Unbelievers need to believe in something

This is the title of an interesting piece by Terry Eagleton. He argues that humanist unbelievers substitute humanity for God. Their secular thought is really repressed religion. They often turn to ersatz mysticisms, of which there are many: “They turn to a kind of transcendence without content, of which there is no finer example than what one might call Hollywood spirituality, Those celebrities who dabble in Kabbalah or Scientology do so as a refuge from a material world crammed with too many chauffeurs and swimming pools”.

Have You had a Mystical Experience?

Ernest Barnes did. Here is what he wrote about a “sudden exaltation which seemed to carry with it an understanding of the innermost nature of things”. It happened when he was sitting down one afternoon on bare turf in a fern-covered moor near the sea in Oxfordshire:

“Time seemed to stop, A sense of infinite power and peace came upon me. I can best liken the combination of timelessness with amazing fullness of existence to the feeling one gets in watching the rim of a great silent fly-wheel or the unmoving surface of a deep, strongly flowing river. Nothing happened: yet existence was completely full. All was clear. I was in a world where the confusion and waste and loss inseparable from time had vanished. At the heart of the world there was power and peace and eternal life” [E. W. Barnes, Scientific Theory and Religion, 1933, pp.620-621].