Self Help

The Future of God - Deepak Chopra

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Matheus Puppe

· 42 min read

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Here is a summary of the praise for Deepak Chopra’s book The Future of God:

  • Several scientists and academics praise Chopra for reconciling ancient Eastern spirituality with modern science. A nuclear physicist agrees Chopra’s view is consistent with quantum mechanics.

  • Critics say Chopra successfully argues that randomness cannot explain life and that materialism is a delusion. Chopra shows how God and consciousness are evolving alongside our understanding of science.

  • Praise comes from experts in physics, psychiatry, chemistry, consciousness studies, and more. Chopra is said to address the arrogance of “new atheists” and dismantle their assertion that life is meaningless.

  • The book is called an important, brilliant exposition that maturely challenges simplistic debates around belief vs disbelief. Chopra lays out a vision of God that is compatible with modern understanding and addresses persistent questions.

  • Praise highlights how Chopra deftly engages controversial issues and provides thoughtful, compelling reasons why spirituality remains necessary even in light of scientific advances. The Future of God is deemed a much-needed contribution.

Here is a summary of the key points from the introduction and prologue:

  • Faith in God is in crisis as unbelief and doubts have risen, especially with movements like militant atheism casting doubt on religious claims. Many no longer see God as relevant or actively involved in their daily lives.

  • The author argues the real crisis is finding a God that can be trusted and matters. At the “zero point” of faith, God does not seem to make a difference in tough life situations.

  • To restore faith, a deeper exploration of existence is needed rather than new religions or scriptures. The author wants to show how God can be as real as anything trusted in and reliable like the sunrise.

  • Atheism is complicated and not all atheists have lost faith entirely. But militant atheists like Dawkins actively promote spiritual nihilism. Faith must be saved for everyone.

  • The prologue quotes a mystic poet to convey the passion and love that faith once held. The author hopes to show God is possible again if faith can be restored through a rethinking of reality and what is truly possible. The spiritual path starts with an open curiosity that God may exist.

In summary, the introduction frames the crisis of faith and the goal of the book to restore a viable, trustworthy concept of God through a deeper exploration of reality and existence beyond current narrow views of faith and skepticism.

  • God has traditionally been viewed as distant and impersonal, but may actually be closer than our own breath. Spiritual experiences of God are real for some people across history.

  • Thoreau advised trusting spiritual experiences and comparing notes with figures like Zoroaster, rather than dismissing them as primitive. However, skeptics argue religion persists due to social enforcement, not truth.

  • Most people exist in a state of unbelief, faith or certain knowledge of God. Moving from unbelief to faith to knowledge is evolutionarily possible.

  • Unbelief leaves one feeling life has no purpose. Faith often leads to rigidity. True knowledge seems rare. Yet God remains faintly present in all states.

  • God 1.0 viewed God as a projection of human needs - protector, lawgiver, etc. But faith is now dismantled. A deeper shift sees God 2.0 as a verb, not noun - an experience rather than an entity. Human spiritual evolution is taking a new form.

  • God has traditionally been projected as fulfilling certain human needs like the need for security, community, understanding, creativity, moral guidance, and unity. However, these projections are unreliable and cross-inhibit each other.

  • A new version of God, called God 2.0, is proposed that is not a projection but the underlying reality from which existence springs.

  • With God 2.0, experiencing God becomes a journey inward through increasing levels of connection:

    • The first connection results in moments of inner peace, bliss, and feeling that one matters. Everyday life becomes easier.
    • The deeper connection transforms one through insights into purpose and bonding with others. Outer distractions lose their grip.
    • The total connection reveals one’s true self to be God as pure consciousness. The individual ego expands to the cosmic level in a state of enlightenment.
  • In reality, we are already completely connected to God as the source of existence. But different states of consciousness perceive this differently. Turning within can reveal the underlying divine reality beyond the material world.

This passage discusses the path to experiencing God from the perspective of increasing states of awareness. It outlines three main states:

  1. Unbelief - Where a person relies on reason and doubt. They question religious inconsistencies and myths. Science shows how to be skeptical. Unbelief clarifies thinking and forces maturity without traditional beliefs.

  2. Faith - Even non-religious people experience faith. It provides vision and direction before full understanding. Faith can be positive or negative, bringing security but also close-mindedness. It engages both emotions and higher reasoning.

  3. Knowledge - The goal is moving from “I have faith in God” to “I know God exists” through internal certainty. God is experienced through expanding consciousness over a lifetime, not a single revelation. Neural pathways must be remodeled through repetitive spiritual experiences and self-transformation over time, like developing a new skill.

The key idea is that finding God is a gradual, lifelong process of shifting perspectives from non-belief, to openness of faith, to internal knowing. It requires an open mind, questioning traditions, and focus on growing spiritual experiences and awareness rather than dogma. Unbelief, faith and knowledge all have roles to play along the unfolding path.

  • Richard Dawkins is cited as giving militant atheism its polemical stance through works like The God Delusion. He does not just reject God but shows contempt for spirituality altogether.

  • Dawkins portrays religion in its most extreme forms negatively, using examples of violence and human rights abuses committed in the name of religion. However, he attributes all religious belief to delusion and argues atheism would solve many issues.

  • The God Delusion received some criticism for its extremist tactics in condemning all religious belief equally, whether moderate or fundamentalist.

  • The author argues Dawkins overstates the number of doubters just waiting to embrace atheism and overlooks more nuanced thinkers like Einstein who debated the relationship between science and spirituality.

