I have said, at various times, that at the most basic level, God cannot be coherently denied. Here is what I mean.
I submit that there is no coherent way to deny the following premise:
1. SOMETHING – IS
Whether you hold with Descartes that it is the conscious self which undeniably exists, or prefer space-time as your bedrock – whether that which exists is a Platonic ideal or whether you are a solipsist and deny reality to anything but your own thoughts – SOMETHING out there (or in there) IS. It has reality. Put another way:
1B. Something is real
If the “real” exists – then there must unavoidably be a “reality” – a foundation of some kind for the “real” – which makes one thing REAL and another not. Some philosophers call this the “Ground of Being” but I find people get confused by “being”(they tend to think it implies consciousness) So let’s call this thing “The ground of reality” (just in case there are layers of it, let’s be clear that we’re talking about the foundational layer, whatever that may be).
The Ground of Reality – quite simply, is God. It is the Ultimate Object of Concern. Now you can object, quite rightly, that the Ground of Reality (let’s call it the GR) hasn’t been shown to have any of the qualities we associate with God. We haven’t proved that it is loving, or personal – and most certainly haven’t shown that it goes around thundering commandments from mountaintops. We know very very little about it so far. All we can claim at this point is that it IS, and that it is the Ultimate Object of Concern. Once you run into the GR, there is no further back you can go. This would still be enough, in my book, to make it the object of supreme awe or reverence. It would be “God”, even it it were a quite different God from what we imagine.
Now looking back at the “religious experience” line of inquiry, we find that one of the universals cropping up in descriptions of mystical experience is the idea that what is being experienced has the qualities of being the foundation of reality – the GR. Some examples:
“every being has a secondary existence of its own apart from the Godhead but that this disappears before the penetrating gaze of the mystic which uncovers the unity of essence behind it.” (Jewish)
“… God presents himself in the inmost depths of my soul. I understand not only that he is present, but also how he is present in every creature and in everything that has being, in a devil and a good angel, in heaven and hell, in good deeds and in adultery or homicide, in all things, finally, which exist or have some degree of being, whether beautiful or ugly” (Catholic)
“…He is transcendent above all His works even while He is immanent within them… “ (Protestant)
“He is the pure Being by which ‘that which is’ is. “ (Islam)
“There are three classes of devotees. The lowest one says, “God is up there,” and he points to heaven. The mediocre devotee says that God dwells in the heart as the “Inner Controller.” But the highest devotee says: “God alone has become everything. All things that we perceive are so many forms of God.” (Hindu)
“… we and all sentient beings fundamentally have the buddha nature as our innermost essence… “ (Buddhist)
“Worlds and particles, bodies and beings, time and space: All are transient expressions of the Tao” (Taoist)