what others do believe for various reasons. From an evolutionary point of view this fills a small niche and insures these doubting Thomas types will survive some odd environment that requires one to automatically reject what others believe. In our modern world far more of these types survive than would in a prehistoric setting and because of a tremendous population there are a fairly large number of contrarian and cognitively dissonant people. Millions of them. What makes us the strangest creatures on Earth is our far more common denial of death and acceptance of religious belief despite no scientific evidence across the centuries justifying our assumptions about the necessity of a God or Gods. Billions of us accept there is almost certainly some higher power. We have our moments of doubt of course, and Christians even believe Christ had his moment of doubt.
Science would seem to place those many more billions of people of faith in that same category of contrarian and cognitively dissonant Flat Earthers but we intuitively know there is a fundamental difference. We are designed to seek meaning- and an ultimate meaning would necessarily be ultimately self-aware and intelligent. The alternate view, is that God is just a clever evolutionary device that protects us from the unacceptable reality of oblivion. In other words, there is no designer. But…the universe is a strange place and in my view it is just as likely there is an ultimate meaning that is ultimately self-aware and intelligent. I would say to anyone on the street the reason God is invisible is to allow us to exercise free will, or the illusion of free will. Why would God allow us only an illusion and not true free will? I would say to that- the reality is in the future. The far future where we travel back across eternity to the beginning; to God.
I am not a big fan of the “Intelligent Design” movement because if God wants to not interfere with our free will and be invisible, it would seem contrary to that to “prove” otherwise. I believe it is more to the point to try to effect what we would have in the past only prayed for as divine intervention. See how that works?
This kind of thinking was not really possible before science came along and presented humans with “miracles” like time travel as real possibilities. And time travel into the future is absolutely possible and more an engineering problem than any fundamental challenge to the laws of physics. When approaching the speed of light time on the starship slows down and a 5 year round trip to another star might find the traveler returning to Earth a thousand years in the future. Of course travel backwards in time is the trick and we might have to build super-intelligent machines to figure out how to solve that. So we will, if we survive long enough as a species. Time travel is essentially resurrection and as a Christian I know all about that.
Breaking the fourth wall in theater and film is an amazing device and in real life the equivalent is to talk about death as if it is real and imminent. The comparison is interesting in that if you simply act without a fourth wall then…you are not acting anymore and you are living. The play ends and reality begins. If you express death as the constant fundamental opposite of existence that is immanent, then extreme stress and confusion arises in the group. Much like when flat earthers start ranting and demanding the textbooks be changed. We are social creatures and do not exist apart and eternal as gods. We are born into families and societies and depend on others for survival. Neoliberalism is a flat earth attempt to deny our collective identity by making the super-rich into demi-gods.
In a 70 year lifespan our brains store about 1 gigabyte of detailed information. If a 18 dollar thumb drive can store 64 gigs it does not say much about us. But there is more to humans than memory storage. We are a problem-solving species and collectively pursue incredibly complex goals.
It is confusing and how we individually weave threads of “alternative facts” and self-deception makes up the fabric of civilization. When politicians want to make a lie into the truth they call it an alternative fact and when we want to make an invisible God visible we call it faith. Quid est veritas?
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote of the passage and extended praise to Pilate:
“Do I still have to add that in the entire New Testament there is only one solitary figure one is obliged to respect? Pilate, the Roman governor. To take a Jewish affair seriously – he cannot persuade himself to do that. One Jew more or less – what does it matter ?… The noble scorn of a Roman before whom an impudent misuse of the word ‘truth’ was carried on has enriched the New Testament with the only expression which possesses value – which is its criticism, its annihilation even: ‘What is truth?…” (Nietzsche, writing in The Antichrist, §46)(wiki)
As the spirit guide and justifier of genocide for the Nazi’s, Nietzsche had no use for faith in anything except “The Will To Power” (der Wille zur Macht). It is a problem for me that we are so capable of destroying each other yet we do not combine well for any drive in the opposite direction. In fact, we refuse to even consider the possibility of focusing on the physical challenges of first freezing without damage those dying and then perfecting the reversing of aging and waking them up. While we collectively are good at war we do not seem capable of turning that switch in the opposite direction.
But anything is possible as the universe is much larger than even the collective consciousness of 7.8 billion people. Each person has more connections in their brain than there are stars in the galaxy. How those connections interact equate to the number of galaxies in the universe. With each of those 7.8 billion little three pound universes having their own unique view- while the larger universe might have a different opinion. If the universe is in some sense a part of the mind of God then we should seek to stay here for now and become more than what we are. Our best course is to defeat death and travel back in time to resurrect the dead. That is the best path and we should freely choose to seek it.