Take Courage

 

Whoever denies their need for the mercy of God, denies the very air they seek to breathe.

 

Even beyond this the question is absolutely outside the realm of what we need, though we do need it! It should be known that any who understands the mercy of God desires it more than the air they breathe.

 

The perfect mother but only shadowed the tenderness which awaits the repentant heart. He tells us, “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” The caring affection of a grandmother is like a small stream compared to the vast flowing currents contained in the oceans of God’s care for His children.

 

Our everyday experience of hatred, darkness, betrayal, ignorance, disgust, and apathy are constant pointers in the opposite direction. If these evils assails us, there must be their opposite to relieve.

 

Sadly, many despair of the hope this world can give and relinquish themselves to this darkness which poisons.

 

For many it seems easier to hold on to a lie, than to face the pain of changing, admitting fault.

 

Resist the wholesale apathy which the world sells today. It is a lie and a detestable one. One which claims that human beings are not worth more than their subjective experience of pleasure. One which claims that our hearts are nothing more than the beating of flesh and blood, and certainly not a sign of the life-force which is pumped into us from the divine source, from our divine Father.

 

Take courage.NmnKzKIyQsyGIkFjiNsb_20140717_212636-3

 

The darkness is weak, it will always flee before the light. Darkness can never consume light where it resides. With that said, it is ours to invite the light, to embrace it.

 

Have you ever had the experience of finally overcoming ego and pride to forgive one who may not even have deserved forgiveness? Did you feel the lightheartedness, the release, the peace which followed such an action? For one who forgives, there is no wound that can overwhelm.

 

No amount of destruction could outmatch one pure act of love, sprouting from the plenitude of God’s mercy. Not even death can overcome love. For we look everyday to the saints who died, who were murdered in often times brutal forms, with forgiveness being the last gift released from their pure hearts. Still they hold us in loving concern.

 

They forgive their executioners.

The agents of their death. They do this because they know the plenitude of God’s love for which they willingly take up this sacrifice.

 

If it is abundance you seek, then you need God’s mercy. If you seek security, God is the only totally trustworthy being in the universe. If it is affluence you seek, I cannot even begin to describe the splendour of the heavenly riches given to us through a small act of compassion!

 

To claim that we can have compassion without God, is no different than to claim that we can have life without oxygen. All the while taking in its sustenance, even to claim those very words. This is but another example of God’s compassion who gives his gifts even to those who reject Him.

 

What must a person do to find this love, this mercy, this fatherly care?

 

To say nothing more than: “Papa, I’m here. I’ve missed you.”

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Perennial Philosophy: Are All Religions Guiding us to the Same Destination?

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Some ideas sound great but don’t work in reality.
 

Wouldn’t it be great if all religions pointed towards the same truth?
 

Is it possible, taking all religions in existence today as they are now, that this statement could be taken as true?
 

I find the idea hard to reconcile, if not impossible.
 

One man likened all the different religions in the world to a group of blind men all feeling a different part of the same elephant and describing these parts accurately, therefore far differently, despite the fact that they all had the same underlying source.
 

It sounds a bit like the great unifying theory which Einstein sought after: to put these seemingly incongruous parts into a neat and unified whole.
 

The fundamental flaw of the elephant argument is this: the existence of an elephant ear does not negate the existence of the tail.
 

Likewise the existence of the tail does not negate the existence of the trunk, and so on. Each blind man could describe his part of the elephant without denying the existence of the others.
 

Religions claims are not like this.
 

Their ideologies are, in the fullest sense of the word, contradictory.
 

One claims there is only one God and that no others exist, while some religions claim the existence of multiple gods.
 

Many religions claim that to follow anything different is to cause one’s damnation, and others state that we need not worry about death for every time we will come back for a second, third, and fourth chance, ad infinitum.
 

The bottom line is: these ideas of truth cannot co-exist, they cannot all be right.
 

Now I can say with certainty that there is a common human hunger that fuels the vast majority of all religious searching. This hunger, I believe, is the underlying truly universal principle in this equation. I must recognize that all religions are invariably products of the same source, though their contents are not equal.
 