  • While not conventionally religious, Einstein saw value in spirituality and religion beyond just discernible laws and science. He believed in a deeper subtle force beyond human comprehension that he considered his religion. This indicates spirituality is more complex than Dawkins acknowledges.

  • In summary, the passage criticizes Dawkins’ militant atheism as taking an overly simplistic and polemical stance against all religious belief, when the relationship between science and spirituality is more nuanced, as thinkers like Einstein explored.

  • Einstein was not necessarily “looking for God behind the curtain of material appearances.” He explored both the material world through science but also perceived a subtle, non-material realm of existence.

  • Einstein took the bold step of trying to understand if a single reality encompasses both a drive to believe in a higher power and the need to explain nature through independent laws/processes.

  • Einstein expressed the dichotomy between science explaining nature without needing God, yet the universe seeming random/meaningless without God.

  • Einstein felt nature’s orderliness and intricate beauty could not be accidental. He fought against the random universe of quantum mechanics.

  • Einstein understood the ambiguity of the human situation - we have a “dim consciousness” of something beyond the observable universe.

  • Einstein progressed toward a more secular but still open spirituality, allowing God and reason to coexist without conflict. He wanted to understand God’s mind by first explaining the human mind.

  • Einstein surpassed Dawkins in his humility towards existence’s unattainable secrets and fascination with the unseen realm where wonder begins. He advocated for a broad, tolerant view of spirituality.

The passage argues against militant atheism and advocates for spiritual renewal and an openness to personal spiritual exploration.

It criticizes the rhetoric used by some prominent atheists like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Dennett, terms like “superstition”, “false consolation”, and “mind-forged manacles of servility”. It says they lump all religious believers together and use bullying arguments meant to crush any spiritual yearning.

The passage questions militant atheism’s claim that abandoning religion would make people happier and more purposeful. It cites a novelist who feels disillusioned by the lack of meaning without God or an afterlife.

It argues spiritual fulfillment is a deeper human need than just rationality or intelligence. While science contains no wonder or mystery, people add this through spirituality.

The passage criticizes Dawkins’ argument that God’s existence is improbable and unlikely. It says direct spiritual experiences throughout history should carry weight, and improbability is the wrong framework since unexpected things like the platypus exist regardless of probabilities. Spirituality is a universal human phenomenon.

In conclusion, it advocates for spiritual renewal and an open inquiry into one’s own spiritual beliefs rather than militant rejection of religion promoted by some atheist thinkers. People should thoughtfully explore their spiritual aspirations rather than have them crushed.

  • Ian Stevenson’s decades-long research on cases of children who seem to remember past lives found over 2,500 case studies from around the world. Many involved very specific, verifiable details that were difficult to explain otherwise.

  • An independent review concluded the evidence Stevenson gathered is difficult to explain without reincarnation. His work represents a serious scientific investigation of controversial phenomena often dismissed without study.

  • Richard Dawkins is criticized for ridiculing ideas like reincarnation rather than scientifically investigating them. He discounts research that doesn’t agree with his views as “bogus by definition.”

  • Darwin abandoned Christian faith not due to evolution alone, but after wrestling with theological questions. He remained agnostic and avoided firm stances on God’s existence.

  • Dawkins argues scientists in Darwin’s time concealed their lack of faith due to social pressures, but some, like Francis Collins, view science and faith as separate but illuminating realms.

  • Fred Hoyle’s analogy that random processes couldn’t assemble complex structures like cells any more than a tornado could build a 747 highlights arguments for intelligent design, even if those terms are controversial. The immense complexity of the human genome further strengthens this view.

In summary, the passage critiques Dawkins’ dismissal of research on controversial topics and argues studies like Stevenson’s show such phenomena deserve objective, scientific inquiry rather than ridicule. It also asserts intelligent design remains a reasonable inference from biological complexity.

  • Dawkins disagrees with creationist arguments that cite complex organisms like the Venus flower basket sponge as evidence of an intelligent designer. While randomness cannot explain its intricate structure, Dawkins says natural selection is a better explanation than God.

  • Natural selection works through competition and survival of the fittest, not random chance. Organisms act intentionally to get resources and reproduce. Over many generations, this leads to increasing complexity through incremental adaptations.

  • Dawkins argues that God would have to be even more complex than the universe itself to have created it, making God highly improbable. Philosopher Daniel Dennett calls this the “trickle-down theory of creation,” which Dawkins agrees is flawed.

  • The response is that Dawkins sets up a straw man version of God as a “simplistic caricature.” God does not have to be envisioned as a human designer. Alternatives like God becoming the creation or being the source/unity from which diversity unfolds do not require God to be more intricate than nature.

  • Complexity in nature arose gradually through natural selection operating at each step, not by random chance or an improbably intricate deity. This is Dawkins’ key argument for why evolution, not God, explains the origins and design of life.

The passage discusses the concept of the “zero point of faith” - the point at which faith in God is critically undermined or lost. It identifies July 16, 1945, the date of the first atomic bomb test, as marking this zero point, as the unleashed power of nuclear weapons made it hard to believe in a loving, protective God.

Rebuilding faith from the zero point requires focus and effort, as inertia would allow it to simply fade away. Faith runs counter to survival instincts yet drives human behavior. The author cites examples like Father Maximilian Kolbe, a priest who volunteered to die in a Nazi concentration camp in place of another prisoner, to show both the power and paradoxes of faith.

