I don't believe in God, not as this word is commonly understood. I don't see any sign of a personal divinity who created and oversees the universe, nor any indication of an omniscient and omnipresent universal consciousness.
Here's the newest news about proof of God's existence: there isn't any.
Isn't it more than a little strange that precisely zero progress has been made in the thousands of years of recorded human history toward conclusively resolving The Big Question: "Is there a God?"
Yet I'm akin to Mike, a regular Church of the Churchless visitor, who has commented, "I'm a diehard atheist desperately in search of God."
Similarly, Andrew Newberg, one of the authors of "How God Changes Your Brain," says in the book:
I like to think of God as a metaphor for each person's search for ultimate meaning and truth. Financial and relationship stability may be a major goal for most people, but I believe that within each of us there is a primal drive to reach for something higher.
We want to understand why we're here and what our purpose should be. We want to understand where we came from, and where we will eventually go. And we want to understand what reality actually is. With that understanding, we are then compelled to act in a more intuitively rational way.
Here's some reality to consider: not only is there no sign of a God up in the heavens, there is no sign of a soul down here on Earth. David Weisman says...
There is a common idea: because the mind seems unified, it really is. Many go only a bit further and call that unified mind a “soul.” This step, from self to soul, is an ancient assumption which now forms a bedrock in many religions: a basis for life after death, for religious morality, and a little god within us, a support for a bigger God outside us.
For the believers in the soul, let’s call them soulists, the soul assumption appears to be only the smallest of steps from the existence of a unified mind. Yet the soul is a claim for which there isn’t any evidence. Today, there isn’t even evidence for that place soulists step off from, the unified mind.
Neurology and neuroscience, working unseen over the past century, have eroded these ideas, the soul and the unified mind, down to nothing. Experiences certainly do feel unified, but to accept these feelings as reality is a mistake. Often, the way things feel has nothing to do with how they are.
I'd prefer that I had, or was, a soul, because I prefer the idea of existing after I die to the prospect of fading away into nothingness. However, reality is notorious for not caring about my preferences -- or anyone's preferences.
Here's some good news, though.
Not in the Christian "good news" sense of a religious fantasy, but rather findings founded in some solid science that cast a different light on the whole God-Soul-Salvation thing.
Since neuroscience isn't finding evidence of a unified mind capable of remaining unchanged through transformations of the physical brain (death being a big change), it seems increasingly clear that "Me" doesn't really exist.
At least not in the way we think it does. Researchers are finding that our sense of self seems to be created through the idling processes of the brain's "default mode."
As neuroscientists study the idle brain, some believe they are exploring a central mystery in human psychology: where and how our concept of "self" is created, maintained, altered and renewed.
...research on the default mode network and mind-wandering has helped focus neuroscientists' attention to our rich inner world and raises the prospect that our sense of self, our existence as a separate being, can be observed, measured and discussed with rigor.
...That's in sharp contrast to the pattern struck by the brain when hard at work: In this mode, introspection is suppressed while we attend to pressing business — we "lose ourselves" in work. As we do so, scientists see the default mode network go quiet and other networks come alive.
So basically the Me inside my head (as well as yours, naturally) fades away when I'm focused on something, like writing this blog post. Which fits with my experience.
I only feel like I'm writing when I'm not. Meaning, when I'm searching for what to say, I'm in more of a default mode mind-wandering state. I'm aware of a Me that is trying to get my brain and fingers to type out something coherent on my laptop's screen.
However, when I'm in the flow and focus of writing, the words just come -- just as when someone is in the flow of dancing, the steps just come. "Things go better without Me" is a truism for most activities.
Religions seek union with God. But almost certainly there's no God; at least, not the sort theologies proclaim: a divine being or entity separate from physical existence.
We can, though, experience union with a different "God." Reality. Which is here and now. All that is required is the absence of Me. And this isn't tough to do, since we do it much of the time.
In fact, it could be argued: all of the time, because there is no evidence of a Me separate and distinct from the universe.
Our sense of self appears to be an appearance, a conjuring trick cleverly performed by the marvelously complex human brain. Remembering the past and anticipating the future, our brain fashions an "I'ness" out of neurological flashes of chemical/electrical energy.
If I never was, then I shall never cease to be. Which brings the Me that I'm not pretty damn close to being God. My absence is an Almighty Creator, since it brings the unity we can call "God" into existence.
The Indian sage Nisargadatta seemed to say pretty much the same thing, rather poetically:
What is religion? A cloud in the sky. I live in the sky, not in the clouds, which are so many words held together. Remove the verbiage and what remains? Truth remains.