If we acknowledge that all religions are pointing to the same truth, even though they contradict one another, then we must assume that some contain errors. If we acknowledge the existence of errors then we must also acknowledge the existence of the truth they contradict.
 

So the greatest question of all is not how can we reconcile our differences and accept every religion equally, rather how can we discern which religion contains the truth?
 

Only by answering this question will true fruit be drawn from such a perplexing tree.
 

Can the answer be known with certainty?
 

Yes.
 

How do I know when someone loves me?
 

It is the moment when I realise that they know me almost as well as I know myself.
 

Perhaps they indicate this with the perfect gift, or with a healing gesture that gives aid where I didn’t realise I needed it. Somehow, somewhere they communicate their love.
 

It is by this qualification (in combination with others) that I assert that God is not only knowable, but we can discern even His personality. One quality of which is His love.
 

I will go even a step further and state that the Catholic Church, the body of Christ, contains the Truth which our hearts hunger for and that this spiritual body is the fullest expression of God’s life within us.
 

Truth is a Person who awakens, enlivens, and beautifies every mind and heart that will accept Him.
 

My only supporting argument for my claim is the fire which burns in my heart, the vibrant life which pours out from my adherence to the Church’s principles, sacraments, and community.
 

All Christians come to the realisation sooner or later that their word is not good enough. I will take it as no surprise if any of my readers refuse to take my claims to heart based upon my words alone.
 

However, compelling me from within is the obligation of Truth.
 

Each human being is individually responsible to hunt out honestly what is, and what is not.
 

Even this pursuit, as with every worthwhile adventure, requires a leap of faith.
 

Someone reading this article who did not believe me but wanted to know more would have to trust me on at least one point: there is something in the universe worth knowing that they do not yet know.
 

I could repeat a thousand times that to be in communion with Jesus Christ is more valuable, more satisfying, more joyful than every pleasurable experience I have had combined.
 

However, my claim is easy to dismiss.
 

I would ask any doubtful person just this one question: If you had found something that truly achieved everything I have just claimed, wouldn’t you too be eager to share the news of this beautiful gift?
 

Wouldn’t it be supremely selfish to keep this knowledge hidden?
 

To conclude, I must reassert that all religions are not just different hands pointing to the same door. They are not different paths leading up the same mountain.
 

They are a multifaceted intersection departing and heading in different directions. Some lead to ruin, and others to life.
 

Truth can be known and there is no greater joy to not only know Truth, but to live it out as well.

Suffering (Part 2 of 3): If God is so Good, Why do People Suffer?

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If your a sucker for repetition, look into a video or online story about a great tragedy in which either the author, or a commenter, thanks God for the salvation of the people involved.
 

If the article is broadly popular soon after you will see comments like, “If God is so good for saving this one person, why did he let the others die?” Or, “If God is loving and all powerful why did he let this tragedy happen in the first place?”
 

Rather than being genuine curiosities, these comments are sucker punches directed at the weak stomach of a suffering soul.
 

This ridicule is lacking in a proper understanding of human life. Those who wield them fail to fully include all elements of their own argument.
 

If God exists and is all loving and all powerful, as we Christians claim, then the reality of the soul is a fact. If the soul does exist then eternal life is a question of real importance. Thus, if God truly loves us, which we believe, then His chief concern is our eternal life, above all else.
 

That means that freedom from suffering and death are part, but not all of, the life of the soul, which is eternal by nature.
 

This very reality was exemplified by the God we believe in.
 

Not only does he treat us as a parent lovingly treats a child, but He went one step further and lived out suffering as we must.
 

Christ is the living example of pure goodness, pure love. What did He receive for being the unblemished lamb? Death, brutal death, at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans. Where was our supposedly good God then?
 

For Christians the crucifixion is not the end of the story, but the beginning:
 

This saga calls us to a greater intimacy, a greater understanding of this mysterious and often ridiculed God.
 

To heal only our physical sufferings but to pay no attention to our spiritual maladies is akin to curing the symptoms of serious disease but ignoring the disease itself. It may feel better for a time, but in the end the patient is far worse off.
 