Kolbe’s story highlights how those with the greatest faith are not necessarily protected by God. It also touches on the tension between rational views of faith and more miraculous or supernatural conceptions. The author suggests both belief and unbelief exist within all people. Reaching the zero point often involves experiences where God ignores prayers, fails to protect or show love/mercy, or allow suffering without purpose. Overall it discusses the challenge of rebuilding faith after critically losing it.

  • The skeptical viewpoint holds that without solid scientific evidence, there is no justification to believe in God or supernatural phenomena. Skeptics demand measurable proof through experiments and peer review.

  • When people have doubts or disappointments that cause them to question God, skeptics provide alternative scientific explanations. For example, they say prayers are never actually answered, love is just a chemical reaction in the brain, disease has natural causes that science will someday fully explain, and good and bad behavior can be understood through evolution.

  • Skepticism earns acceptance by exposing medical frauds and charlatans claiming paranormal abilities. However, it can also stifle curiosity and inquiry into unexplained phenomena if they don’t fit the materialistic view.

  • Skeptics strongly criticize religious experiences like Francis Collins finding God through natural beauty, saying they don’t prove anything scientifically. They argue a timeless God existing outside time would be “impotent to do anything at all.”

  • In general, the skeptical view says religious belief has no credibility without measurable proof, while faith asserts some truths cannot be contained within nature and science alone. Both sides claim their assumptions are equally valid.

  • The passage discusses physicist Francis Collins’ views on faith and science. Collins believes faith can coexist with and be enhanced by science.

  • Collins asserts atheism is the least rational worldview. Some may disagree with this given rationality can be defined in different ways.

  • Collins seeks harmony between science and faith by proposing God created the universe and evolved life through natural laws like evolution.

  • The author argues skepticism has its limits and flaws. Advocating only for rationality ignores the role of faith in life and discovery. Even scientific discoveries require some degree of faith.

  • Believing in oneself, other minds, emotions, insights, health all involve faith we take for granted. Science itself is built on acts of faith.

  • Faith is personal and cannot be proven through external evidence alone. It explores reality beyond physicalism and speaks to meaning, not just facts.

  • A balanced view sees possibilities beyond closed skepticism while acknowledging faith’s limits in absolute proof. Faith and reason need not conflict when properly understood.

  • The author argues that faith in God becomes unsustainable when prayers go unanswered and goodness does not prevail over evil, as the basic promises of faith are not fulfilled.

  • However, God failing to deliver what we want does not necessarily disprove God’s existence. God might have rational reasons, like allowing the natural consequences of someone’s unhealthy lifestyle choices. Or God may choose justice over mercy in some cases.

  • The idea of God is often an anthropomorphic fiction rather than reality. Theological debates attempt to describe heaven but end up projecting humanized concepts of God needing a location.

  • Faith should be grounded in reality and proven through God reliably performing as promised - answering prayers, ensuring goodness triumphs over evil, protecting innocence. People have a right to experience these real aspects of God rather than being conformed to belief alone.

  • Faith and connecting to “higher reality” allows one to experience God in the present moment shaping everyday life, rather than through rigid doctrines. Poetry like Hafiz’s expresses the spiritual journey of facing truths about life to find meaning and God beneath surface experiences.

  • Rethinking possibilities around unfulfilled promises of faith, like God having rational reasons or giving something better, can loosen rigid beliefs and open a window to reconnect with God in a practical way.

  • Faith can open up possibilities and opportunities for liberation simply by envisioning possible outcomes, even if they are untested.

  • When faith forges a link between the inner world of thoughts and the outer world of reality, prayers, accidents, events, etc. may come true according to one’s thought and faith.

  • God may be everywhere theologically, but connections must be made gradually through individual steps and experiences.

  • Prayer, dealing with accidents, suffering, loneliness can be approached with an open mind to possibility rather than fixed conclusions - this liberates one from zero faith or disbelief.

  • True faith leads to spiritual growth while blind faith, prejudice, and pseudoscience act as obstacles to growth and understanding of God - these constitute “bad faith”.

  • One’s core beliefs and faith shape their identity and experience of the world profoundly. It is important to differentiate good faith from bad faith.

  • The passage describes Christopher Hitchens recounting an early childhood experience that sparked his atheism. As a young boy, his Sunday school teacher told him that trees and grass are green because that color is most restful for human eyes, implying intelligent design. Hitchens immediately knew this was wrong - that eyes evolve to suit the environment, not vice versa.

  • This was one of Hitchens’ first realizations that adults can be mistaken. It led him to start critically questioning other “oddities” and inconsistencies he found in religious teachings. Things like why praise God for doing what comes naturally, or why didn’t Jesus cure all blindness.

  • Another formative experience was when his sadistic headmaster said religion may not be logically true but offers comfort when facing death and loss. Hitchens found this view “contemptible.”

  • The summary author argues blind faith and blind unbelief both rely on rigid, emotional thinking rather than open examination of evidence. They analyze some widely held Christian beliefs like the resurrection to show how dogma exists for practical rather than logical reasons for most believers.

  • In conclusion, while blind faith has disadvantages and dogma deserves criticism, questioning it does not necessarily harm spiritual growth. Testable, evolving faith is healthier than rigid adherence to ancient orthodoxy, especially when it breeds intolerance and rank prejudice.

  • The passage discusses prejudice, bad faith, pseudoscience, and the relationship between science and faith/religion.

  • It argues that any form of “us vs. them” thinking is a form of bad faith. Religions often divide people into tight camps where their faith is elevated above others.

  • Radical Islam and anti-Semitism have caused harm by denigrating other faiths. However, prejudice has many sources beyond just religion, like family upbringing.

