In this inaugural episode of the Living into the Dark podcast, I explore the remarkable story of Jerry L. Martin and his book, God: An Autobiography, as Told to a Philosopher. Jerry, a former skeptic and philosophy professor, shares his personal journey of experiencing an unexpected encounter with a voice claiming to be God. We delve into the problem of spiritual discernment, the role of faith, and the varied reactions from others when they learned of his experiences and conversations with God. We also examine the significance of the relational aspect of God, the importance of understanding different world religious traditions, and the potential implications of this new understanding of God for religion today. Join us as we explore the diverse spiritual journeys individuals may undertake as they connect with the divine in their own unique ways.
Coming soon for paid subscribers.
(00:00) - Introduction: demon muses and divine voices
(07:00) - A Baptist childhood and a philosophical education
(09:30) - Leaving the education field behind. The idea of divine life assignments.
(12:40) - Inner voices and spiritual callings
(14:00) - An awakening to love
(17:00) - Epistemology and the problem of spiritual discernment
(20:20) - Reactions of others to claims of hearing God
(22:50) - The “big story” of God
(25:00) - God’s interactions with different cultures throughout history
(27:15) - A God with a divided personality
(32:00) - God and the world’s religions
(34:30) - The God: An Autobiography podcast
(35:40) - Theology without Walls. The trans-religious imperative. A new Axial Age.
(40:40) - The ecumenical movement and religious pluralism
(44:40) - Religious devotion. Bhakti. An intensely personal God.
(47:30) - The nature of divine communication
(53:00) - How to hear God: virtue epistemology and the clarified soul
(58:20) - Self-surrender and living one’s life as a duet with God
People and topics
The independent Christian church movement
Paul Tillich and “ultimate concern”
T. S. Eliot, “the time of death is every moment” (from Four Quartets, Section 3, “The Dry Salvages”)
Philosophy and epistemology
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza
The transformative power of love
The problem of spiritual discernment
Romano Guardini and prayer
Genesis and divine creation stories
The American Academy of Religion
Theology without Walls, contemporary religious diversity, and the trans-religious imperative
The Christian ecumenical movement
John Hick, religious pluralism, and the need for a theological Copernican revolution
Karl Jaspers, the original Axial Age, and the new Axial Age
Training in obedience. Hearing God. The story of Abraham and Isaac.
God’s divided personality. Yahweh’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Bhakti devotion in Hinduism
W. E. Henley
God: An Autobiography, as Told to a Philosopher
Romano Guardini, The Art of Praying
John Hick, God and the Universe of Faiths
W. E. Henley, “Invictus”
William James, “The Will to Believe”