I am a single vibration, in a single note, in a magnificent symphony, and in prayer I consciously respond to and add my voice to the chorus of life. March 16, 2016 Post
Just finished Gretta Vosper’s With Or Without God. She concludes with a discussion about the meaning of prayer in a universe where there is no god, and examines what the urge to pray might mean when there is no-one out there to pray to?
Vosper references Freud’s theory that prayer is a carryover from infancy, when we are wholly dependent upon our parents – primarily our mothers – for sustenance and protection. Our parents are the archetypes of God, projected into the larger world beyond the circle of family.
Seems an adequate explanation for the phenomenon of prayer, but I think it would be a mistake to settle on that as the only reason we pray. For a narrow atheist the Freudian theory is convenient because it effectively removes God from the equation and demotes prayer to the realm of thumb-sucking. In winning an argument, however, I think such a facile dismissal of prayer as a meaningful urge diminishes the relevance of atheism itself.
The correct definition of ‘atheism’ is a disbelief in the existence of a god or gods. That definition is not at all incompatible with a belief in a spiritual realm. And when you think about it, many of humanity’s most moving and convincing experiences are rooted in the belief in something irrational, something spiritual.
My convoluted, existentialist logic leads me to the unavoidable conclusion that, not only is the spiritual realm likely, it’s essential (Who am I?) – for me the irrational is perfectly rational, it would seem, and I have friends and enemies who will confirm that is my honestly expressed state of being. Without a spiritual realm history, art, science, humanism in its deepest and most elevating manifestations, becomes meaningless if not impossible.
But there is no such thing as spirit disassociated from energy and matter as far as I am concerned. Spirit is incarnate, always and everywhere. And individual manifestations of spirit evaporate when the material context they inhabit – commonly known as our bodies – dies. I experience and express the Life Force for my twinkling; the urge of the Life Force in me is to explore, express and experience the consciousness of the universe awakening; the awe and wonder of that arousal only resonate in me when I recognize myself as part of a much larger evolution – an evolution that encompasses me in both space and time.
Prayer, then, is my fervent, conscious hallelujah shouted into that greater, collective consciousness. I hope that shout is in some sense ‘heard’; that my celebration of the universe that is, and yearning for a world that’s better, will vibrate sympathetically in the realm of spirit.
And if it doesn’t? That’s a topic for future consideration in Why do I pray? – Take 3
Upcoming Ideas: Who am I? / Nothing out of Nothing – so every thing’s always been / The four aspects of living spirit: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual / Morality, Ethics and Natural Rights / Ego: The necessary illusion / Just because or jest because / I think, therefore I spam / Who do I pray to (Take 3) / Killing gods is no laughing matter.