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Thursday, March 31, 2011

15 Day Atheist Challenge: Day 9

Even though you are an atheist, have you ever experienced a moment that could be called "religious," like an epiphany about the world or complete peace? I really don't like the way this question is worded, as the adjective "religious" has connotations that do not require belief in the supernatural. Definition of RELIGIOUS 1 : relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity 2 : of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances 3 a : scrupulously and conscientiously faithful Couple that with "epiphany." Definition of EPIPHANY 1 capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ 2 : an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being 3 a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b : a revealing scene or moment. If you couple the first definition of "religious," specifically the "ultimate reality," which I define as "truth," and "epiphany," then I can say I HAVE had such an experience. This experience came while I was reading The Ring Of Truth some 20 years ago. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it is the companion piece to the PBS series of the same name, written and hosted by Philip and Phylis Morrison. One of the sections covered quantum mechanics, a topic that I've always had problems with. As I was reading, I had a "eureka" moment. I got it! I finally understood it! It was a "sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning" of an "ultimate reality." That certainly didn't make me a physicist, but for a non-scientest in his mid 20's it was rather mindblowing.


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