Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Super Athiest

I have an online acquaintance who is disabled.  She speaks often of a struggle she has, which she calls the “Super Cripple” complex.  (Read her blog here).  Are you familiar with positive stereotypes? A positive stereotype is a belief which infers imaginary abilities to a group or subgroup, such as black people being better at sports or Asians being better at math, etc.

She deals daily with the struggle to accept herself as she is, rather than a Hallmark Movie caricature of herself crafted of positive stereotypes. She calls this caricature “Super Cripple”.  SC never gets tired of campaigning for human rights. SC can wheel-up gradual stairs.  SC is super, she doesn’t need help from ANYBODY!  The reality, of course, is that disabled means “less able” and she does need help.  The real strength is accepting the reality of needing help, rather than trying to pretend she doesn’t by playing the fictional part of SC.   Accepting this every day remains a challenge for her.

My struggle, or one of them, is to not be Super Atheist.  Super Atheist finds purpose and joy without God or religion.  Super Atheist doesn’t need faith; Super Atheist has reason!  Super Atheist never believes sincerely with one part of his mind something that another part of his mind knows is actually false.  Super Atheist finds happiness in holidays like Easter and Christmas, because even though he knows there is no God to celebrate, he is with his family and that is what really counts.  Super Atheist never wants to go to church, or take communion, or pray for the broken of the world. Super Atheist can do anything!

But the thing is, I’m not Super Atheist.  I miss the comfort of the God hypothesis.  The idea that I am here for a capital “P,” Purpose, a participant in a grand narrative.  I miss the afterlife hypothesis.  The idea that what we do on earth has a greater meaning than the handful of lives we touch, and that evil which is not caught in the here and now, will someday be punished in the after life.

I miss crappy church.  I miss getting dressed up and going and singing once a week.  I miss real church…a lot.  I miss sitting in a room full of adopted family, and singing and praying and feeling loving and loved.

I miss speaking in tongues and the emotional high that it brings.  Actually, come to mention that, I really miss it.  Someone would come forward and we would all put them in a group hug.  We’d all go around the circle and “pray a message of God’s heart for that person” which amounted to telling the person how valuable they were, how loved, how special.  It felt great to do and to have done to you. Then we’d pray in tongues.  The reason part of the brain idles down, and the emotional part revs up.   I’ve never taken 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (Ecstasy) but speaking in tongues seems to have the exact same effects.   From wikipedia:

  • Mental and physical euphoria
  • A sense of general well-being and contentedness
  • Decreased negative emotion and behavior such as stress, anxiety, fear, and paranoia
  • Increased sociability and feelings of communication being easy or simple
  • Increased urge to communicate with others.
  • Increased empathy and feelings of closeness or connection with others
  • Reduced insecurity, defensiveness, and fear of emotional injury
  • Decreased irritability, aggression, anger, and jealousy
  • A sense of increased insightfulness and introspection
  • Mild psychedelia (colors and sounds are enhanced, mild closed-eye visuals, improved pattern recognition, etc)
  • Enhanced tactile sensations (touching, hugging, and sex for example all feel better) Ask any married Pentecostal if you don’t believe me, by the way, sex after praying in tongues is an amazing spiri-sexual experience.)

And I miss them all.  Above all I miss feeling like I was apart of something really special:  a 2000 year old Royal guard, still fighting the rebels to have the kingship of the true and most high King recognized.  There is a romance to words like “Kingdom”, “Knight of the Cross”, “Sacred purpose”, “Most High”  that words like “country”, “community advocate”, “special reason”, and “President” simply cannot match.  Though administratively identical, they are rhetorically worlds apart.

I am not Super Atheist.  I confess, I have a desire in my heart to gather with believers, to sing songs of worship, reverence, sorrow, penitence, and heroic victory.  I long to kneel, to dip the broken crust in the wine, to speak the words of my heart to a friend and Lord.  My only caveat is that he not be imaginary.  I desperately want to sing, worship, kneel and gather my community around a real God.

I long for a god, a religion, a purpose, and grand narrative.  I long for everything worthy religion gives man.  My disbelief in God is not the result of a lack of longing, but a lack of God.

June 16, 2009 - Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Politics, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Slice of life, Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,


  1. You say you believe in T,B,& J. I believe in G,O,& D. Does TBJ fill that empty place where the longing comes from?

    Comment by rikkitick | June 16, 2009 | Reply

    • No. Nothing does, and when I was Christian, nothing did either. Not mentioned in this pleasant little memory lane about house church and speaking in tongues is the constant companion of guilt and self hatred that I felt when the warm fuzzies weren’t distracting me.

      Comment by truthwalker | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  2. I do not know you but I can say this with reasoned certainty, you are missed as well. As a former skeptic who still struggles with trying to reason God, I can only say this- Being able to grasp for a God whom I cannot see, feel, touch or sense in any physical fashion requires a step of faith that defies logic. I hope that you find both the peace and balance in your life that allows you to satisfy that longing in your heart. I sense that somwhere along the way, you have been hurt by someone or something and that hurt has caused you to shun your desire to believe that God actually exists. My prayer for you is that God would give you that assurance that He dose exist and does love you.
    God Bless, Glenn

    Comment by kingdomkeysbooks | June 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Thank you, sir. It is rare I find a Christian who will honestly say “Hey, there’s not a huge amount of empirical evidence for all this, but it has great personal meaning to me because of my experiences.” I respect that, and I think it takes great courage to say.

