When I find myself becoming subject to delusions of God and such, I always question the interior of my cranial space. There is a book that really helps me limit the impact of such imaginary things my lovely brain can come up with. The book “The Believing Brain” by Dr. Michael Shermer focuses on two things that our brains are quite good at doing: the tendency to see patterns and the tendency to attribute an agent to ‘outside’ causes. He calls it patternicity and agenticity.
Of course, he makes a sound and logical argument. I read his book among others while I was in the seminary. Primarily because I just couldn’t stomach the magical thinking of my brother seminarians. Yes, of course, I believe in God; but I also consider myself an atheist.
I am quite happy to live with contradiction and these seem to be the best of contradictions. After due consideration of everything I have ever experienced and reading such books as the one by Dr. Shermer, I can’t help but realize that our brains do in fact create a lot of fantastical beliefs. I am in no way immune to these fantasies. I know my societal and cultural background have made me particularly susceptible. I do find it amusing when I fall prey to delusions. I guess that is why when I start thinking magically, I revert to this particular book to remind me that our brains evolved a certain God-sense; something also know as a duality, which gives rise to agenticity. It is real as any real thing can be. It is also unreal.
I ponder how can real and un-real exist at the same time. There are all sorts of these imponderables in our minds. It’s quite odd. I do think about this God-sense with which our brains have evolved. I ask why and how. Is there truly a God that would poke our evolution to include this in our genetic makeup? I really don’t know and it’s way beyond my skills to even conjecture. All I know I find it amusing that despite accepting that my brain can make up God, unicorns, a pegasus called Charlie, saints and angels, I am still prone to follow the fantasy.