"When the cities are on fire with the burning flesh of men,
Just remember, that Death is not the End." Bob Dylan

If people don't matter, what does?


The traditional Christian idea of life after death leaves no room for the importance of this life, this world, except as a preparation area for the afterlife. This is inadequate, because this world matters.

The traditional Eastern, or Buddhist notion of reincarnation leaves no room for the importance of this world either, except as a preparation for nirvana.

The traditional atheistic philosophy leaves no room for virtue, kindness to one's fellow humans; no room for anything except utilitarianism, with the good of the individual self being the supreme utility for each person; and no way to define the good for any individual except maximum pleasure and minimum pain: In other words, nihilism.

Not even the modern notion of survival of the spiritual essence of a human, without the personality, is sufficient to make sense; else it's every man for himself and who cares about building an ever improving civilization anyway; even if "every man for himself" means everyman doing continual acts of kindness and selflessness for his fellows, that still leaves no room for meaning for human history, does it; for if individual people don't count, what does, after all? Why be kind to an entity that will not exist for more than a trifling instant and then be no more?

I hypothesize that being makes sense; this is consistent with Occam's Razor and is the simplest possible explanation of things as we find them. In order to make sense, two conditions must be satisfied. First, people must count, must have meaning, and this can only be true if people survive. Second, human history must have meaning and must make sense, must make a difference.

The traditional Christian philosophy satisfies the first condition (humans survive) but not the second (society doesn't matter). Traditional Buddhism maybe satisfies one but not two also. Traditional atheism satisfies neither. New Age spiritual essences fair little better; for people do not matter if what makes them people are superfluous and do not survive. What are people without memory and personality? Why be kind to a personality that is merely an illusion anyway? No one will remember, in the New Age scenario.

So where does this lead us? What is needed is a marriage of East and West, along with a strong dose of common sense; God helps those who help themselves; thus civilization and society and history matter as well as do individual people. Why? Because obviously God uses us to help work out our own salvation; in some mysterious way we do not comprehend.

Oh, I do not mean that God needs us; He is self-sufficient; but He still expects us to heal the sick, care for the weak, and perhaps help figure out how to achieve human survival. But of course we will survive anyway by God's grace. But who can define God's grace? And who dare slack off and tarry from working while the Master is away?

I do not mean to say I know anything about any of this. But the above are my musings. I choose, for the reasons above, to believe in God, the meaning and survival of individual people, and the meaning and importance of human history and civilization.

"God knows there's a heaven, God knows its out of sight.
God knows we can get all the way from here to there
Even if we got to walk a million miles by candlelight." Bob Dylan

God Himself is a mystery; but we know that He exists. Why does He put us here? Why does He ask us to build for the future? Why is it important to help others, to be self-less and giving and loving? God knows...

"When the storm clouds gather round you, and heavy rains descend
Just remember, that Death is not the End."

I believe this.

And what a man can believe, or think, or do, or dream, surely God can.

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