  • Pseudoscience is another form of bad faith, as some like Dawkins label other inquiries as “quackery” if they contradict a narrow view of science. Militant atheism also misuses science.

  • Science itself requires faith or assumptions that cannot be proven. The universe may not be fully explained by mechanistic models given blurring lines with mysticism. A conscious or living universe poses challenges.

  • Most evidence points to needing a new paradigm beyond materialism to explain an invisible-dominated cosmos of dark matter/energy. Science has become a belief system like religion.

  • In summary, it critiques prejudice, pseudoscience, and presents science as also requiring unproven faith-based assumptions about nature, life, and the possibility of purpose beyond survival. A new paradigm is needed.

The passage argues that some beliefs about human behavior and free will are based more on faith than facts. Specifically:

  • Proponents of evolutionary psychology believe all human behavior and psychology can be explained by Darwinian natural selection. But many behaviors do not clearly confer survival advantages, so this is an unproven assumption.

  • Materialism holds that the mind is merely physical brain processes governed by physics and chemistry, leaving no room for free will. But this cannot be proved and is taken on faith.

  • Believing that science must apply to explain everything we think and do is adopting science as a belief system with its own unproved assumptions, just like religion.

  • Reality itself cannot be objectively proven or described. We assume the physical world is real based on subjective sensory experience. So God has as much claim to reality as physical things.

  • What really shapes our lives is what we value and love most deeply. Our beliefs define our experience of reality rather than reality defining what we should believe. Faith makes life better when it fulfills rather than disappoints.

So in summary, the passage critiques certain widely held beliefs as being faith-based rather than fact-based, and argues that what truly matters is how our beliefs and experiences shape our lives for better or worse.

  • Faith alone cannot guarantee a better life if it leads to intolerance, torture, or war. True faith must be supported by wisdom.

  • Wisdom is about making choices that enhance life based on human experience. Some examples of wise choices include not trusting fear, bringing order to chaos, waiting for anger to subside before making decisions, considering other viewpoints, identifying flaws in oneself rather than condemning others, and acting accordingly when facing troublesome situations.

  • Seeking wisdom, not just wealth or success, leads to fulfillment. Devoting oneself to wisdom draws abundance. Wise short-term decisions shape long-term behavior and attitudes for good or ill.

  • Babies appear to have an innate predisposition for goodness, which nurturing can help grow over time. However, visibility of problems like violence often overshadow wisdom. Technological fixes are favored over wisdom for global issues.

  • Wisdom considers deeper values like unconditional love, seeing beyond surfaces, and understanding situations from multiple perspectives rather than quick judgment. It helps resolve complex issues where facts alone are insufficient.

  • Two women both gave birth around the same time, but one baby died after being accidentally smothered by its mother. She then switched her dead baby for the living baby of the other woman.

  • When brought before King Solomon, each woman claimed the living baby was hers. The second woman said the first woman’s story was a lie.

  • Rather than simply determining who was telling the truth, Solomon devised a test. He ordered the living baby be cut in half, with each woman receiving half.

  • The real mother, moved with compassion for her son, begged for the baby to be given to the other woman rather than be harmed. The other woman agreed the baby should be cut in half.

  • Solomon discerned the real mother was the first woman based on her desire to spare the baby’s life, even if it meant losing her son. He awarded the living baby to the first woman.

  • This judgment showed Solomon’s wisdom in understanding human nature and devising an unexpected test to determine the truth in a surprising way.

  • The author argues that while spiritual teachings like Buddhism and Christianity advocate radical transformation, in practice people often reduce them to simple rules of morality or pay them lip service without truly following them.

  • The author wants to defend the truly radical path of wisdom advocated by figures like the Buddha. While challenging to follow, this path aims for inner transformation rather than just changing outward behavior.

  • The author discusses how the Buddha rejected religious rituals and the priestly caste system of his time. He told people to stop analyzing the world’s troubles and instead look inward.

  • Key aspects of the Buddhist path discussed include meditation, observing the mind, confronting the ego, facing impermanence, detachment from materialism and the self. But the author acknowledges these can seem difficult, time-consuming, or frightening for modern people.

  • Labels like “God”, “soul” and “self” are questioned, as the inner self remains a mystery. Truth is found through self-discovery, not words. Consciousness must deepen to see past illusions.

  • Spiritual values like nonviolence can be co-opted by the ego to cause suffering. The author argues Buddha aimed for a radical inner revolution, not just changing behaviors or feeding the mind with new ideals. True transformation of consciousness was the goal.

  • Miracles present a challenge for both believers and non-believers. For believers, if miracles cannot be proven real, it questions God’s existence. For non-believers, proving a single miracle could open the door to accepting God.

  • It is difficult to achieve common ground when evaluating potential miracles, as atheists are typically unconvinced by any evidence presented. Examples of miraculous occurrences like faith healing are dismissed as coincidence or cheating.

  • In India, supernatural occurrences are more readily accepted as part of the faith-based society and landscape. One such case involved Prahlad Jani, who was observed for two weeks without eating or drinking, with normal vital signs and metabolism. Skeptics dismissed the results as medically impossible.

  • Similar historically documented cases have occurred in the West as well, like Janet McLeod in the 18th century. The Catholic Church also has records of saints said to live without eating.

  • Even among the rare individuals who claim to stop eating, there is no consensus on the cause or explanation for how they survive without food. Reasons given include acts of faith, living on sunlight or life force, illness, or the belief that breathing alone can provide nourishment.

