Let’s face it, the whole concept of divine revelation is a fanciful religious construct to begin with. Having just read My Failed Atheism by Mark Bauerlein in First Things — he relates how he began his bout with atheism through revelation, only to leave it years later when, through yet another spontaneous realization, he finds bliss in a renewed examination of Christianity. ( At a megachurch no less.) So what’s the common denominator here?
Religion fosters this primitive old meme of miracles, wonders and instantaneous conversions — and we humans, atheists and theists alike, cleave to it as a real thing — even sometimes subconsciously seeking it out during our more ontologically vulnerable moments. The reality is atheism and theism require vigorous intellectual investigation and study. There is as much nonsense out there for the faithful to wade through as there is for the atheist. How often do we see these miraculous Saul-like conversions lapse into backsliding nostalgia or hardened cynicism in our waning years?
Humans are revelation junkies. We exalt in lottery stories and miraculous interventions, when it is more likely how Thomas Edison describes genius “… one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Atheism and theism require hard work. The former by sifting through the mountains of mythological mindset to understand the psychology of humankind, and the latter, to break through the fairy tale promise that Superman, miracles and wonders provide an actual model for living in the modern world.
If your faith, or lack thereof, is based on spontaneous revelation it would be best to remain extremely skeptical and pay due diligence. There is no doubt it will one day swing around the other way, and if you’re blindsided by it once more, you should not blame nihilism, disillusionment, or god, for this recent up or down turn on the epiphanic see-saw.