All things being equal: a contrast between celibacy and sterilization

game-characters-1751447_1280

I recently read a provoking article in the Metro newspaper, often found scattered about in our local buses and subway transit system. It is entitled “The mother of all double standards,” and it rallies against the medical system which it accuses of offering permanent sterilization for men more readily than for woman.

 

We are introduced to Andy Prosserman who, though he never got a vasectomy in his 20’s because he “knew that this would be irresponsible,” did in fact get one at the age of 30. While I was under the impression that the journey of self-knowledge takes a lifetime, apparently 30 was enough.

 

In lieu of having kids, Prosserman is seen posing, ready for his new life of liberty and indulgence: in one frame of a six part montage he is seen holding a bottle of Glenlivet 12 year old scotch, in another a Nintendo controller, and in yet another his passport.

 

When I looked at these images of what must be at least in part the ideal life of Prosserman, I could not help but be overwhelmed by a sense of deep regret for this man, for the trade that he has made.

 

My reaction can be explained by another incredible social phenomenon.

 

Do you ever wonder why Isis has managed to capture the imagination of so many youth?

 

It is because we live in a world that tells us that scotch and video games, in other words unlimited personal indulgence, is the pinnacle of our existence.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

If someone told me that the meaning of my life was to stuff my proverbial gullet with as many pleasures as humanly possible before I died, I would go join Isis too. At least they understand sacrifice on some level, though they have a very twisted idea of what that means. At least they understand what it means to serve a higher cause, even though what they call a higher cause is actually darkness and death.

 

Our brothers and sisters join Isis because at least in the sands of the middle east, or even within the borders of their own countries, these young souls looking for meaning can die for something, because even the illusion of a meaningful sacrifice is more tantalizing than the alternative.

 

Humanity is made in such a way so that our own gift of self to the point of self-sacrifice is the very pinnacle of our existence.

 

It is said that Jesus came, not to be served, but to serve.

 

Meanwhile, Prosserman is going to find at the bottom of his scotch bottle his own emptiness looking up at him. One day he will ask himself, “Surely there has got to be more than this.”

 

What is disturbing is that the author of the article, Sofi Papamarko, doesn’t give any concern whatsoever for the wellbeing and the interior life of these individuals. She does not so much as ask as to whether permanently destroying the body’s capacity to produce life is questionable.

 

Her only concern: equal access for men and women.

 

Think about what happens to a society that favours equal rights, or anything for that matter, over a love and appreciation of life.

 

In The Gospel of Life by Pope John Paul II, it is pointed at that “in the Old Testament, sterility is dreaded as a curse, while numerous offspring are viewed as a blessing.” (44) Nothing is more natural for living breathing beings than to bring life into this world, to continue their existence through their progeny.

 

From the eyes of this ancient Jewish people, we are all clamouring over one another to have equal access to a curse.

 

No one seems to care, just so long as access is equal.

 

Undoubtedly, at this point, someone will remind me that the majority of Catholic priests (there are some married Catholic priests) and all Catholic religious live celibately, which is to say they do not marry, nor have sex, nor have kids.

 

The first difference between sterilization and celibacy is sex.

Sterilization in modern western society has one purpose: to be able to have sex while undermining its natural result, which is children. They want the maximum pleasure, with the least responsibility. Turning the pursuit and goal of sex into pleasure, however, naturally cheapens it and makes it into yet another item for consumption. Thus, the love within flees before an ever greedy appetite for personal gratification, at no cost.

 

Celibacy, on the other hand, is focused towards giving life. A priest or religious does not renounce marriage, and by consequence sex and children, because they fear responsibility, or because “they know what they want.” They do it because they want to dedicate their lives in the deepest way possible to the glory of Christ, which brings life in the fullest sense possible.

 

Take the priesthood as an example:

 

The man who does not have the desire to be a father, should never be a priest.

 

For a priest becomes the father of all, the caretaker and the intercessor for every soul. If he lives out his vocation, he gives up the luxury of caring about himself, and learns to die daily for those he loves.

 

Likewise, I was once told that to become a contemplative monk in order to flee the chaos of the world was a terrible reason, and a false one. Those brave monks and nuns live cloistered lives so that their life may bring fruit in the world via their heartfelt prayers to the Divine who participates in all life.

 

The difference is enormous.

