The Search for Meaning
Why is it important for some of us to have something to believe in? Why must we feel that there is a larger universe than the tiny world we live in, and a power greater than we are? Many people are perfectly content to believe that the universe is a series of accidental incidents, void of higher meaning, leading to nowhere in particular. Why is this something that so many of us feel an urgent need to reject? Why must we always have SOMETHING to believe in? This need makes us prey to every kind of manipulation by religious quacks who take our time, energy, and money in return for institutionalized hocus-pocus that fills the need to believe. Are we just deluding ourselves that there is something greater than we are to believe in?
Life itself is bigger than we are. We can't create it. We can't even replicate it. More amazing still, we can't even truly define it or identify the moment of its inception. For many of us, this is the kind of simple truth that points to something greater, more intelligent, more capable who can create, replicate, define, and identify the moment of the inception of life. This evidence is further born out by the ever-present stories of near-death experiences that uniformly describe a dynamic, very real life continuing after the death of the body, which has complicated the definition of life to the extent that now even the medical world has difficulty identifying a moment that can be called "death."
Life seems to be a force of its own, independent of the physical world our sensory systems can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. The evidence of something beyond our sensory abilities is compelling for many of us - too compelling to ignore. If life does not begin and end here, then what we see may be the tiniest drop in the bucket of truth. We may not be able to define a greater meaning, but the fact that something greater seems to exist is for many of us a very real and logical possibility. Logic, not a pathetic need to find "meaning," lies behind the search for something greater than ourselves. Logic tells us there are sounds our human ears can't hear. There are light waves our human ears can't see. There are smells all around us that our minimally adequate noses can't smell. There are concepts too large for our brains to comprehend. When the edges of the universe-as-we-perceive-it are reached, logic tells us there is probably something there that we can't perceive. It's completely illogical to believe only in what we can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel since we are acutely aware of how very limited our sensory organs are, even with all the mechanical and technical magnification our species has invented to augment them. How is it possible that we think nothing exists beyond what we can perceive when we know our own pet dogs smell entire, rich stories equivalent to entire movies of plot, drama, and wide-screen beauty every time they walk outside in our little backyards? How silly is it to think that we are the perceivers of all that could possibly exist? It's simply not logical.
Do we have a pathetic need to find meaning to justify our existence? No, it's not just a "need." Are we so arrogant that we are certain nothing exists beyond the limits of our perceptions? No, that's just not logical. The evidence of many things existing beyond our perception is simple and self-evident. It's not need. It's just logic.
Then how do we know what these larger things are? We call it "God" for want of a better name, but do we know what that means? We don't. We can't! Religions attempt to define it, classify it, wrap it up in a package to dispense like marketable products on a store shelf, but the fact remains... No one knows. No one can. Isn't it better to maintain an open mind? Isn't it better to allow for many possibilities, to reject all exclusive, excluding, us-against-them dogma and to embrace our commonalities, the logic of the life we share, and the wonder of what may exist beyond the reaches of our senses and imagination? Isn't it better to let the child inside us imagine the possibilities, and the adult inside us draw all living beings into the embrace of those possibilities? Is it logical that "God," that something beyond our reach, would exclude this group of people or that group of people because of the words they use or the stories they tell, the rites they institutionalize or the books they read, the way they dress or the rules and taboos they create? Logic tells us this "God" must be much bigger than all that if it transcends and understands life itself. Logic lifts us above human pettiness and intolerance to imagine the possibility of kindness, acceptance, and true cooperation between beings. Logic lifts us above the tragic limitations of human religion and allows us to imagine a world where something much greater than our pettiness can be truly creative, intelligent, and all-encompassing.