Who do we pray to?For six million years, we evolved in small monogamous groups and grew brains that functioned to coordinate these groups as organisms. From the beginning, our language was focused on “reading” each other from minute to minute in order to divine our role in the intentions of our groups to survive. The vast brain growth during the last 2.5 million years has been selected to coordinate the correct collective behavior for each individual for the sake of our groups. The foundation of this coordination, from the beginning, was the establishment of morality—how to treat one another correctly—sufficient for groups of three to seven monogamous families to coordinate their behavior peacefully and productively. We have evolved six million years of neurology that has been selected to do the right thing for the group. As mentioned in the last blog-post, these “group-organisms” were not competitive, but highly interrelated by blood. The capacity to collectively coordinate behavior was selected by virtue of after-the-fact productivity and fecundity, capabilities that quickly spread to other groups. So the consciousness of pre-human hominid individuals in all groups was immersed in the exact same mentality of a living authority, which we now call God—or, more correctly, a manifestation of God.

Vanity FairSuddenly, 200,000 years ago, out from this all-pervasive God-consciousness, our own species developed the intense motivation to advertise our own individual uniqueness to the opposite sex. The interaction between the old God-consciousness and the new consciousness based upon individual sexual display produced symbolic language and the miracle of accelerated cultural evolution. Most notable is that we are conscious of our new individual strivings to assert ourselves only because we can “see” them from the underlying collective consciousness that had been evolving for the prior six million years. Alas, this newly acquired penchant for vanity reawakened the long slumbering giant of our primate impulse to dominate others. In the most commonly used sense of the word, our “ego” is the combined effect of our human vanity admixed with our primate desire to dominate others. This gets us to prayer.

Normally, when we are conscious of ourselves, the part of our brain that was evolved to do the right thing for our groups is unconscious and serves as the underlying “platform” from which we are able to be aware of our self-interested motives. In prayer, we “turn the tables” by kneeling down on the outer shell of our ego to submit ourselves to the dominion of our God-consciousness. We pray to that part of ourselves that has six million years of neurobiology evolved to know the right thing to do for others in every conceivable social circumstance. When we pray, we don’t so much talk, or even think, but bow our lives speeding by us into an obedient posture in order to beseech that wisdom to guide us.

Next we address whether we pray to someone who is truly alive and involved with our own lives and whether He is inside or outside of us. Also, why He and not She?       

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2 Comments on “Okay, So God created me. So What? —#2: Prayer I: Who do we pray to?”

  1. A wonderful distillation, John. It makes so much sense. The problem with the model is only its palatability for those who seek an external deity on the one hand and those who would call this secular humanism on the other. One senses, however, when the knowledge is widespread that God exists within and can be accessed, we’ll all be better off, and those with ego pathologies seen more clearly as being out of touch with the divine within.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Richard. I see this as much much more than secular humanism, which is basically just deciding to do the right thing. Here we have a universal source of intention that is part of all of us that has a separate life, some of which I get into in the next post. To me, forgetting about the biology of it and thinking of God as a sort of super person out there that is like us is also an easy way out. It is a lot tougher to establish contact with a real eternal being, which both is and is not part of us, and to reconcile ourselves to the mortality of the part that is not.

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