 

Prosserman sterilized himself so he could he could pleasure himself; celibate priests, monks, and nuns refrain from the beautiful earthly pleasures of marriage and children in order to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others.

 

The former sees only himself, while the latter see everyone at once.

 

What greater form of equality is there than to see others before myself?

Advertisements

God in Nature, God in Church

7QCITQYBUD
Few experiences beat the serenity and peace found in a long hike up a mountain. There is just something incredible about being physically disconnected from all the bustle, noise, stress, and on-goings of city life. The crisp air, the sounds of nature, the fresh smells. Something here speaks to a very fundamental place in humanity.
 

I reflect on this reality often when I am confronted with a common denunciation of organized religion: nature is my church, I go there to worship God.
 

It is true that the prophets were often drawn to the wilderness, to the high places. Christ Himself often sought refuge in the stillness of secluded and isolated locations in the desert and elsewhere. Still, I have to ask myself, can nature replace Church?
 

I see two helpful roads for this discussion. The first being what really lies at the heart of this argument (or more accurately at the heart of its supporters), and the second addressing what we have to gain by worshiping in common.
 

I hit a wall very quickly when I try to see the reason in this refusal of Sunday worship: since when was it an either or equation?
 

Plenty of my fellow Christians love the outdoors and go there often. At the same time, they share a devoted passion for liturgy and communal worship. The idea of “worshiping in nature,” really has nothing to do with nature at all, but a distaste for what happens in a Church.
 

Often I get the impression that what these folks mean by “worship” is something rather similar to enjoy. To enjoy something is for the individual only, and not for God. To worship God is to give all reverence and glory to Him who created it, and that is an external action. It requires effort and acknowledgment.
 

The heart of the matter simply remains that if we really wish to worship God, then we worship Him according to the means He provided for our own good. The emphasis is not on where and how I want to worship, but precisely upon God’s preference and desire.
 

This is to love God.
 

I am sure there are many causes for this hesitancy or out-right refusal to worship in community.
 

One perhaps being a general mistrust of others. This may either be a unhindered distaste for humankind in general stemming from past wounds and rejections, or perhaps just an inability to express something intimate, my relationship with God, in the presence of the community.
 

Another reason could be associated with the anxiety of being seen in a place of worship, the fear of being associated with “them,” the church going types. Being a believer is increasingly becoming a counter-cultural act, and a rather unpopular one at that.
 

In any case, the mentality that I can go it on my own, without the fraternal aid and support of the community is folly, and if left unchecked, it leads to spiritual ruin. For no person is wise enough to travel the long and arduous path to God alone. There are simply too many pitfalls, traps, and snares which await the sincere believer.
 

We need each other.
 

421990A57C

In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis articulates the idea very well: “God can show Himself as He really is only to real men. And that means not simply to men who are individually good, but to men who are united together in a body, loving one another, helping one another, showing Him to one another. For that is what God meant humanity to be like; like players in one band, or organs in one body.”
 

The second downfall of the notion of worshiping in nature exclusively is the immense loss of missing out on communal worship.
 

Anyone who has played in a well practiced and unified band knows that this experience can be nearly mystical. The combined and harmonized efforts of the group creates a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts. From this experience is created incredible music.
 

It is also true for worship, and the fruits of communal worship is truly mystical.
 

As Lewis points out, not only is communal worship better, it is also exactly what we were created for. In the Catholic tradition, even the most secluded hermit prays in communion with all the faithful using prayers which match exactly those of the faithful worldwide. In addition, they attend if at all possible a communal Sunday worship with their brothers or sisters.
 

They understand always that they leave the world specifically to be united to it, and to pray for it, with a greater fervency and intensity.
 

My point being that they are never separate, or on their own.
 

This is never the feeling I get from those who follow the idea of worship in nature.
 

They most often strike me as those lacking the energy and spirit of charity towards neighbour. They are often the types to be judgmental of all the failings of church leaders or those who attend, while not seeing their own.
 

A priest once told me of an exchange he had with a man on the street who said to him, “Why would I go to church, it’s full of hypocrites!” He immediately replied, “Yup, and we’ve got room for one more.”
 

It is true that every church community has its wounds, its errors, its failings. After all a church community is a family. Should we expect anything different from a family?
 

If it is not the communal aspect of church, the other which can often turn people off, especially since the social upheaval of the sixties, is the structure and order of the Church. The dogmas, the rules, the hierarchy, etc.
 

