What is, the Sense Presence?
Rather than ask ourselves, IS there a God. Let's ask ourselves, Why? Why is there, why should there be, why do we think we need a God? Why?
As an animal, you would not recognize yourself. You would not recognize your death. You cannot contemplate your final demise. "You", does not exist. You are one with the world and the world with you. You live in the moment, the ultimate existentialist.
The Mirror Test is one way to differentiate between humans and animals. A few animals can pass this test, but there are yet other denominators to consider, such as contemplating your death, or beyond.
And so we have to ask ourselves what is God. A pan dimensional being? A Creator, able to alter natural laws. More? Maybe. Maybe not.
Is God omniscient? Omnipotent? Omnipresent? Not necessarily.
One could argue, God could have created everything, then disappeared forever.
Or never existed to begin with. Then the Universes are just random happenstances.
Yet still, if we can contemplate things greater than ourselves and our mortality, surely we can envision God. But if we do, is God actually there?
There is a condition known as, Sense Presence. By invoking this condition we discover a situation, not unlike that of experiencing God. By placing magnets over certain parts of the brain, we evoke the feelings, the visuals of a presence.
There is some interesting work being done by neurologist Dr. Michael Persinger. He sees religious belief as "a cognitive virus".
When we cross that pathway from animal, to creature with a greater capacity of brain power, we start to contemplate our, self; our aloneness, our mortality, our limited lifespan. This realization, this "Eden Awareness", this lack of animalness, creates anxiety, where there once never was any.
This is a serious anxiety that causes untold intense difficulties.
The natural thing at that point, is to have, or generate, a counterpoint. To have a feeling, or a belief of something outside of ourselves that goes beyond, that takes up the slack for our newly discovered limitations, and it must continue forever.
Something that is everywhere. That knows, everything. Sound familiar?
Persinger said: "Suppose you can anticipate your personal demise. Well, that precipitates tremendous anxiety, and anxiety is devastating to cognitive processes. So from a natural selection point of view, you can see why individuals would have been selected if they could minimize that anxiety,"
He further explains, "The minute a person can affiliate themselves with this concept of infinite and forever, there is no personal death, and consequently there is no reason to have anxiety. You can see why people become addicted to it." -- from Robert Hercz October 2002 issue of Saturday Night magazine (pages 40 to 46) [from Katinka Hesselink.Net].
So, it is clear that we certainly had a motivation for creating a God figure. We need it, Him, Her, whatever. We need that vessel of unlimited foreverness to contain our anxiety, our fear of what is coming. So, does God exist? He has to. Otherwise, we self destruct.
What about atheists? Do they need God? They say they don't. But they have God anyway. For to push against, to deny, to eliminate, is to have. They have still lived their lives up to the point of denial, in having that God, knowing of God's existence, the surrounding theology, philosophy, psychology.
What about not ever knowing about God? Take 1974s, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser by
Werner Herzog. A movie based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to speak or walk, and bearing a strange note. Later it was found had been held captive his whole life. He was a Tabula rasa, a blank slate. In the film, he was taught about manners, society, God. He questions everything, until someone in the village can no longer take his questioning the unquestionable and kills him. But he had no anxiety about Life. Why? Because, it has more to do with society, than the individual.
Still, what is this, Sense Presence? Keep an ear out for it in the future. I suspect and submit that it will turn up some interesting considerations.
Tomorrow: Why the Sea?