It is impossible for a scientist to remain completely skeptical after witnessing an actual healing miracle.

The passage summarizes a story where a young French physician named Alexis Carrel witnessed an apparent healing miracle while accompanying a group of sick people traveling to the shrine of Lourdes. He saw a woman named Marie Bailly, who was dying of tuberculosis complications and had a distended belly from peritonitis, experience a seemingly instantaneous healing at the shrine. This created an acute inner conflict for the scientist witness, as observing an actual miracle would challenge his skepticism of the supernatural. The key point is that after directly observing an unexpected healing that medical science could not explain, it would be impossible for even the most rational scientist to completelydismiss the possibility of miracles.

The passage describes the healing of Marie Bailly at Lourdes, which appeared miraculous but was witnessed by Dr. Alexis Carrel. Carrel examined Bailly and confirmed she had tuberculous peritonitis and was near death. When water from the Lourdes pools was poured over her swollen abdomen, the swelling disappeared within half an hour. Carrel and other physicians could find no medical explanation.

Carrel was personally perplexed by the event as a man of science and faith. While he attested to the real healing, he avoided declaring it miraculous due to his position at the anticlerical University of Lyon. When the event became public, he lost his position. He later earned the Nobel Prize but remained fascinated by apparent miracles, returning to Lourdes to search for natural explanations.

The case highlights the tension between embracing miracles and maintaining scientific skepticism. It also suggests the natural and supernatural may not be completely separated, as physicists like Pauli stated reality incorporates both the physical and “psychic.” Supernatural events may lie beyond scientific rules and explanations but still exist within a singular reality.

  • Biological processes like photosynthesis and DNA replication seem impossible to explain through purely random chance or natural forces alone, as they defy entropy and build complexity over long periods of time.

  • Embryonic development and processes like cells differentiating into specific tissue types are also unexplained, as individual cells spontaneously “know” how to regulate genetic expression.

  • DNA also contains precise timing mechanisms spanning decades to regulate processes throughout life. How this information is encoded is unknown.

  • These biological mysteries imply an intelligence at work guiding molecular processes. Max Planck suggested consciousness may be fundamental and matter derivative.

  • Healing responses exist on a spectrum from expected recovery to miraculous healing. Outcomes are unpredictable and individualized, implying a level of intelligence or control guiding the body’s response.

  • Both everyday and miraculous healing events cannot be fully medically explained. Subjectivity in bodies parallels subjectivity in thoughts and suggests a link between mind and matter.

  • Consciousness may hold the key to understanding reality. Nothing exists without an observer, and observation causes physical changes -Participation through consciousness may allow for both natural and supernatural.

  • Consciousness poses a “mystery” that science has largely ignored for hundreds of years. Experiences like qualia (what it’s like to see color or taste food) cannot be fully explained by physical processes alone.

  • Miracles and supernatural events cannot be ruled out based on science alone, as our models of reality are always incomplete. Leaving out consciousness from scientific explanations is akin to leaving out metaphysics from cookbooks.

  • Materialist explanations for consciousness, like chemical reactions in the brain giving rise to experiences, require as much “faith” as believing in miracles. We have no scientific explanation for how physical processes give rise to subjective experience.

  • God cannot be fully conceptualized or contained within human categories like infinity, eternity, love, etc. Our finite minds cannot comprehend an infinite, omnipresent being. All language used to describe God is symbolic.

  • Truly knowing God requires going “outside the box” of normal human thought and concepts. Faith provides a framework to envision possibilities beyond what science allows, but direct experiences of God are beyond words. Symbols and scripture can only point to God’s nature, not define it.

In summary, the passage argues that consciousness presents a major puzzle for science, miracles cannot be ruled out, and truly comprehending God requires going beyond normal human thought frameworks through mystical experiences, as God transcends all mental and linguistic boxes.

  • Attacking religious concepts and symbols achieves nothing tangible, as they are mental constructs not grounded in reality. True spiritual experience comes from directly experiencing God through deep meditation, not via words or religion.

  • An Indian parable tells of an enlightened holy man who gets annoyed in a crowded market, showing he was not truly united with God. True enlightenment means letting go of ego and attachment to the world.

  • In India, children are taught that many individual gods all reflect the singular concept of Brahman/God. Temples and idols are just symbols, while direct experience of God is most important.

  • Experiences like music can alter people in ways words cannot describe. This suggests God too can only be understood through direct experience, not conceptual thinking which divides “us” from “God” and causes harm. If God is inseparable from reality itself, then separation from God is an illusion causing fear and conflict. True freedom comes from realizing God as the unchanging reality beneath all.

In summary, it argues traditional religions emphasize divisions and concepts over direct spiritual experience of an all-encompassing God that cannot truly be separated from reality itself. True enlightenment comes from transcending ego and duality to directly realize the oneness of God.

  • God’s nature is paradoxical - any attribute like goodness can be contradicted. This leads to logical problems in defining God.

  • People struggle to reconcile God’s power and goodness with the existence of suffering in the world. If God is all-powerful, why does he allow bad things? If he is good, why doesn’t he stop bad things?

  • You cannot narrowly define God with any single quality. God encompasses everything and is beyond human conception or categories of good and bad.

  • Relating to God is different than human relationships because God has no ego or wants of his own. He accepts you completely as you are.

  • Spirituality involves shifting awareness to different “worlds” - the material, subtle, and transcendent. Most people live in the material world of duality, but we access the subtle and transcendent through experiences like love, beauty, inspiration.