C.S. Lewis recalls an experience where he was giving a talk on theology and “an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, ‘I’ve no use for all this stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!’”
 

Lewis continues to explain that this man had a good point. That to go from this real experience to the dogmas was akin to “turning from something real to something less real.” Like going from a view of the ocean itself, to a map. “Turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper.”
 

However, he finishes by making the point that the map, though not as real, contains thousands of combined experiences coming from thousands of different people. That this map, which is not the thing itself, does tell us how to navigate the dangerous ocean safely.
 

“The doctrines are not God.” They are, however, a guide to reach our destination safely.
 

He drives his point home: “You see, what happened to that man in the desert may have been real, and was certainly exciting, but nothing comes of it. It leads nowhere. There is nothing to do about it. In fact, that is just why a vague religion—all about feeling God in nature, and so on—is so attractive. It is all thrills and no work…”
 

Without the work to which Lewis refers, we also fail to obtain the fruits: supernatural charity, love, and perseverance in all kinds of difficulties and evils.
 

We need each other, we need the map.
 

In the end we work to accomplish here what we hope to discover in heaven. Heaven is a community of persons, of love. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t work to accomplish that goal right here and now.

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

Painted Background 501

 

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.

Because I Love You

Why I cannot allow a friend, a friend I love, to persist in a shallow understanding of life?

 

It is because I love him.

 

If love is defined as having a mere physiological response to someone whom we are attracted to, then my claim is an error.

 

If a loving relationship is actually a bond between two people desiring only what is best for the other, how could I not want this for my friend?

 

Some matters of belief and action are actually six of one and a half-dozen of the other. One man opens a beer bottle with a can opener, another can do it with his lighter.

 

Makes no real difference.

 

But some ideas and notions of belief form the very person that we become: our ideas, our inspirations, our motivations, things that have profound consequences on many aspects of life, happiness and fulfillment, for example.

 

If a parent says to their child over and over again, “You are ugly, no one will ever love you.”

 

How could these words not become the person’s sense of self over time? Especially if no contrary message is provided?

 

On the other hand, what if the parent said, “You are beautiful, anyone who doesn’t recognize that doesn’t love you.”

 

Now we have a child who will grow to understand a healthy notion of what it means to be loved.

 

Someone once told me, “I know love is greater than beauty and attraction, but I must look beautiful to find someone to love me.”

 

If we tailor ourselves to people who are only pleased by looks, we will discover the approval of, not surprisingly, shallow people concerned only about appearances.

 

It cannot be denied that beauty plays a powerful role in the field of attraction.

 

Truly, physical beauty should always be a secondary concern within our search for a lifelong mate. The difference I am suggesting is that character, virtue, compassion, and understanding are the forms of beauty which we crave far more, whether we are willing to admit this or not.

 

It works exactly in the reverse as well.

 

Those who are strong and wholesome people in life, are attracted more by these qualities than by looks alone.

 

This reality creates the greatest impediment to adopting this understanding of who we are. It means that we cannot just alter our appearance in the hopes of becoming better more attractive people. We must make real, internal life changes; changes that will hurt because they are personal, but will mature us into someone who is truly attractive to the people who really matter.

 

It is tragically ironic. Those who seek to fulfill their selfish ends by judging on beauty alone, cut corners and impatiently grasp at relationships that look pleasing, which in the end sacrifices their own happiness of finding a partner who truly loves them!

 

For it brings the heart inexpressibly more joy to know complete love and acceptance, then to date a “ten out of ten”.

 

I am not suggesting that beauty and strong character are mutually exclusive, they often coincide.

 

The difference is between immaculate grooming which is excessive, and taking proper care of oneself as a means of respect and personal expression. The first implies only one message: “I’m an object that is only loveable if it is beautiful.”

 

To believe that I must be beautiful in order to be loved is a lie.

 

It is the worst of lies because it causes us to sell ourselves short.

 

It can cause us to settle for someone who claims to find us ‘beautiful’, instead of waiting for the one who actually loves us.

 

Besides, despite all the creams, powders, pills, antioxidant filled pastes, and injections in the universe, beauty fades.

 

If someone loves you only because of your appearance, they will hate you when you grow old and lose your looks.

 

Plain and simple.

 

So to my friend: you deserve a woman who loves you just as you are.