Thus, forgiveness trumps relief from suffering every time.
 

Forgiveness brings intimacy and relationship. It brings the possibility of reunion which, since God is who we claim He is, is the most important aspect of every human being’s life.
 

Christ endured more suffering then can be imagined.
 

He was the only person who actually had no guilt, who actually deserved no punishment, let alone capital punishment.
 

He endured this suffering because there is something greater then relief from pain.
 

He endured this suffering so we might know freedom from the deepest pains of the human heart, those which are indescribable, and far worse than any external tragedy could bring.
 

Most parents, whether they are religious or not, understand the importance of attending to the greatest good. Parents will deny their children what they want, causing suffering to their children temporarily, knowing that a spoiled child will suffer tremendously in the future, something far worse then this mild discomfort that is occurring in this moment.
 

We all know that a parent who caves in too often will spoil the child, and this is not love. It is a form of selfishness because the parent caters to their own anxiety and not to the needs of the child.
 

If God merely relieved us from every physical discomfort, it would actually spoil us into decadence while our spiritual life careened out of control. It would cast into jeopardy the most valuable treasure any human has: relationship with Him. Because God exists, death is not nearly as final as it would seem. It means that death is a transition and not an ending, which means that our human understanding of what death is, is incomplete.
 

Though it can be unbearable as we remember those we’ve lost, those who die are not lost to us. If God would allow any human person to die in a world where death is final, He would be a lie.
 

But if death is only the gate through which we enter into His presence, then who’s to say death is ultimately bad?
 

Any person who attempts to undermine the belief of another with the argument “If God is… , then why does this happen,” would be wise to consider fully just what life with God means. There comes a time in every believers life when this very question arises, and it is an important question to flesh out. When it is born through a genuine hunger for understanding, amazing beauty comes from this query.
 

When it is wielded as an assault on the beliefs of others, or as an idle thought in an otherwise unconcerned mind, it serves no purpose.
 

As a good parent hates to see their child suffer, but may allow it for the good of that very child, so we may rest assured that God only ever allows suffering if it is for the greatest good of our own our hearts and souls.

Individualism: The End of Meaningful Spirituality

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I would like to take some time to explore the idea of a “personal spirituality.”
 

In order to achieve this end I feel it necessary to first cover the principals of the spiritual world at large. I believe this discussion is worthwhile because I believe it impossible for someone with a “personal” spirituality to have a meaningful spirituality.
 

The nature of the spiritual world can be mysterious.
 

We often forget, however, that many of the properties of the physical world still apply to the spiritual. As science is keen to inform us, just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean that it is not constant! Oxygen and the other gaseous particles that make up our atmosphere are the invisible, but testable materials that sustain every moment of our living.
 

The spiritual is neither irrelevant nor of secondary importance as it might seem. It is true that I cannot be hit by a spiritual bus or clobbered by a spiritual gang, and so the immediacy of the spiritual can be lost, but none the less it is very real, and very important.
 

Some theologians and philosophers have discussed in great detail the idea that the spiritual gives rise to all matter: in effect, everything contained in the universe. They explain that the spiritual gives birth, it is procreative, and not the other way around. In this sense, air is only responsible for sustaining the life we have, but without the spiritual we would not even exist!
 

The debate over proving the spiritual life with science is a foolish errand because it will never bear fruit. It can only be said that those who believe in the spiritual often have an incredible amount of certainty, despite having little to no shareable evidence outside of personal stories and experiences.
 

Where could such overwhelming certainty come from if not from personal experience?
 

If we are to come to terms with the existence of the spiritual then we must consider the nature of it, as a scientist considers the nature of the universe.
 

One of man’s most visceral connections with the spiritual is his morality, or sense of right and wrong.
 

I have chosen this point specifically because even the person who rejects both God and the spiritual world knows the longing of the conscience for justice, for example.
 

Because of the spiritual, we have supernatural good and evil: the cosmic struggle between these two forces is a stark reality.
 

The second very important aspect of morality is that it refers to our relationships: between ourselves, and most importantly with God.
 