  • Key drivers of spirituality are desires for meaning, love, growth, experiences of higher reality. These will continue to motivate spiritual seeking regardless of religious frameworks. Individual spiritual paths are personal andcrooked, influenced by distractions but guided by inner forces.

In summary, the passage discusses the paradoxical nature of defining God, relates different levels of awareness involved in spiritual pursuit, and suggests spirituality arises from innate human drives rather than religious doctrines.

  • The author discusses three worlds - the material world, the subtle world, and the highest spiritual world. The material world doesn’t provide obvious evidence of God, which atheists use to argue against God’s existence.

  • However, the author says we should not stop at the material world and see it as the end. All worlds, including the material one, are created in consciousness. If we can free our consciousness, our perspective will change.

  • On subtler levels of reality like the subtle world, God possesses qualities like love, goodness and power. Our challenge is to connect these subtler levels to the material world.

  • The author cites biblical passages to argue that mind can move matter. Through faith or a strong mental state, one can theoretically alter physical reality. However, relying on faith alone is not enough in practice.

  • The purpose of the material world is “seeking” - trying to build a connection between mind and matter. We must seek to redefine ourselves as multidimensional beings, not trapped solely in the physical.

  • Seeking starts in the physical world but aims to realize we are not of that world, similar to how we understand dreams. All worlds ultimately lead back to consciousness as the creative source.

So in summary, the author advocates going beyond a purely materialistic view through seeking to understand our multidimensional nature and connect subtler levels of reality to the physical world. The end goal is realizing our true essence as consciousness.

  • In the Middle Ages, from 400-1200 CE, most people lived in poverty with little hope of acquiring power, money or prosperity. Their best option was to seek refuge in monasteries and convents.

  • Christian teachings at the time emphasized faith, obedience to God, and renouncing worldly desires. However, this did little to improve people’s miserable lives under cruel conditions. So Christianity may have been more about “refuge from a cruel world” than actual faith.

  • Today, faith is more private without consensus on spiritual goals. Seeking has replaced faith for many as a way to find deeper meaning and fulfillment beyond materialism. This requires courage to step away from traditional religion.

  • Theologian Paul Tillich argued that existential questions about meaning and purpose naturally lead to seeking answers. God or other beliefs provide little comfort today given threats of terrorism and earlier horrors like the Holocaust.

  • True seeking begins with doubting rigid beliefs and welcoming uncertainty over dogma. It requires openness to different traditions and renouncing comfort of communities. This can provide fertile ground for spirituality in secular society.

  • Deeper fulfilling realities exist beyond materialism and its illusions of control, struggle and competition. True seekers work to see through chaos to their inner self and shift allegiance from outer conditions to their core being.

  • The essay discusses the gap between scientific understanding of reality and spirituality/faith-based understanding. Two of the biggest unanswered scientific questions are what the universe is made of and the biological basis of consciousness.

  • Science has not been able to explain 96% of the universe or show how consciousness arises from a chemical brain. Its explanations of space, time and the origins of life are incomplete.

  • This opens the door for spirituality to peer into an invisible “subtle world” of reality beyond the visible, just as science seeks to understand levels of reality beyond our direct perception.

  • Neither science nor spirituality have exclusive claim to understanding this subtle realm. If it’s real, it’s real for both. The essay argues both disciplines glimpse a boundary region between the visible world and a deeper level of existence.

So in summary, it points out major gaps in scientific explanations and argues this allows for consideration of a “subtle world” approach to reality that both science and spirituality are trying to comprehend beyond the visible.

This passage discusses the idea that biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics are all potentially reducible to each other in a chain. The author presents this idea to scientists who generally agree with it until reaching the conclusion that life or consciousness may be reducible to mathematics or vice versa.

The author then argues that while science and religion are often seen as distinct domains, the tools used to understand reality, such as principles of perception and experience, should be applicable to both science and spiritual belief. The passage lists several “hints from the subtle world” like inspirations, coincidences, premonitions, that suggest a deeper level of consciousness beyond the material world. The anecdote about visiting a holy woman is used to illustrate how powerful such a subtle encounter can be, even for a skeptic. Overall, the passage is exploring the relationship between science, spirituality, consciousness and reality. It argues that consciousness and perception play a key role in both domains.

The passage discusses the subtle world and subtle actions. It argues that we are all accustomed to taking subtle actions, like trusting our intuitions, even if we don’t acknowledge it as such.

The subtle world is where the mind is transparent and free of fear. It is the realm of consciousness and subtle perceptions. To develop our connection to the subtle world, we must take subtle actions like remaining open-minded, not listening to fear, questioning our egos, and being optimistic.

Subtle actions are choices made on an intuitive level rather than a material one. Examples given include trusting a partner’s love without needing constant reassurance, or having an inner feeling of worthiness without needing external validation.

Developing subtle skills like intuition is important. The passage likens it to an artist’s ability to capture the soul in their work. While we all have subtle skills, experiencing God fully requires making the subtle world our home through regular practice. Many fail to find what they seek because they approach the subtle world haphazardly rather than consistently practicing subtle awareness.

In summary, the passage discusses the importance of the subtle world, subtle actions and skills, and argues we must make the subtle realm our home through practice in order to truly experience inner freedom, transcend fear and find our highest self/God.

The passage discusses taking a mind-body approach to spiritual growth and experiencing the subtle world. It emphasizes leading the brain through various strategies and exercises to form new neural pathways more adapted to processing spiritual experiences.

