Question: Could the masters speak about the new atheist movement, led by people like Sam Harris, who speak about self-transcendence, spirituality and cutting through the illusion of the self on one hand, while at the same time claiming to be atheists on the other? What are the limits to spiritual growth using this approach if it does not affirm the existence of God?
Answer from the Ascended Master Jesus through Kim Michaels. This answer was given at the 2020 Webinar for the Liberation of Women.
Well, it depends on how you define “atheist.” In a strict sense, you could say that I am an atheist, the messenger is an atheist. Because in the strict sense of the word “atheist” means “anti-theist” and theist is a person who believes in the personal god portrayed in the Old Testament. In other words, the monotheistic god portrayed by these three religions, that is the god that an atheist is strictly speaking against. I was against that god 2000 years ago, I portrayed God in a different way in my teachings than what was portrayed in the Old Testament. Anyone can see this by just reading the New Testament and see how I talked about God. From this perspective you can say, well, there are many, many people in the world who call themselves spiritual but not religious. It is often because they are not believing in the theist god, that Old Testament god. This is of course an important step in people’s spiritual awakening.
Now, there is of course a movement that has portrayed atheism in a different way, as denying any kind of superior being, any kind of creative God, or even denying that there is a spiritual realm beyond the material world.
In this sense, of course, this is not constructive for spiritual growth, it cannot promote spiritual growth. How could it? You will see that there are certain people in this new atheist movement, who are promoting a strictly materialist approach to life. If they at the same time claim to be spiritual, well that is cognitive dissonance. There are some of them that have gone beyond this and are open to some form of spirituality, such as meditation that can lead to self-transcendence. This can be just a step in these people’s personal path, in their growth towards higher levels of consciousness.
You need to recognize here, that every human being must start at the level of consciousness they are at, with the level of consciousness they come into embodiment as, they must also start in the culture they are in. All people have to go through an individual path of challenging their own beliefs that they carry with them from past lives, challenging the beliefs and the culture they are born into, in order to really grow spiritually and come to higher levels of the path. So what is it that each person has to do to achieve this? Well, that’s very individual, isn’t it? I have said before, that there are some people who may not have a valid spiritual teaching or insight but they have the insight that something needs to change. Therefore they can, at least for a period of time, be in alignment with Christ in the sense that Christ also promotes change, or at least self-transcendence.
Even a new atheist can be in alignment with this to some degree. If you look at one of the points that the new atheists have protested against, it was the teaching of Creationism as an alternative to religion in public schools in certain American states. Obviously, the teaching of Creationism was a backward step in the growth of the collective consciousness. Now, of course, teaching a materialist version of evolution was also a backward step. You can say that with the New Atheists, it was in a sense not a negative unconstructive thing to object to the teaching of Creationism. But if they were really in alignment with Christ, they would also have objected to the materialist version of Darwinism and evolution.
You see here, that there is often in such people a certain cognitive dissonance but that is simply because, instead of being truly aligned with Christ they are coming from a dualistic perspective. They are promoting one dualistic polarity and putting down another dualistic polarity. This of course, in the long run does not lead to real growth. The question is: “Can people like this have a valid point for a time, can they then transcend it and open their minds to a broader, more universal approach?” Certainly, we do not need people to start promoting a return to the theistic god. It is perfectly valid to promote a more universal form of spirituality.
The question can also be that some people have gotten themselves into a position where they say: “Well, we can observe that certain forms of meditation have positive effects on people. We can even see this based on scientific research, including research on the brain, the effect of meditation on the brain. We are therefore promoting meditation as having a positive effect on the person but we are still maintaining a strictly materialist view, that all mental processes spring from the physical brain and therefore, there is nothing beyond the physical brain, there is no aspect of consciousness beyond the physical brain.” Now again, as I said, people have to start somewhere and they have to walk a gradual path. Of course, this viewpoint is not sustainable in the long run, it is cognitive dissonance.
You cannot logically, rationally look at meditation only as a technique that improves your everyday life. All forms of meditation, whether they come from the East or wherever they come from are based on the idea that there is a spiritual realm beyond the physical. That you can raise your consciousness to fundamentally higher levels, where you no longer need to come back into embodiment but can escape the wheel of rebirth, “ascend” as we use the terminology today.
If you try to disconnect meditation from its spiritual origin, you are creating something that is neither this nor that and it just is not sustainable in the long run. These people will find that they will have to go through more and more convoluted intellectual reasonings in order to maintain this view. It just becomes so complicated that it validates the principle that they always hail, namely Occam’s razor. The simple explanation is to say that there is something, a different realm beyond the material. It is not the way it is portrayed in the Bible or the Quran but this does not mean it doesn’t exist. It does not mean that we couldn’t know something about it, if we were willing to open our minds to a way that goes beyond both traditional religion and a strictly materialist approach.
Copyright © 2020 Kim Michaels