by Justin Deschamps,
I had the privilege of listening to this fascinating discussion today, between Sam Harris and Russell Brand.
Part of my work is to explore the development of morality (service-to-others philosophy) on our evolving world, for the purpose of producing materials that enhance the momentum toward morality already present hereon. Normally these discussions occur in quiet corners of the world, especially as related to spiritual concepts that flirt with more “fringe” subjects, such as Ufology.
For myself, no topic or subject is unworthy of consideration—a technique that has served me well over the years. I love digging into a seemingly “false or disinfo laden” topics only to discover truths to be unearthed. The truth is everywhere present, the task is to develop a sensitivity to the truth that is often hidden away, waiting to be discovered.
In concert with that idea, I decided to listen to this interview, specifically because Sam Harris is a popular atheist who has attempted and succeeded in some respects, to develop a moral understanding freedom from spiritual concepts. This moral understanding, as I was able to distill from the interview, is congruent with more spiritual philosophies, such as the golden rule. It’s this congruency that can be so fascinating and encouraging—that is people of different walks of life and ideological biases can arrive at the same essential truth—if they are honest enough. This fact in and of itself establishes a strong case for the underlying spiritual fabric of reality itself, and that through philosophy and consciousness, the singular spiritual mountaintop of existence can be approached.
I haven’t had a chance to review all of Sam Harris’s material, but I find the overarching arguments he provides for a secular humanist universalism quite compelling.
For myself, a theist (one who explores the concepts of a conscious spiritual universe), but one who doesn’t rest on any extrinsic religious doctrines, agree with some of what Sam has to say. I was an atheist for many years, and only through pursuing truth as far as I could did I eventually realize that a theistic view of reality was the most rational and inclusive of the phenomena encountered in reality. The theistic explanation is the best one as far as I can tell, it explains all available phenomena without discounting anything—which is how most atheistic theories of reality get around the harder questions, like the mind-body connection, morphogenic resonance, reincarnation, OBEs and similar phenomena.
I encountered a spiritual work called the Urantia Book some years back, wherein they describe a great many things, particularly how knowledge of spiritual realities emerges on a planet—a slow evolutionary process that often takes thousands of years. What’s interesting is that the more honest secular humanists, of which it appears Harris might be a good example, do a really good job of articulating the practical benefits of a theistic view of the world, a more scientific appreciation of morality and ethics—despite the fact they reject the theistic view. This is important in later stages of socio-spiritual development on an evolving world because it allows dogma to be replaced by spiritual rationalism. So for his part, Sam seems to be an aggregator of extremely useful ideas that a theist can grasp onto and use as a bridge to merge the more abstract realms of spirituality with the more earthy practical aspects of a personal spirituality.
In other words, you can approach spiritual values that are in harmony with morality without using a concept of an intelligent creator to do so—this is the secular humanist theorm. This is what Harris and others who pursue secular humanism do in their quest to answer metaphysical questions or morality. But, these axioms and cannons of universally applicable values (things that are good for everyone) are not nested in a transcendent origin concept—they don’t come from a source, they just emerge via additive consequences of creature existence itself.
Secular humanists, as far as I have been able to tell in my modest exploration of this topic, tend to source these moral priniples from biology and the laws of physics, that what is good for all tends to be good for the individual, and we need not question beyond the biological explanation of this. But the creator concept, if properly rendered in the mind, has the power to provide one of the best explanations for why morality exists and where it comes from—well beyond the biological. The laws of physics and biology came from some where, thus, the secular humanist’s efforts fail to answer the question: “If morality came from biology and physics, where did biology and physics come from?” In fact, the Urantia Book cites that all the various laws of physics, biology, mind, and so on, are part of a scheme for universal evolution of the soul and consciousness, which a great many other spiritual works and philosophies assert as well.
I would say, there is a real science to spirituality, an enduring path that stretches forward in time for those who quest for ultimate truth and encounter universally applicable values. But science and religion will forever be divorced, it seems until religions let go of the antiquated techniques of forced indoctrination. Further, science must begin to acknowledge and contend with the non-material and seek to understand the phenomenological—the mystical and subjective—free from the irrational biases of the entrenched scientific atheistic materialists.
In my view, this synthesis of true science and honest religion has already begun, ages past, but advances in this regard have had to be kept secret due to the fact certain powerful forces use both science and religion to surreptitiously distort the minds of those less capable of philosophic thought, for the purposes of mind control. In short, the greatest advances in science and spiritual understanding (true religion) have been hidden from the people, specifically to create a false image of reality that thereby augments the thinking of those trapped within such a worldview.
I have many conversations with brave individuals who freely explore a great many ideas, and a kind of secular theism is emerging, that is, individuals are exploring ideas that allow them to transcend dogmatic religions via the use of critical thinking and rational thought. True spiritual science and noble religion is about to emerge it seems, and venues like this one (online) seem to be a good place to meet them.
As a counterpart to this emerging, more honest and inclusive spirit science and mystical religion, the development of discussion forums is extremely helpful. The fruit of truth-seeking—true knowledge—benefits the individual immensely, but if one doesn’t share it with the world, it dies with them. I think we need to restore the brotherhood and sisterhood concept, a fellowship of individuals who value the truth and work to share it and preserve it for themselves and the future generations of this world.
We’re living in at a time when we can, via the internet, form lasting and beneficial relationships with each other for the purpose of continuing to enhance our knowledge of the truth and develop social institutions that share this knowledge with others—free from the socially dogmatic techniques of the past. In my view, honest investigation, dialog, tolerance, compassion, and philosophy are the tools we need to share ideas with each other without infighting and without a reactionary closemindedness when new ideas counter what we accept as true.
Part of my mission, as I am increasingly becoming aware of, is the creation of social projects for the purpose of providing the individual and the collective the tools they need to propel their truth seeking and social service forward. I know that in time we can restore trust and fellowship in each other for undreamed of power to change the status quo, using ethical, moral, and socially uplifting means.
I hope to continue to find like-minded people who are interested in this Great Work of sharing and enhancing the wisdom we as a species have accumulated over the ages. With knowledge comes power, and with fellowship, we can wield our individual powers with great social effect, for the good of all.
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About The Author
Justin Deschamps has been a truth seeker all his life. He studies physics, psychology, law, philosophy, and spirituality, working to weave these seemingly separate bodies of information into a holistic tapestry of ever expanding knowledge. Justin is a student of all and a teacher to some. He humbly seeks those who are willing to take responsibility for making themselves and the world a better place. The goal of his work is to help himself and others become better truth-seekers, and in doing so, form a community of holistically minded individuals capable of creating world healing projects for the benefit of all life—what has been called The Great Work. Check out his project Stillness in the Storm to find some of his work. Follow on Twitter @sitsshow, Facebook Stillness in the Storm, and minds.com.
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