Here in lies the efficacy and beauty of spirituality: it always involves sharing, community, and connectedness. Never is spirituality simply a personal experience (in the finite sense), but always one of mutual experience, a deepening of relationship.
 

We must choose the side to which we belong: good or evil. To ignore the clash altogether is, arguably, to choose the side of evil. With that said, I believe it is safe to say that the majority of people defend goodness whether consciously or not.
 

It is now that we enter the realm of Spiritual Warfare.
 

These are the raging battles of the soul, the perilous journey of a person’s will, their ability to choose.
 

There is a burgeoning spiritual movement of people who say things like, “I don’t follow any religion or teaching, I just have a personal spirituality.” In essence, this is the equivalent of a single person going out as a “personal army” against the entire military strength of Russia in the height of the cold war. Any given soldier is a sitting duck without the structure and discipline of an army. As individuals we are useless against an organized enemy.
 

Wise military leaders sow seeds of disunity amongst their opponents army; they attempt to set them against one another. An army that is divided is an ineffective army. In exactly the same way, a hundred thousand Spiritual Individualists will do less good in the world than a hundred united souls.
 

There simply is no such thing as a meaningful “personal spirituality” precisely because it is just one person on their own. They remove the most essential element of spirituality: relationship.
 

If we seek to create spirituality in our own image we will inevitably discover a distorted image of ourselves through this search. It is to go in a giant and endless loop always leaving and ending at the same place.
 

To find the spirituality which brings peace, beauty, joy, we must work together. We must discuss, talk, argue, embrace, and love.
 
Religious dogma is not oppressive so long as it is founded in truth. In fact, it is the exact opposite. In the same way that a manual for a band-saw both protects the user and ensures the best possible result from the work, so religious doctrine seeks to ensure the safety of the believer as well as guide them into the highest possible union, the highest possible joy.
 

People today want to simply choose the parts of the manual that seem the best to follow, and to omit the parts that are uncomfortable or unworthy in their eyes. They say, to heck with safety goggles, those are uncomfortable and sweaty. Not realising that having a wood splinter in your eye is far worse than any discomfort caused by the safety gear.
 

And so it is with our individualist spiritualists.
 

They pick and choose what sounds good, or feels comfortable, instead of seeking the truth of why these rules or doctrines exist. In the end, they undermine themselves, and the community as a whole.
 

Now, it can be argued, quite rightly, that in the realm of the spiritual there are several manuals for the same machine and that these manuals are conflicting.
 

All the more reason to read them and to discern what they say!
 

This discernment must never come from a place of taste or preference though, but from an in depth search into whether or not they contain truth.
 

We do have an ace up our sleeves, however.
 

God is here to help, to listen, and to answer.
 

Don’t believe?
 

In that case, what harm could it possibly do to speak internally to no one?
 

If there is anything I can say with certainty, it is that if you ask, and you listen to the response, He will answer.
 

Often times His answer comes in an unexpected way, but it always comes.

Video Games: A Glance in the Mirror

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The phrase ‘rules are made to be broken’ is probably more meaningful than most realise. In Catholic tradition there is an understanding that charity always trumps any particular “rule”, or way of life.
 

I decided to break my rule of “one hour of video games a day” so that I could spend the night with my roommate during his birthday doing what he wanted to do.
 

I have given much thought to the conundrum of our continually blossoming habit of electronic entertainment.
 

Though I err on the side of less is more, and none is probably the best, I can see some redeeming qualities.
 

There is most forward in my mind the capacity of video games for bonding. Also, there is a certain form of excitement and feeling of accomplishment when all goes well. In addition there is a relaxing component to most video games that is desirable and there is intriguing research being done on the possibility of video games to help minimize PTSD. Most gamers will be quick to point out the artistic and creative elements that go in to making a game.

 
I do not consider video games to be bad by nature, but I regard them with great caution because of their effects on the human being. While it is true that many people can enjoy this entertainment in healthy moderation, I have seen far more of the opposite side of the spectrum: addiction.
 

I will not be surprised when authorities state that an enormous percentage of my generation (20-25 year olds) and the younger generations are bearing the burden of both video game addictions as well as pornography addictions.
 

