Wednesday, June 22, 2005

II. Life

Now that we have discovered there is a divine presence out there, the next step is to understand how that presence relates to us. Before picking a religion, we have to understand why we are here. For the sake of ease of writing, I will write "God" to mean "some divine presence out there", for we have not explored the possibility of "some divine presence out there" being multiple beings or other ideas. There are many different approaches to how God relates to us, how we view our purpose here, and which versions of history we agree with. All of these different ideas make up the different religions. Religion is a super hard topic to cover and has an extremely large breathe of information.

Ok, we’ve got a God. Now what? The next question someone should ask is what does He ‘want’ from me and why am I here? I don’t wish to use any sacred texts or emotion/spirituality. I will try to decipher this mystery by using my brain. As I emphasized in my first essay about God, using just the brain is very important.

God created the universe. Believing in evolution does not contradict Gods creation of the universe. The idea of just six days of creation versus billions of years of creation, is not being discussed here. Perhaps in a later essay I will address this topic. The point here is that God created the universe- in whichever fashion and a result is that humans exist. So God created humans. It was His intention. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be here(see the Ontological Argument in essay I). God gave humans certain brain capabilities. By the fact that it is God’s intention to limit our brains’ function, God doesn’t want us trying to comprehend things beyond our brains capability. We must understand the universe just using our God given ability.

God created humans with the ability to reason, make decisions and with emotions. God created humans with a higher intelligence then animals. It would appear that God created the universe for humans. Animals can’t comprehend more then their built in instincts let alone a God. What possible function could a human have in the universe in relation to God? Essentially, I am trying to figure out the meaning of life.

“Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations…” -Monty Python’s Meaning Of Life

No Meaning To Life
I couldn’t talk about this topic without talking about Nihilism. The Nihilist approach is to say there is no point to life and no reason. Existence has no reason. No plan. Nothing. Nada. (People on Spring Break usually use this philosophy party hardy!) This idea is very strong because it can not be disproved. The only thing I can think of to help our cause is that by the fact the we are here, there is reason, or else the Perfect Being (God) would have created something with out a cause and that is not perfect.

I think the first idea that people think of as our function in this world, is to worship God. We might say that God created us to worship Him. I don’t think this is true. I think worship is part of a mechanical feature within a religion. I don’t think it is the purpose of man. This will be explained in a later essay after we have already picked a religion.

Do Good
Another popular idea may be that man’s purpose here is to do good. I don’t fully understand why people think this is the meaning of life. Perhaps they feel that if they do good then they get credit points with God. This makes man’s purpose purely selfish. Good deeds help a person with self-growth, which is very close to the meaning of life. Doing good is a feature of a religion but it doesn’t explain the actually meaning of life.

There is an idea expressed (usually along with care for the earth and the environment) that states one of man’s purposes is to populate the earth. Why in the world would this be a goal of life? Have relations and lots of it! Lets churn out kids to make this world have lots and lots and lots of people. Maybe we could use them to form a stellar army and face off against other worlds in a galactic battle of the stars. OR to populate is another feature of a religion but not the purpose of life.

Do God’s Will
Man’s purpose here is to do the will of God. Of course we must do God’s will or else we wouldn’t be here. This could be an option. There is just one major defect with this idea. Because God is, well, God, He doesn’t need or want anything. To say He does, limits Him and being a God, He has no limits. More on this idea in a later essay.

Explore Man’s Purpose
The meaning of life is a trek to find the purpose of man. This is ludicrous. To spend your whole life searching for something you can’t possibly attain. God didn’t create a goal that is beyond human ability. God gave us our limited ability for a reason. To use it for what it is. Not to try and use it for something it can’t be used for. Enjoy this endless loop of reasoning if you want drive yourself mad.

The Mesilat Yesharim(Path Of The Just) Approach
There are Jews in the audience that will try and quote from “Path Of The Just” by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto(18th century philosopher) which says that mans duty in this world is to get to get a nice seat in the next world and by doing the commandments in this world, we can get a nice seat in the next world. The Ramchal (short for Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto) failed to explain HOW this works. What reason is there that by doing commandments we get better places in the next world? To me, it is outlined in the next paragraph.

Be Close To God
This is what I think the meaning of life is. It is man’s goal to be close to God. We are here. He is ‘there’. The only thing we have in connection to each other is the ability to move closer or farther apart from each other. God doesn’t need us to be closer to Him; We should try to be closer to God. Most of this idea is dependent on self-growth. How we go about getting closer to God and self-growth will be looked at in the exploration of religions.

Being close to God is what it is all about. In this world we try to get close to him so that we can spend eternity in the next world being close to him. In later essays we will explore what commandments are all about and further try to learn what the Ramchal is talking about correctly.

This is my outlook on the meaning of life and the purpose of human beings. I am sure there are plenty of people who will disagree with me. That is fine. This is my opinion. I just request that anyone who does have their own ideas, please be sure it was received by using your head, not your heart and I would love to read about it in the comments section.