The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Dark night of the soul and a loss of belief


I have been experiencing a Dark night for 2 months now, and has happened three times before. However, the most common trait is a lack of awareness of anything beyond the mind. So naturally I dont feel connected to the true God(And feel like the only real God is impersonal archetypes or some pagan god). The first time this happened was when I got into Fundamentalism, and felt anxious about Eternal Damnation and that God was really like this. So one day I just recovered due to some mystical experience, and a month later learned about Universal Salvation. So I dedicated myself to beliefs that pure reason could fix every problem, and a hope in endless moral progress to justify UR(Many UR believers belief in a long series of ages). Then I went through a second DNOTS when I could not find clear, rational answers or satisfactory answers to theological questions. Then near the end, over the course of a few weeks, I started to accept that the ultimate questions transcend intellectual and scientific explanations. Naturally I became less concerned with answering those big questions, and more laxed views on Evil. Eventually this lead to another DNOTS with anxiety over uncertainty of Gods goodness, and inability to find any concrete proofs. However, I recovered again, after hearing the Ontological Argument, and once again fell into the trap of intellectualism dedicated to studying ontology. However, I have come to realize Ontology cannot give satisfactory answers to questions on matters like Eternity, Heaven, a Personal God, existence itself, Joy, Love, or purpose, and only abstractions(For example, Death is viewed as a mercy because it spares us from becoming Everything in general and nothing in particular). At this point, I feel like life is dry, as ontology and scholastic theology has let me down


I don’t think any particular study by itself will cover all topics. Ontology is important, being about the end-all-be-all, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all of theology. :slight_smile: I’m rather doubtful ontological arguments by themselves lead to theism vs atheism, much less to one kind of theism over another kind.


In a period of Spiritual Dryness, God often feels more external than internal. However, I have wondered how true this actually is. I think it was in C.S. Lewis book the Last Battle where internal worlds are described as being larger than external worlds, which if I am correct was explained in the allegory of the barn door at the end of the Battle in entering Aslans country. I dont know how familiar you are with Peter Kreeft, but he has been strongly influenced by C.S. Lewis and wrote a book about Heaven, and offers an experiment to look within, referring to inner space as greater than outer space. I recall he made this comparison in noting how Jesus was able to contain the eternal and infinite in Mary’s womb. Plus a Britannica article stated the Trinity being “Wholly internal in its essence”

I’ll try to give an example with Morality vs. Law. We understand that Murder is evil because internally, we have a will to live, and it is grounded on this desire, and therefore can agree that respect for life is a completely legitimate duty. However the justification for externalized laws and rules are very debatable. Such as income taxes, this can be debated since most people have no internal volition to give 15% of their earnings to the Government.


Joe, please tell me about Kreeft’s heaven book.


Not everyone has a will to live. Those who are on their death bed are often said to embrace death. My great uncle who was 94, in good health and physical condition upon a painful condition said “Just get a gun and shoot me” and he was serious. He died a few day later.

People who commit suicide don’t have the will to live. These people don’t generally wish to kill others. They generally believe Murder is wrong.

Most people have a will to live, but that doesn’t have anything to due with believing murder is wrong. It is incidental correlation, unless proven otherwise.

I think we complicate matters with all of our “differentiation” for specific moralities. If a group of cannibals decided to start a society and everyone agreed that eating people from their own tribe was OK, then I don’t see any morality issue there. There is no violation of will. I think Jesus and the Bible addressed morality like this: What were the people’s expectations in that society? Now apply the golden rule to that. That, is how morality is formed.

The reason we know morality is learned and not something internal is the fact that children are very impressionable. If children are naturally good (my opinion is morally neutral - a blank slate) then why can children be so easily convinced to blow themselves up and taking others with them? If you, with Calvin, say that children are naturally evil, then how can you say something as simple as murder is intrinsic morality?

All of our current morality laws are a combination of common sense, culture and indoctrination which can easily be influenced over time.


Great post Gabe.


Okay, I think I see part of where you are coming from. With Suicide and loss of the will to live, I would not say its about a hatred of life so much as a dislike for their current state. I would say maybe what you are referring to is Survival, as with your uncle. But I find that we do want life to the fullest, and we will hate life if life cannot be lived to the fullest. Like the suicidal person who has something missing that they cannot find. Plus, I would not say accepting death is a hatred of life, but allowing life to come to its fullness, where life needs to be finite to become something.

As for the Cannibals, I dont see that as any lifestyle anyone would choose if they were truly free. This seems more of a libertine version of free will, and not the freedom Jesus promised us. Now I can agree that Libertine and Christian freedom may seem similar in having a foundation free from external laws. But the Christian freedom I believe has a destiny, foundation and absoluteness beyond just being free from restrictions.


Joe, what does Krewft’s heaven book say?


Sorry about that, but it is in the Introductory Chapter, and the section the Heart as a Teacher