The latter has already proven to be the case.
 

Someone once said to me, “There’s nothing wrong with playing video games all day.” When I heard this statement I did not respond outwardly, but internally I felt a great pain in my heart:
 

There is something wrong with playing video games all day.
 

The reason is not because of some silly argument like “video games are bad” or other related ideas, but stems more from our human side of the experience. There is something wrong with spending a sizable portion of a lifetime mindlessly manipulating two thumb sticks and some buttons in order to accomplish, arguably, next to no real world change or accomplishment.
 

Playing eight hours a day to achieve the highest level and the best items in World of Warcraft, for example, will be of no use on a person’s resume and in addition will probably lead to behaviours that are exactly the opposite of what employers are looking for.
 

Every addiction wears away a person’s capacity for self-motivation, clear and honest self-reflection, positive self-image, the capacity for active and lively compassion, as well as a number of other ramifications.
 

For example: my physiotherapist once told me that she is finding an increasing number of young individuals who now have the spine of a fifty year old. Hours and hours bent over playing games has warped their spines into an unnatural position. The negative results of a lack of exercise should be no mystery to us. Yet, few activities lend themselves to total inactivity more than video games and television.
 

If our physical bodies are ailing from this habit, what about our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual lives?
 

We can be assured that these suffer just as much.
 

I resent the ongoing movement which claims that playing video games is just “another way to spend your life”, because we might as well say that being an alcoholic is just another way to spend your life.
 

Even the best athletes do not practice nearly the same amount of time as many of the gamers I know spend playing games.
 

In order to believe that it is harmless spending ten hours a day playing games, I must also believe that human life is meaningless.
 

For how else could I rationalize such enormous amounts of valuable time to doing, essentially, nothing?
 

We all need relaxation, we all need a day every once in a while to just “veg”. I am not against that. On occasion I will spend lots of time playing games with my friends. For many people it is not an occasional day to veg, but every day off work, every half day after work, is spent with proximity to computers and consoles.
 

It is, in the fullest sense of the word, a waste; it is a waste of the awesome potential we have as human beings, having free thought, the ability to think, to be creative, to ponder the mysteries of the universe.
 

We are throwing away our capacity to reach out, to be loved, to love.
 

We grow in knowledge and wisdom in the areas of life where we spend the most of our time.
 

It is no surprise that those who spend more time on game consoles than in full time jobs have poor social skills. Many games employ active social elements in their games, but these interactions are not what any reasonable person would call deep or profound. Many of these gamers are very capable of having like minded friends, but their capacity to be strong, loving components of these relationships, or to be the stronger and more caring half of the relationship, is lacking.
 

I have seen the bonding that occurs around an X-Box console, and it is lacking in comparison to real and authentic conversation and mutual discovery. I have seen it a thousand times: it is impossible to have any meaningful conversation while one or an other participant of the conversation is engrossed in a video game, television show, or their cell phone.
 

They simply are not listening fully, and that is an awful person to have a conversation with.
 

It could be said that without this form of entertainment some people would never get to bond.
 

While this may be partially true, holding this opinion will only help to further isolate such people into these pseudo-relationships. If a relationship can start over video games then that is a good thing, but for it to grow it must never remain there indefinitely.
 

Video games have become a little nook to hide in where we can reside instead of facing the world, its challenges, and the very real adventure of creating new friendships and fostering them, of taking risks and leading a meaningful life.

Can We Fight Ideologies?

Many people today will tell you that they don’t care what ideology people adhere to, so long as they don’t harm anyone else.

 

Harm is a complicated matter though.

 

Harm comes in a myriad of forms: emotional, spiritual, physical.

 

In order for one human being to lash out at another a cascade of decisions must be made before that one action can be reached.

 

In a moment of heated passion even the greatest pacifist may lash out. However, this outcome is far less likely than another person who has been trained their whole life in the art of death, retaliation, and vindication.

 

What is often left unsaid is the underlying force that ideology plays on our actions.

 

In Islamic fundamentalism jihad is a reality.

 

Kill those who do not conform.

