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One thing is clear. It is hard to know anything absolutely. Anyone who claims to know anything for certain is on shaky ground. It is difficult to have proof of meaning, proof of God, proof of purpose.
But if there is no purpose, then there is nothing. So I, and most people, choose to believe in Purpose. From this flows everything else.
It seems that the universe was created by physical processes, a Big Bang, whether by Divine impulse we know not. But what else could the ultimate beginning appear to be, if not God?
Ever since, the evolving cosmos has had one purpose; to manifest life, intelligence, Humans, and ultimately God. So we humans have a purpose after all; to ultimately, even if it takes forever, to manifest God; God, who, will right every wrong, wipe all tears from our eyes, and resurrect each according to His insight, to everlasting heavenly bliss if He so sees fit.
Along the way, all things work together for the good of those that love God. Special Beings appear at just the right time, such as Jesus, who indeed did die on the cross for the sins of all mankind, so that we might have eternal life.
And it was all fore-ordained in the initial conditions of the quantum field equations of the Big Bang. But yet all is not pre-destined; the success of the plan depends upon people, we human beings, to carry it out. We can't be let off the hook so easily.
Oh, not that the human species will last forever in its physical form on this earth. No, our offspring, another race of intelligent life, will spawn yet more evolutionary advances in seemingly unending grandeur until finally intelligence, love, and meaningful information shall spread across the entire universe. Then can the unending end come, in the final Omega Point of evolutionary history.
To this end, we all must labor.
It's who we are.
We are the product of our history.
We can choose to be ashamed of our ancestors who worshipped wooden idols, for instance. They were simple folk, who worshipped the transcendent in the best way they knew how. To scientific nihilists, I guess they appear ridiculous, worthy only of contempt and condescension.
But I am proud of my ancestors, every one of them, who worshipped the beyond in the best way they knew how. I am proud of the dirt beneath their fingernails as they fashioned wooden idols. They were not perfect. To us, they seem simple and ridiculous. They even perpetrated evil. But they carried forward the work of transmutation, of evolving the beyond.
We, too, will no doubt look simple to our descendants. To generations who come after us, long in the future, we will look as simple and wrong and evil as any fur-clothed barbarian, any Egyptian worshipper of Isis, any former tribal peon.
But we must persevere. At least, we choose to persevere; to worship that which lies beyond our present day understanding, to build the hope of a future better than any we can currently imagine.
Maybe we do not have proof. Neither did out ancestors. Maybe we do not know in a scientific way for sure that there is a world beyond, a life after death, a reason to believe. Maybe life ends at the grave and there is no meaning? I can not do a scientific experiment to prove to you otherwise. But we go on.
Oh, the "scientific" nihilists will surely tell us that we are crazy. They will tell us we are losing the present for an imaginary future. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. They will tell us our religious ideas are delusions.
Well, give me ideas. Give me visions. Someday, I am willing to bet, visions will grow beyond illusions, and be real. Even today, I assert, some visions are more real than our current understanding of life itself.
A similar line of thinking applies to the history of our major religious systems. While they have many faults, they nonetheless contribute to our future and supply the basis for our ongoing religious evolution.
It is true that the histories of both Christianity and Islam, for instance, are flawed. They are not perfect. Wars have been waged in the name of religions. Torture, murder and other great evils have been committed from within the religious streams. These facts are undeniable. We must not condone these kinds of things, God forbid!
But those who argue that we should completely abandon religion because this are wrong. Even with the evils that have accompanied all major and minor religions throughout history, the religions themselves were and are necessary. We people are not perfect, but we persevere; over time, we improve.
The history of religious thought is not simple, it is complex. It is not a simple matter of each religion merely replacing the previous one. Up until now, several major religious streams have coexisted and interacted within human history. And this was necessary.
I submit that it was necessary that a religion like the Baha'i Faith, which is destined to unite humanity, have the cultural sources which are provided by all the major and minor religions still found on earth, in order to fulfill its mission. The great streams of Chinese, Indian, Islamic, Christian, and other civilizations provide the very ground from which the Baha'i Faith finds its sustenance and life. They had to be here. They are necessary, all of them.
As for me, I will defend the Baha'i Faith and the religious streams of mankind. No matter how many nihilists ridicule me, I hope that I will fight until my death for Faith. For what else should I fight? For meaninglessness? For nihilism? For food, drink, and merriment?
No, I know deep within me, as did my forebears, that humans will create
meaning. We are what we are for good reasons. We will create meaning even
if we have to do it from the very dirt beneath our feet. In fact, the dirt
beneath our feet will do just fine. May we always go forward towards meaning.
I choose, just like a long, noble line of people behind me have chosen, to fight for meaning, truth, spirit, and soul. I choose God; the God who will be what He will be, alpha and omega. I find my meaning in this future tense. No matter what evil, what setbacks, come what may, I choose God. Amen.
And I do so within a framework, a framework of truth, logic, science,
and realism. I believe in another world; connected to this world by a long,
tenous, but unbroken line of faith. I salute all our noble forebears who
labored not in vain; and I commend all our illustrious ancestors from afar.
Greetings from a simple world, to you in the future! Do not imitate our
mistakes, our errors, nor our superstitions! But keep the faith, always
keep the faith...