      However, I challenge your idea that I don’t wish to believe God exits. I do wish it. Please don’t confuse an inability to believe with a lack of desire.

      Thank you for the kind words.

      Comment by truthwalker | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  3. I love that last sentence!

    I belong to a group that meets once a week and we sit around in the basement of a bar having a few and watch episodes of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. You can find a sense of community with the right group of nonbelievers. There must be something like that where you live. If not, start one.

    Comment by Shamelessly Atheist | June 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Ha! I’m working on it. One thing that is harder about finding your own path is that no one lays out your spiritual experience out on a platter for you.

      Comment by truthwalker | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  4. I have to say I honestly don’t wish god actually existed. Maybe I don’t like the idea of being comforted with such cheap and shallow ideas. Among believers, I always identify more with those that are distrustful of their god, like Philip K. Dick — something about an all-knowing deity seems creepy to me.

    Comment by probabilityzero | June 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Yeah, I’m talking about the pleasant parts of religion here, not the creepy “alwaaaaaaaaays waaaaatching” aspect.

      Comment by truthwalker | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  5. So how did you come to believe that nothing caused everything?

    And how do you know that it was God’s existence that was wrong, instead of your particular beliefs in God’s existence that were wrong?

    Comment by makarios | June 17, 2009 | Reply

    • I don’t. True claims are ones that have the capacity to be proven false, and cannot be proved so. Most claims about God are impossible to falsify, so they may or may not be true. I’ve been wrong many times before. What have you got?

      Comment by truthwalker | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  6. There may be some misunderstanding about the nature of the guilt/self-hatred you feel. Since our consciences have not been taken from us, we will always be reminded of things that we are and do that make us fall short of the glory of God. Our fallen nature does not disappear when we come into Christ. We still sin continually! We steal, lust, covet, and we are jealous, envious, full of pride, hate, etc. But “now there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus…” Our sins that make us hate ourselves are merely reminders to focus once again on the “prize.” I was a pastor for many years and have been away from the church for many years. But I still know God, have faith in Him, have hope in Him and am certain that no one, especially myself can separate me from His love. And the longing for Him will always be there until we are actually in His presence. So often I wish this earthly existence, this “veil of tears” would be lifted so that I can once again experience the close connection to Him through my spirit. But perseverance is the name of the game. I have overcome, I am overcoming, and I will eventually overcome. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38,39

    Comment by Rikkitick | June 18, 2009 | Reply

    • Well first let me say that sounds beautiful at first blush. I disagree with you for various reasons, but since this is obviously important to you, I don’t know how to disagree without being mean. I’m not super atheist. Sometimes I long for the comfort of religion, but that comfort is not free. It comes at a huge cost. One part of that cost is self hatred, which you express eloquently as a desire this veil of tears to be over, but which laid bare is a hatred of self so strong that seek for you life to be ended. No, my friend, the comfort is not free.

      Comment by truthwalker | June 18, 2009 | Reply

  7. I’ve had your blog bookmarked for a little while and wanted to take the time to comment today. For years I was a closeted agnostic, on the brink of atheism. I absolutely did not believe in the kind of God I had learned about in church -all the suffering, punishment, judgment, and all those arbitrary rules (which are different in every religion and even denomination…go figure). These days I believe in God without a doubt, but I didn’t find that belief in church (although I have since started attending a Unity church). I’ve spent a lot of time reading books (self-help, metaphysical, spiritual, new age) and meditating. That is where I found my connection with God. I had to experience the connection first hand before I could jump back on the believer wagon. I have family members who would no-doubt say that I am not “saved” and will most certainly go to Hell. But I don’t need to argue with them about what I have and haven’t experienced. Anyway, I respect your thoughts here and your willingness to put this all out there and listen. It sounds like perhaps you still have a “tug” in you.

    Comment by lesleehorner | June 19, 2009 | Reply

    • Thank you many times, Leslee. First of all, for reading my blog which is a nice pat on the ol’ ego. But also for recognizing that putting everything out for people to read is hard. I do disagree with your theology, but I find that’s one of the smallest parts of persons identity. I don’t disagree with your overall identity at all. I think the path you are in in fascinating, even though it’s not mine, and I look forward to reading your blog, if anyone else wants to read it too. (At least I assume thats the same lesleehorner.)

      Comment by truthwalker | June 19, 2009 | Reply

      • And thank you in return!

        Comment by lesleehorner | June 19, 2009

  8. To some of the commenters above, please remember that what you experience colors your ability to believe. Therefore while you may have recovered your faith, there are those who lost it entirely and those like myself who chose to explore other religious paths until finding one where they could believe or even a combination. Please remember that free will exists in all of us and is even in your bible, as a good thing. Preaching at Truthwalker isn’t going to change what experiences created him.

    Also, thanks for this post. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I honestly appreciate it.

    Comment by Textual Fury | July 2, 2009 | Reply

  9. As always thanks for stopping by, Ms. Fury.

    Comment by truthwalker | July 4, 2009 | Reply

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