 

This form of killing, otherwise totally unknown in the natural world outside of human beings, is borne heavily out of ideological motivation. It is the fundamental element that separates human beings from animals: ideology, belief, the capacity to choose ideas, to be influenced by ideas. From this reality a great chasm is formed which enables we human beings to be both capable of loving, but also capable of cruelty.

 

If we, as humans, seek to end cruelty, torture, and war, what path must we take?

 

To simply kill our enemy is never a sufficient end; if his ideology lives on, then more will simply follow in his footsteps. In addition, dealing death to end death only results with more broken hearts, more grieving souls, more people willing to do whatever it takes to get revenge.

 

Sometimes, war is necessary, especially against a determined and violent invader. To decide when this is or is not the case is to stand on a line with an enormous grey expanse, and I pray that I will never find myself standing upon it.

 

There is a form of warfare that lies outside the battlefields, the training camps, and the broad expanse of military actions.

 

The ideology of death must be overcome.

 

Not destroyed or obliterated as in typical warfare, but consumed wholly by an ideology of life.

 

In the same way an animal grazes grass and incorporates that very grass to become part of it’s own self, transformed irreversibly into its own strength, in this way life must consume and eliminate death.

 

People don’t seem to realise the role that ideology plays in war.

 

We criticize unjust wars, we condemn the killing of civilians, but we rarely condemn the specific ideologies that lead to these atrocities.

 

Some have taken the path of making broad strokes and saying things like “religion is to blame,” but that is never an accurate insight into the stark reality.

 

Many operate under the pretense “believe what you like, as long as you don’t hurt anyone else.”

 

The problem is, is that once a person is harming someone else, it is already too late. Their ideologies have already poisoned their reason, their love, their compassion.

 

So what is left to do for this soul?

 

Do we kill them and prevent them from hurting others? Or do we try to indoctrinate them to understand that killing indiscriminately is not ok? Or do we take another route and put them in prison and isolate them to protect society?

 

The point is, we don’t want to arrive at this crossroads at all.

 

If we want to prevent such choices, then it means taking ideology seriously. It means understanding that belief is the fundamental trigger for violent human action.

 

Whether we would like to realise it or not, we are at war.war_and_love

Anyone who has taken part in a debate about abortion, for example, knows this well.

 

Our ideas can lead us to believe that life is wanton and a commodity to played with; conversely, we may see that it is immutably precious and deserving of rights. It can lead us to think that foreigners are somehow of lesser value, or that every human person is equally deserving of life. The results of devaluing human life can be seen in history over and over again.

 

The morality of war begins at home, in our living rooms, our kitchens, and our bedrooms. It starts in our workplaces and most especially in our thoughts.

 

I do not believe in and defend the existence of a loving God because belief is innocuous, but because of both a personal experience and the pain I see when I take a long sober look at the world news feed; I witness the price we are paying for our choices in the realm of belief. With Russia poised to invade the Ukraine under a guise of “humanitarian aid”, with ISIS enacting what is looking more and more like a genocide in northern Iraq, it is not difficult to witness firsthand.

 

In our own country we decry the death of innocent civilians in Gaza, especially children, while happily supporting our own assault on defenceless children in the womb.

 

We are in the fullest sense hypocrites.

 

Belief matters.

 

It is not just a choice we make, like which bananas to buy.

 

It is to pick a seed.

 

The seeds which I plant, consciously or not, become the tree of my own knowledge.

 

Either I choose the seeds of selfishness, death, and chaos, or the seeds of selflessness, love, and meaning.

 

When stated so simply it seems so simple, but the fact remains that it is not.

 

It is complicated because few spend time in prayer, in honest contemplation, in time spent sincerely exploring, reading, and sharing ideas.

 

Often I meet those who are capable of retorting to me the popular opinions shared on Reddit or other social media sites, but rarely do these thoughts contain personal insight.

 

I can respect an atheist who brings to me ideas, thoughts, and arguments which construct upon already known ideas, which respond to my own. But what is there in a person who merely takes something they heard the other day and regurgitates it, and nothing else?

 

The problem is not social media, but the death of curiosity.

