Reality Tunnels, Religion, And You

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“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”
—The Dude

In 2015, the Christian groups One Million Moms and the American Family Association protested FOX’s then-upcoming television show Lucifer because, well, The Devil.

Said One Million Moms:

“The program previews mischaracterize Satan, departs from true biblical teachings about him, and inaccurately portrays the beliefs of the Christian faith. By choosing to air this show, FOX is disrespecting Christianity and mocking the Bible.”

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what a church lady protesting “Lucifer” might look like

The name “Lucifer” means “The Morning Star”—specifically, Venus. As we read in the Bible, Isaiah 14:12, regarding The Dark One:

“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!”

And you know who else was specifically referred-to as “The Morning Star” in the Bible?

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

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So here we have both Jesus Christ and Satan/Lucifer (and they aren’t exactly the same thing, but that’s a whole ‘nuther post) called the same name in the Bible: Morning Star. That might not sound like a big deal to you…but if you are basing your entire worldview and philosophy on a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible, it is.

Now, the above quote from Revelation 22:16 has inspired quite the bit of lively discussion from Christian apologists online, who are POSITIVE that what the Bible *really* meant was that:

“Only Jesus’ light is self-existent. Satan may be a bright morning star, but he is only a poor imitation of the one true bright morning star, Jesus Christ, the light of the world.”

And what Biblical evidence do they use to come to this conclusion?

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They don’t really have anything. But, as in the case of many such discrepancies and contradictions, they are “pretty sure” that this is what the Bible meant.

From my Evangelical Christian days, I learned that being “pretty sure” is not a “Biblical” conclusion. EVERYTHING must be found in the actual Bible itself.

So what we can conclude from all this is that One Million Moms were ignorant and close-minded.

But.

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(And here is the very crucial point I’d like to make with this blog,)

According to the Reality Tunnel of One Million Moms, Lucifer really exists—exists, in an unambiguous way, as the Prince of Darkness who helps cause all the misery in the world, and is the Sworn Enemy of Jesus Christ.

(You feel me so far?)

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According to the Reality Tunnel of One Million Moms, FOX was absolutely committing a sin by running this television show. And it was their sworn duty, as Concerned Christian Moms, to get the show off the air.

Further, according to the Reality Tunnel of hardline Christians, the Bible is the infallible word of God. Every single line in the Bible is “supposed” to be there. I have even read very thorough, frankly metaphysical explanations as to why the other books and documents (the so-called “Gnostic Gospels”) were left out of the Bible. I have read very thorough explanations as to why the fossil record is the way it is. And if you yourself happen to currently be in that very same Reality Tunnel, IT WILL ALL MAKE SENSE TO YOU!

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It will make sense to you intellectually. It will make sense to you spiritually. It will make complete sense. No matter how fucked-up you—the “present” you—formerly thought it was.

“Reality Tunnel” is a concept author Robert Anton Wilson borrowed from Timothy Leary and expanded upon. It’s the idea that we interpret what we know of the world…that we might think it is objective, but it is only one of countless points of view:

“…there is no vantage point from which real reality can be seen, we are all looking from the point of our own reality tunnels. And when we begin to realize that we are all looking from the point of view of our own reality tunnels, we find it is much easier to understand where other people are coming from. Or, the ones who don’t have the same reality tunnels as us do not seem ignorant or deliberately perverse or lying or hypnotized by some mad ideology. They just have a different reality tunnel, and every reality tunnel might tell us something interesting about our world, if we are willing to listen.”

We all, by necessity, live in Reality Tunnels. Our senses—sight, hearing, etc.—only pick up a small fraction of the entire world as it really is. Our senses have to be limited in order to filter out this massive amount of sensory input. But we never quite see all of the world objectively as it really is. We can’t. Thus our minds, out of necessity, so we are not reduced to a quivering and shouting pile of insanity, “edits” things.

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what would probably happen to you if your mind and senses didn’t “edit” the totality of objective reality for you

The “edited” version of reality—the one we live with day-to-day—helps make up our Reality Tunnel.

Other factors that determine our Reality Tunnel are our memories of experiences, which assist us in decision-making and judgments. These memories, by their very nature, have to be subjective. There might be others who corroborate your memories of past events. But the core essence of Memory—as with the Reality Tunnel itself—is subjective. Because the final arbiter of your reality—the landing strip & processing center of said sensory inputs—is you.

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think of choosing Reality Tunnels like being in “Game Central Station” from “Wreck-It Ralph”

And this subjectivity goes down even to the quantum level, where the observer and the system being observed seem to be linked: the actions of the observer having an impact on the observed, rather than the observed existing in a fixed, completely objective and “true” form.

If this is all giving you a cognitive-dissonance headache, you can better understand why many people opt for a simpler, cut-and-dry Reality Tunnel within which to dwell, preferably one with a lot of friends who think the same way they do & thus reaffirm the “truthiness” of said Reality Tunnel.

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One such Reality Tunnel is that of a realm where Lucifer really exists and there are Good Guys and Bad Guys and a clear code of Goodness and a clear-cut reward in Heaven when you die. (For further insights, read “Why Fanaticism Is So Marketable And Damn Seductive”)

Now, you try to argue with such a Believer and are frustrated by how “stupid” they are! Because you have the “right” Reality Tunnel—the one that you share with your peer group and admired thinkers—and they have the “wrong” one. Meanwhile, they are thinking the exact thing about you! They think you are a complete dickhead and (plus) going straight to Hell to be sodomized repeatedly with Satan’s trident.

Who is right?

You can do a Pew Research poll, or gather a panel of experts, or run experiments, or do any number of things. But in the very, very, very end…it’s still up to you.

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You may say:

THAT IS PREPOSTEROUS!!!!!! #1, clearly there is no real “Lucifer” or “God,” we are both intelligent people here and what I think you’re really doing is just trolling (to be honest). #2, if everybody thought that ultimate reality was subjective…then all sorts of crazy people and sociopaths and psychopaths and dolphin-fuckers would just do everything they wanted! And society would just break down and people would just start eating each other!

To which I would answer:

#1: I probably am trolling.

#2: I believe that all sorts of crazy people and sociopaths and psychopaths and dolphin-fuckers are doing what they want to, regardless. For example, a psychopath is very adept at embracing his or her particular Reality Tunnel. So is a cult member. And these persons may very likely have much less of a feeling of existential ennui and agony as you and I.

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And so how can a person ensconced in a more “fundamentalist” Reality Tunnel finally See The Light, “Kimmy-Schmidt”-like, of your enlightened Worldview? My belief is: there is no way you can convince such a person through logic or “evidence.” You can only convince them through the mechanism of a “religious” revelation.

That’s it. So if you are an atheist and you want to convert religious people to your point of view, you will need to appeal to that same center of the brain that gets their rocks off on religious experiences.

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Now, some atheist spokespersons are quite charismatic, and have indeed built devoted followings using (subconsciously, I’m sure) just this methodology.

But.

It’s still trading one Reality Tunnel for another. Some Reality Tunnels may seem kinder than others, some more progressive, some most definitely smarter and less destructive—but still they are Reality Tunnels, choices, versions of a reality.

At least…that’s according to my Reality Tunnel. I may be wrong.

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