2010-07-27

Souls May be Imaginary, but They Can Still Feel

There is a global epidemic growing at unprecedented rates as we speak, but no one is measuring.  It has been partially identified as depression, anxiety, fascism, environmentalism, the championing of some cause.  All of these are symptoms.  People know this, deep down, but symptoms are easier to fix than the real problem.  The real problem has scarcely been named or acknowledged.  It exists only in a fleeting glance, a moment of clarity, or a very telling dream.

Individual people are facing a philosophical crisis.  God is dead.  By 'God' I mean the collective image we have of God as being human-like, responsive, interventionist, and judging.  The only concept even close to replacing God is science.  Science, however, is not a satisfying replacement for God, as a concept.  Science does not allow a question to go unanswered, and that poses a problem.  We can't answer all of our questions.  Not even Einstein was satisfied with his theories of relativity and quantum mechanics when he died.  There is no default point when one can say, "oh well, this is Science's will, and I'm just not meant to understand, and that's OK."

We've come to criticize those who use this escape clause associated with God, and think of them as ignorant compared with those of us who believe in science.  Don't get me wrong, God is dead for a reason.  The negative, controlling aspects of God were over-exploited by churches to gain power, and we turned away.  God was exploited to death.  To believe in God now is to take on a burden, not grow wings.  Why would anyone want to do such a thing?

Yet, with the absence of God and nothing to suitably step up as a replacement, what we are left with is nothing.  We are left with not just a void, but THE void.  Without something to help mankind deal with the blind spots of our being, the limitations of perception, of cognition, of individual will and knowledge, humanity is left with only the conclusion that individual life is the sum of its shortcomings.  Science does not serve as a reminder of the mysterious aspects of our lives.  Science is founded on the concept that all questions will be answered and if you happen to die before they all get answered, well, best luck to you, buddy.

I'm not science-bashing.  I am merely making the point that science is not a suitable substitute for the concept of God.  Just the fact that God is capitalized says it all.  The word 'science' isn't written with a capital 'S'.  Let me be clear that I am a lover of science, and I do find some comfort and much fascination in what we continue to learn using the scientific process.  It is necessary, and it should never compete with any belief in a higher power.  Yet, at this moment in time, people put the two up head-to-head in make believe cage matches all the time.  It saddens me that people who claim to have true faith in God would pit God vs. science as if the two were on an equal playing field.  The person who does this has no faith in God--all claims to the contrary are false.

We are caught in a philosophical dilemma, my friends.  For some reason, human beings ask questions.  Questions much bigger than ourselves.  We ask "what is the meaning of my life, my experiences?"  Something bigger than ourselves must help us in seeking these answers.  An individual is all too aware of his or her inability to answer them alone.  Another person doesn't know any more than the seeker; the two are both in the same sinking rowboat.  Science can identify the physical reality of the world, but can't explain meaning.  Meaning is not a fact.  But it is important.  Without any hope of meaning, the brain is sick, and although we know depression exists, no one can understand the reason for it.  Why some and not others?  No evidence predicts the occurrence reliably.  Symptoms are treated, but I think good doctors know, deep down, this is what would be called, in another time, a 'spiritual problem.'

I have only one, tiny proposal to start solving this problem.  Morally, I am opposed to presenting a problem and not even having the gall to give one's own opinion of a solution, no matter how foolish it is.  Even if we can't believe in God anymore, can we give the Soul another chance?  Can we all just consider, even the cynics and non-believers, for a moment, that even though religion got God wrong, they were right about one simple thing?  Just for the sake of healing all our heartbreak, let's just believe for a moment in Soul.  

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