 

The cultural gold of our current generation is the great advances in technology and education. With great advances we thrust ourselves into the world of technological innovation. This advancement will be forfeit, however, without the sobering and enabling qualities of morality and spirituality.

 

The use the of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima is a poignant reminder that all technological advance is not necessarily good in its own regard, but only good if wielded with a conscience.

 

If we simply take the opinion that sounds the best on the internet without personal reflection, we become no different than the unwillingly indoctrinated.

 

Freedom is popular in North America, but often times it is never exercised in a meaningful way.

 

To be free is not to idly accept the rebellion of others, but to understand and honestly accept or reject this rebellion based upon its actual merit and not its allure.

 

It is like a man who fought tooth and nail for a piece of farm equipment which was stolen from him. He argued that without this machinery he could not live, could not support his family. Finally, after a long, arduous battle, he wins the machine back. Except, in his victory he merely parks it in the shed, and leaves it unused for many years.

 

Few things are more exciting than climbing the machine of our freedom and taking it for a joy ride.

 

To see just what is out there, what of the world brings life, and what only leads to death.

Belief (Part 2 of 3): Belief and Happiness

The questions begs asking: Why can’t people just believe whatever makes them happy?
 

We live in a time where the notion of truth is treated like a fancy. Some like it, others do not, who really cares?
 

There is something wholly silly about not believing what is true simply because I fancy to believe in something different. Perhaps this view can be forgiven, for knowing what is true is not always simple and straightforward.
 

The question remains, if you knew what was true, beyond a doubt, would you not be inclined to believe it no matter how contrary to your own current beliefs it was?
 

If your answer to that question is no, I would find that profoundly curious. If your answer is yes, this bodes well, for this discussion may continue.
 

We are all forced to believe in the existence of a table we’ve just walked into.
 

The person who claims that the table does not exist will only walk into it again, causing no small discomfort.
 

Each person may believe that the table exists or not: why couldn’t they hold this belief so long as they are happy? I cannot help but suggest: who cares what people want to believe, we can all recognize that the table does exist.
 

It is plain that fact is not a matter of opinion. It never has been and it never will be.
 

No amount of forceful mental exertion will ever alter a fact.
 

I will also go one full step further and say that knowing truth is fundamentally a profound and joyful experience, and likewise knowing lies is tragic.
 

The reason people cannot just believe what they want so long as it makes them happy is that the truth sets us free, and lies do not.
 

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In order to believe that all people firm in their beliefs are happy requires that we never dig any deeper than the surface level of things.
 

For the person who dares to venture deeper into the hearts, the wounds, the psyche of the everyday person, they will find great sorrow and confusion mixed alongside joys and love. After a little further experience they will discover that some have far more pain than joy, and others far more love than confusion.
 

If you go into an intense discussion with someone like a neo-Nazi who still believes that the non-Aryans are to be exterminated, you will find great hatred being the source of this lie. This person will no doubt claim they have the truth and that this truth has set them free. It is simple to recognize that they have been sold a lie and that this lie has poisoned their reason.
 

As a direct result his joy will be diminished, his love decrepit, and everything that could hold meaning will be lost to him.
 

That is an extreme example but one important reality cannot be ignored:
In as much as our beliefs are based on lies we will discover pain and confusion.
In as much as our beliefs are based on truths, we will discover, inevitably, peace and joy.
 

So you can see, it is always in our best interest to embrace truth and not lies.
 

Why then has our culture, or society, abandoned truth and chosen personal whim instead?
 

Here is a complicated question that is not easy to answer.
 

I argue that we all still truly want truth, we’ve just become jaded to the multiplicity of claims in the world.
 

Which one of us has not been deceived at one time or another?
 

This is a painful experience which makes us more hesitant to trust again. It seems a universal mistrust in anything not proven in a laboratory has overcome our ability for clear thinking.
 

Some may argue that this is just fine, but I argue that those who ignore all truth not discovered within the scientific method will inevitably miss the most profound, joyful, enlightening, and meaningful moments life has to offer.
 

They are free to encourage their own willful ignorance of all else there is to know, but I strongly recommend a different course of action.