FILTERING THE FACTS
The mind, or more specifically, thought, is a barrier to perceiving true reality. Everything that we see, hear, or read is filtered through a process of interpretation. It is almost impossible to view things without some kind of judgmental perspective. We evaluate everything through the lens of memory or experiences. We rarely, if at all, see anything totally new for what it is. We always see things in relationship to other things. Logically there IS an absolute TRUTH - but how can we ever be sure that we've seen it or know it?
When I read a spiritual book - I'm always reading it in interpretive mode - if the words are not mine they may not mean what I want them to mean - they mean what the author intended. When it comes to ancient scripture - if I'm reading it in any language other than the native language of the author, I'm reading an interpretation - not just a translation. For to translate is to communicate meaning through the choice of words used. Language is not always precise across its various usage. It is hard to tell a metaphor from a literal truth if you have no reference to the cultural and historical context. If we look deeply at this we can see that words themselves are metaphors and have no separate, or discrete existence from what they describe or express. Words communicate impressions that we interpret through the mind. Everything that we experience is processed this way. The mind receives the signal - which it then interprets as reality.
THE ALGEBRA OF UNDERSTANDING
It seems that the method for algebraic problem solving is useful in helping to understand how our thinking works.
We have an equation with an unknown value. If we use the values that we do know then we can find the relative value of that which is unknown. We cannot know the unknown value directly - we can only know it through the relative values of the known.
It is the same with reality.
Going further with this analogy we can see that if something exists that has no relative existence to our present understanding, then that thing is unknowable and remains as value "x" - undetermined. Such is the awareness of God to the human mind. Logically it can be argued that something outside of our experience can exist - i.e. a thing can not bring itself into existence - something outside of it causes it. Therefore, if the universe has a beginning, then what created or caused the universe to come into being, must exist outside of it, and therefore it is likely we cannot perceive it directly.
An Atheist then, can only argue that the God that he/she believes does not exist is of the nature of a God that can be perceived. If they can see that it is possible that there are realities that exist outside their experience - they have to acknowledge that among them could be the Cause (and it could be God!!)
INFINITE LIGHT AND LIFE OF BEING
I could never be an Atheist that denies the existence of God. But I could be very easily persuaded that the personal God of the Old Testament - the one that is described as having feelings like regret, anger, and jealousy is a metaphor for helping an ancient, uneducated nomadic people deal with the difficulties of life.
The God that I am beginning to understand is not a person - but LIFE itself - the very essence behind everything. That which is IN all things that causes them to live. It is benevolent spirit in that it is an endless supply of life giving energy to everything that exists. It is not judgmental, in that there is no meaning behind its effects, it causes and the effects just happen. No judgment - no mercy - just being.