 

Not as a cliche overused phrase, but as an actuality.

 

Tailoring yourself to anyone different is a fool’s errand.

 

Telling yourself you need to look better to find love is killing you from the inside out, because it is demeaning your own self-knowledge of who you are, and the love you deserve. In addition, it distracts us from the real personal change that needs to happen, the necessary maturation that will transform us to be loving, attractive people.

 

It is painful to wait, to want companionship and in not finding it, having the patience to wait, until the unexpected surprise of meeting the one.

 

She’s out there, and she will love you, just as you will love her.

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 3 of 3): The Simplicity of The Ancients

file0001225634898
 

It has been said that God makes sages out of fools, that the intelligence of the intelligentsia will become their own stupidity; the simplicity of the fool will become his path to true wisdom.

 

While pondering these words I couldn’t help but compare ourselves, living in the age of over-abundant skepticism, to our more straightforward precursors.

 

Think of the times of the Romans and the barbaric clans who surrounded the refined Roman borders. Or of the ancient Jews who were a seemingly insignificant people in the ancient historical records. Or of the ancient pagan civilizations of the Middle East, Indian, Mesopotamia, Egypt etc.

 

Perhaps you have no experience of these cultures? Allow me to entertain you with a few ideas of these times.

 

The people in Old Testament biblical times were pretty straight forward about their gods. You worship the god you need to worship in order to avoid being fried from the earth. Simple. If some passer-by could introduce to you another god who visibly and tangibly displayed his power, then by all means you were forced to believe in this new god.

 

There was a certain poetic practicality to their believing: believe and worship the right god, get all the good stuff, avoid destruction.

 

Though not perfect, I can admire this mentality. Where they have one up on us, is that they actually looked for signs of the power of another god, they even had recorded competitions between their gods.

 

These people, through not experiencing the delusion that they had mastered the world via modern science, still understood their powerlessness. They still understood themselves within the most awesome perspective of mystery and wonder.

 

This reality has not died, but man in his limited scientific success has deemed himself deity of the world. It may come as a surprise that curing illness does not grant man supernatural power, like creating something from nothing.

 

Likewise, none of our technologies, bound by the laws of the universe, are capable of anything beyond the predictable reality of the universe.

 

We cannot even create one speck, one atom, one iota of the most fundamental part of every person’s, every animal’s, and ever living thing’s existence: life.

 

Admittedly we may borrow the faculties which have been given us to create life via the known methods of procreation, but even then we only take the seed and the egg which have already been given us. No man or woman has ever truly, from nothing, produced life.

 

I digress: Do you know why science is often very exhausting? Because some prune has the audacity to claim that he has mastered some field of the universe! When he truly is nothing more than a careful observer.

 

Yes, I know that many a scientist exclaim regularly about the great realities and mysteries of things like quantum physics and black holes and relativity. Yes they say these things, but something like atheism would never exist if they didn’t believe in their hearts at a deep fundamental level that everything left unknown is just more stuff to be discovered; like finding more species at the bottom of the ocean. Even when considering the awesome possibilities of worm holes or parallel universes, you can’t help but get the impression they are just describing an ultra-complicated jigsaw puzzle that has a simple, materialistic explanation after all.

 

Fairy tales are not interesting because they present impossible realities for the fancies of children. If that were true no adult would love a good sci-fi or fantasy novel. We love fairy tales because they resound with the mystery which resides daily in our hearts.

 

No scientist, philosopher, or everyday thinker should ever claim to understand the universe, or to be at the verge of understanding it, or something so inane as that science is about to break the boundaries and understand all things.

 

Nothing could be less scientific.

 

One man once said to me that ‘science was on the verge of proving that God does not exist’.

 

I could say in reply, “It is fairly definitive that your curiosity does not exist.”

 

It should be remembered that without curiosity, a hunger into knowing the unknown, a field like science would never exist.

 

In knowing our boundaries we discover mystery, and in knowing mystery we begin to open our eyes to the places and parts of the universe which cannot be found in telescopes, microscopes, or in the tired fancies of egoists.

 

Everyone who’s ever read a good fairy tale knows that the things that cannot be seen contain the greatest powers and are integral parts of every great adventure. What would happen if we all had a little more simplicity like our ancient brethren and awoke our eyes to see beyond the veil of being “masters of our universe”?

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.
 

JOHN

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.