Key points:

  • The brain can adapt to new realities, like it did when learning to read. It just needs focused training to experience God.

  • Several exercises are presented to help reshape how the brain processes perceptions in a more open, generous, loving way over the course of a week.

  • Letting go of resistance, surrendering to what is, and breaking out of routine are strategies to help form new pathways of acceptance and fulfillment rather than constriction.

  • By becoming more conscious, one can automatically begin to lead their brain to new places of subtle awareness and experience the spiritual world in a practical way. It’s about reshaping how the brain functions through awareness, intention and consistent practice over time.

The overall message is that spiritual growth involves a mind-body approach of consciously adapting one’s brain through focused exercises to more readily perceive and process subtle spiritual realities.

  • The passage argues that people often have limited expectations for fulfillment, seeking happiness in things that provide only temporary satisfaction, like wealth or career achievements.

  • True fulfillment is multidimensional and involves physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It requires being relaxed, satisfied, and connected on all levels.

  • Limited expectations are the main obstacle to fulfillment. People settle for “good enough” out of fear of change or not fitting in. But this only leads to small satisfactions.

  • To be truly fulfilled, one must raise their expectations and continuously seek growth. Fulfillment is an ongoing journey, not a fixed destination. It involves expanding one’s horizons and constantly discovering new sources of meaning and purpose.

  • Fear and anxiety often hold people back from raising their expectations. The passage encourages associating with role models who inspire higher dreams and taking risks to uncover your true desires and potential for fulfillment. Dynamic growth is preferable to settling into a static sense of security and predictability.

The passage discusses letting go and allowing things to unfold naturally without struggle or force. It presents the idea that if we intend for an outcome but then let go of attachment to the result, things will manifest according to our intentions through natural connections and synchronicities, without needing direct control or effort.

It frames this in terms of Eastern spirituality and the unity of consciousness, suggesting our intentions have power because consciousness permeates everything. The exercise is to choose one intention for the day, release it, and see what happens. Success could mean things aligning slightly or feeling generally okay; there is no failure.

Over time, practicing letting go can reshape neural pathways and turn an effortful approach into one of least effort. Signs of progress include less internal dialogue, reduced stress, better decision-making, increased meaning and care. Eventually one can fully trust in being taken care of automatically. The goal is cultivating a complete transformation through which God becomes the ultimate concern rather than minor or intellectual.

The passage discusses the mystical or transcendent world, which is described as the source of true knowledge of God. It argues that our minds are designed for duality, so finding the non-dual God requires going beyond thinking.

It suggests emptying the mind of all opposites to arrive at oneness. However, living in a state of constant rejection of duality is impractical.

The passage then discusses how religion originally grounded truth in God as the perfection behind the world, but this created a gap between perfection and human imperfection. Science later dismantled the concept of oneness.

It claims the way to bridge the gap is through self-knowledge and focusing attention inward through stillness and awareness. This leads to transcending beyond experiences to the transcendent source of reality in the self.

In summary, the passage argues that true knowledge of God is found by transcending duality through inward focus on self-awareness and the recognizing the inner self as the source of all reality, rather than being limited to dualistic thinking.

  • People who are labeled as visionary, dreamer, genius, sage, seer, shaman, artist, and psychic are said to inhabit both the material and subtle/non-material worlds.

  • The material world deals with physical objects and sensations, while the subtle world deals with mental concepts like dreams, ideas, inspiration, etc. Both are valid realities with their own rules.

  • When something happens in the subtle world like a dream, it does not necessarily affect the physical body. But that does not mean the subtle world is not real.

  • It is proposed that ideas, concepts, etc. in the subtle world precede and make possible physical manifestations in the material world. For example, music exists as an idea before instruments are built.

  • The ability to cross between the material and subtle worlds and make possibilities a reality is examined through examples like thinking of an animal, imagining its picture, and then manifesting the real animal.

  • It is argued that all physical objects are composed of qualities like appearance, feel, smell, etc., which are first created in awareness or consciousness before appearing physically. So one can be said to indirectly create physical realities by first creating them mentally/subtly.

  • The relationship between humans and God is one of cocreation, where possibilities move from an unmanifest to manifest state through a subtle/thought realm and a material realm. Qualia and consciousness play a key role in this process.

  • The passage discusses the nature of God and consciousness from both scientific and religious perspectives.

  • Scientifically, God represents aspects like pure awareness, intelligence, creativity, potential, organization, correlation, etc. These are the basic constructs that allow for existence.

  • Religiously, the biblical creation story gets something right - that God entered creation to experience and enjoy it. Consciousness permeates the world.

  • Reality is mutable like a dream. rigidly clinging to appearances limits reality. God’s ways are infinite while human knowledge is finite.

  • Maya (illusion) tempts us to see the unreal as real and forget our connection to the creative source. We must trust the creative process over fixed conceptions.

  • God enters the world through individual acts of creativity, inspiration, energy, joy, etc. We are both individual waves and the greater ocean of consciousness.

  • True knowledge balances hope, faith and understanding. Moments of grace can emerge from struggle if we seek the divine beneath problems. Wholeness quietly supports us even in chaos.

So in summary, it discusses the scientific and religious nature of God/consciousness, reality as malleable, how we relate to the creative source, and finding spiritual sustenance through difficulty.

  • From a limited perspective as an individual “I”, one feels isolated, insecure, and focused on self-interest above all else. However, from the perspective of unity/wholeness, we are all ultimately connected.

  • Enlightenment means becoming fully self-aware and realizing one’s true identity is not the individual ego but the universal self. As one progresses spiritually, one’s sense of self expands and they perceive the possibility of wholeness.

