My spiritual autobiography: A video interview

In 2017 I published an enthusiastic review of Jerry L. Martin’s God: An Autobiography here at The Teeming Brain, and also at Amazon. The book presents Martin’s account of being an atheist who was hit with an unexpected experience of what presented itself as divine communication. Over the course of about a year, he found himself involved in an ongoing dialogue with God (plus a couple of additional spiritual beings at one or two points) in which the nature of God, humans, life, death, and the universe itself were given decidedly unconventional expression. As I said in my review, these things are given added weight by the fact that Martin is no flaky peddler of New Age hype but a real philosopher whose resume gives him serious intellectual credibility. The first paragraph of his biographical entry at Wikipedia serves as handy evidence of this:

Jerry L. Martin is the author of God: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher (godanautobiography.com), coordinator of the Theology Without Walls project at the American Academy of Religion and a contributor to The Good Men Project. From 1988 to 1995, Martin held senior positions at the National Endowment for the Humanities, including acting chairman. From 1967 until 1982, Martin was a tenured professor and chairman of the philosophy department at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he also served as the Director of the University’s Center for the Study of Values and Social Policy. He has testified before Congress and appeared on radio and television. Martin is chairman emeritus of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. He served as president of ACTA from its founding in 1995 as the National Alumni Forum until 2003, when he was succeeded by Anne D. Neal.

A few months after I wrote my review, Jerry — whom I knew on a first-name basis from having interacted with him online — interviewed me via Skype for one installment in a series of videos that he was putting together to dovetail with the themes in God: An Autobiography. The videos were to present conversations between him and some of the thinkers with whom he had come into contact via the book.

These are now being released. My own interview was published just yesterday. In it, I talk about my religious upbringing in a conservative evangelical church. I recall my early love for fantasy and horror fiction and film, with horror coming to take center stage in my late teens. I describe my sleep paralysis and nocturnal assault experiences and their formative role in darkening my philosophical worldview and emotional outlook and thus catalyzing my birth as a horror writer. I mull over the question of whether darkness or light is more fundamental as the spiritual or metaphysical ground of being. I describe my fascination with the subject of the muse, the daimon, the genius, and experiences of both divine communication and demonic possession. And I relate these things to the subject matter of God: An Autobiography. Along the way, I also recount how I first came into contact with Jerry Martin when the online excerpts from the God book that he shared prior to its publication came to my attention as I was conducting some of my perpetual research into inspired creativity and the experience of anomalous communication from a seemingly spiritual source.

Two necessary notes: First, an apology for the lousy sound quality in the video’s first few minutes. I can’t imagine why I wasn’t using earbuds or headphones. Second, when Jerry asked me at the end of the conversation to suggest a starting place for those who are interested in reading my books, I didn’t name To Rouse Leviathan because it was still in a questionable hyperspace at that time. Presently it’s set for publication next month. If the conversation were recorded today, that’s what I’d name.

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD; GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES; and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on July 22, 2019, in Paranormal, Psychology & Consciousness, Religion & Philosophy, Writing & Creativity and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Phillip Beadham

    Hi Matt,
    As regards Jerry Martin’s book – have you read Carl Jung’s controversial analysis of God’s testing of Job, in the Bible? Compare the two – you’ll see what I mean!

    Phillip

    • Hi, Phillip. Do you mean Jung’s ANSWER TO JOB? Yes, I have a well-marked copy on my bookshelf. It had a significant impact on my thinking when I first read it in my late twenties. Jung’s emphasis on the forgotten or neglected evil aspect of God played right into things that were then gripping me very hard and helped me to articulate them further. Regarding the comparison to GOD: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, are you referring to Jung’s idea that God evolved and developed — in sharp contrast to the traditional doctrine that God exists eternally in immutable perfection — as a result of the interaction with Job? If so, I see what you mean.

      • Phillip Beadham

        Hi Matt,
        Yes! You knew exactly what I meant! To Jerry Martin, God wasn’t originally omniscient, creating man to become self-aware (I’m paraphrasing). This chimed with Jung on Job. What also surprised me, however, are there are other similarities. Jung said that, prior to Job, God (or was it Satan?) had only whispered in man’s ear. That turn of phrase (or a very similar one) is also used in Jerry Martin’s book. Could Jerry have internalized Jung’s writing, from his academic reading, years ago, with a personality from Jerry’s collective unconscious (c.f. Jung, again!) emerging to voice, and develop further, Jungian ideas Jerry has internalized? Such a voice from the unconscious could also relate to ‘Seth Speaks’. I’m sure a lot of this occurred to you as you were reading it, as you instantly hit on what I was getting at!

        Best regards,

        Phillip

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