You can be the most brilliant philosopher or scientist in the world, but it’s still easy to fall into childlike thinking. We default to “spiritual” or religious language because it’s the only language we’ve ever been taught to describe these feelings.
This physicist had an experience of. . .well, I’ll let him tell it:
“And then, one summer night, I was out in the ocean in a small boat. It was a dark, clear night, and the sky vibrated with stars. I laid down in the boat and looked up. After a few minutes, I found myself falling into infinity.
I lost all track of myself, and the vast expanse of time extending from the far distant past to the far distant future seemed compressed to a dot. I felt connected to something eternal and ethereal, something beyond the material world.”
He goes on to say you can’t prove or disprove this is a God-experience. He’s right.
“[You] can’t use scientific arguments to analyze or understand the feeling I had that summer night when I lay down in the boat and looked up and felt part of something far larger than myself.
I’m still a scientist. I still believe that the world is made of atoms and molecules and nothing more. But I also believe in the power and validity of the spiritual experience.”
He says we may think the universe is only physical, material, yet
“We also long for the permanent, some grand and eternal unity.”
I wonder why he can’t simply say, “I had a feeling. It was a wonderful feeling,” and leave it at that?
DID he “fall into infinity”? Was he “connected”? Was he “a part of something larger”?
This is what happens when we have a feeling and we HAVE to describe it as more than a feeling. It HAS to be “spiritual”; it HAS to be about “God.”
I understand the feeling. I just wonder why we choose one default, one language we feel we have to use to talk about our feelings.