  • Signs you are becoming whole include feeling less isolated, gaining a sense of security and belonging, being less driven by desires of “I, me, mine”, developing a wider perspective beyond self-interest, feeling guided in life rather than adrift.

  • At a microscopic level, cells in the body live in a state of perfect alignment, cooperation, acceptance and flow with the whole - qualities we strive for spiritually. We are all ultimately supported by an infinite power.

  • Spiritual growth means choosing to align ourselves with wholeness rather than remain fragmented in egoism, attachment, aversion, ignorance and fear of death. These “five poisons” stem from an original state of forgetting our true nature of unity.

In summary, the passage discusses how enlightenment involves gaining the perspective of unity/wholeness and aligning oneself with one’s true nature and identity as the universal self, rather than remaining identified with the limited ego. It provides examples of what growth along this spiritual path looks like.

  • The passage discusses the idea of wanting everything to be “good” and removing all elements of “badness” or evil from the world.

  • At first, the idea of removing physical pain seems desirable. However, people with a rare condition unable to feel pain face many challenges, as pain acts as a protective mechanism.

  • Removing all violence may seem good, but controlled violence in forms like surgery is necessary. Healthy ecosystems also depend on some level of violence as species consume others.

  • While specific evils like crime, war, suffering are understandable to want removed, the reality is some level of perceived “badness” may serve important functions. A world with no adversity at all could ultimately be more problematic.

  • So the question of whether we truly want everything to be “good” and remove all traces of perceived “evil” has a more complex answer than first assumed. Some level of adversity may paradoxically be necessary for balance and well-being.

  • If all animals were vegetarians and there were no predators, insects would fill the world as they already greatly outweigh mammals.

  • Mental suffering like anger, fear and depression is complex and cannot be fully summarized. However, some mental pain like fear of harm serves an adaptive purpose of avoiding danger. Guilt also teaches good behavior.

  • Wars are driven by desires and righteous causes that mask the suffering they cause. Soldiers may justify anger but later suffer mentally from guilt and PTSD.

  • The desire for goodness is mixed with contrary impulses in humans. Children act good with parents but turn “Jekyll to Hyde” when alone, showing all impulses cannot be controlled.

  • Evil exists because of the human tendency toward both good and bad, represented by duality in many belief systems. Assigning full blame has problems - God can’t be fully responsible or free of it, and humans struggle with desires beyond their control.

  • Jung described the “shadow” as an archetype representing humanity’s dark impulses like anger, which feel justified to the unconscious mind and create “fog of illusion.” Satan also represents this darkness in belief systems.

  • The Book of Job explores the problem of undeserved suffering, though its resolution of restoring Job’s fortune is unconvincing. It illustrates humanity grappling with the question of why evil exists.

  • Job initially thought he understood God based on religious teachings and scriptures, but his suffering showed him that actually knowing God requires a direct, personal experience beyond just words and rules.

  • Job realized he was attached to his own righteousness and view of himself as devout, but through his trials he let go of ego and saw that true reality transcends what can be defined or grasped conceptually.

  • Evil and suffering arise from attachment to duality and illusion, not from anything intrinsic to God. God is beyond good and evil since He transcends the dualistic realm of appearances.

  • The allegory of Job teaches us not to be attached to our own goodness or view of ourselves, but to find our true relationship with God beyond concepts and directly experience the transcendent reality. This perspective removes the power of evil over us.

  • As our consciousness expands through spiritual growth, our view of good and evil evolves from fear and ego towards greater empathy, understanding, compassion, and ultimately unity with the transcendent reality of pure Being beyond duality. This process diminishes the power and meaning of evil.

So in short, it discusses how Job’s experience reveals the limitation of conceptual knowledge and teaches the need for a direct experience of God, and how spiritual growth can help move us beyond duality and the power of evil.

The passage discusses different perspectives on God and faith through a series of ideas and summaries.

It starts by outlining some limitations of militant atheism, particularly how figures like Dawkins attack a narrow view of God and fail to account for mysteries like consciousness, free will, and the origin of the laws of nature.

It then lists 10 reasons why faith can be a worthwhile experience, related to wonder, inner knowing, connection to something greater than the ego or senses.

Finally, it offers 10 ideas that could give God a future role in thought, portraying God as the intelligence behind existence, being itself rather than a person, uncreated creator of the universe, transcending dualities like good/evil, visible everywhere through love and order.

The overall message is that God and faith involve profound mysteries beyond narrow or overly rational critiques. Different perspectives on spiritual matters each capture part of the truth but no single view can claim a monopoly. Discussion of these issues benefits from acknowledging their complexity rather than excessive certitude.

  • God is described as pure consciousness, the source of all thoughts, feelings, and sensations. God transcends all dualities like good and evil.

  • God is simultaneously one and many. God diversifies into the many aspects of the observer, the observed, and the process of observation.

  • God is the source of all human joy and bliss. God is also described as the self or essence of the universe.

  • The ultimate point is that there is only God. The universe itself is a manifestation of God. It is all a reflection or expression of the divine.

  • The author acknowledges and thanks the scientists, publishers, editors and staff who helped make the book possible by providing feedback, support and helping shape the final product. He also thanks his family for their support and for being the light and joy in his life.

So in summary, the key focus is on describing God as the transcendent, all-pervading consciousness or essence that underlies all of existence and reality, from which all else emerges or diversifies as a play or expression of the divine.

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About Matheus Puppe