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Universal Mystery

Question & Answer


Q: By Ed

I fundamentally agree with your theology (Progressing Spirit) but need a clarification. I once considered myself an atheist (after FINALLY abandoning a strict Southern Baptist brainwashing). However I now consider myself an ‘a-theist’ vs an ‘atheist’. This to me means I have abandoned the Biblical personal God. However, I cannot pull away from ‘Universal Mystery’; especially when I see a real merger of that Mystery with modern Quantum Mechanical concepts. Just wondering if you too have ‘a hole in your soul’.

A: By Rev. Brandan Robertson

Dear Ed,

Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your spiritual journey with us. I want you to know that your spiritual journey is very common. I bet that many, if not most readers of Progressing Spirit, feel the same way that you do.

During the season when I was leaving the evangelical Christianity of my youth, I too jumped to an atheist position. This was primarily a result of my belief that the Church, or its leaders, had access to or represented God; and if their God was supposed to be the real one, there was no way I could believe in him. But as my journey continued, as I have studied science, anthropology, and learned about the evolution of human consciousness – I became utterly convinced that there was a Divine Life that animates and is at work in the Universe. I never feel this more acutely than when I stare into a star-filled night sky and contemplate the reality that we are here, on this ball of dirt, floating in an expansive cosmos. This seems to be the most ridiculous and unlikely reality – and yet, here we are. And as I stare into the sky, contemplating the mystery that is existence, I can’t help but think that such beauty was created for a purpose. That there is some sort of design behind this all. That some consciousness, somewhere has carefully crafted the Reality that we experience.

I think science is overwhelmingly beginning to point in this direction, and the indigenous spiritual traditions of our ancestors have, in many ways, always pointed our gaze away from ourselves into the expansiveness of the Universe, and invited us to wonder at the majesty of it all. In those transcendent moments, I feel that “hole in my soul” fill up for just a moment. And then I return to my rational, modernistic thinking and have all sorts of questions about the validity of religious claims, and I become skeptical of theism altogether once again.

This rhythm of profound awe and deep skepticism is, I think, part of the spiritual rhythm of progressive people of faith. Rather than fearing or judging it, I think we are better served to accept it as a gift, to be honest about our experiences, and to continue walking this journey with others who are traversing similar terrain. I hope you can find that where you live, and I hope that you know that this community here on Progressing Spirit is on this same journey of skepticism and awe with you!

~ Rev. Brandan Robertson

About the Author
Rev. Brandan Robertson is a noted spiritual thought-leader, contemplative activist, and commentator, working at the intersections of spirituality, sexuality, and social renewal and the author of Nomad: A Spirituality For Travelling Light and writes regularly for Patheos, Beliefnet, and The Huffington Post. He has published countless articles in respected outlets such as TIME, NBC, The Washington Post, Religion News Service, and Dallas Morning News. As sought out commentator of faith, culture, and public life, he is a regular contributor to national media outlets and has been interviewed by outlets such as MSNBC, NPR, SiriusXM, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Associated Press.

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