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What if?

One of my biggest temptations is materialism – not in the common vernacular sense – I care very little about stuff. I refer to philosophical materialism – the assumption and belief that nothing exists outside of space-time-energy.

 

That assumption is founded on evidence discernable to the rational human mind. It pre-assumes no other possibilities, no other dimensions, no alternative realities undetectable by observation and experimentation. It begins with the conclusion that the material time-space cosmos is all there is. It rejects religion based on the poor behavior of religious people. It dismisses the Bible because it reads the Bible with the same wooden literalism and simplicity of an uneducated fundamentalist.

 

Philosophical materialism tempts me, I think, because I was raised by a very cerebral, highly educated, widely read, scientist. Paradoxically, he was not tempted with a materialistic view of creation. He was open-minded enough to seriously consider the possibility of God and all that comes with that possibility. He dismissed nothing prejudicially. It’s not my dad’s fault, but somewhere along the line, I absorbed enough of that view that it haunts me from time to time.

 

Suppose there is no God, no eternity, no ultimate justice? The thought is frightening. If it is true, Nietzsche was right – life is absurd, only the strong survive, justice is an illusion, Jesus is the pale enemy, a person’s highest goal is to bravely stare down the absurdity and meaninglessness. It drove him insane.

 

I flip the question. Suppose there is a God and eternity is real? And suppose that God is like Jesus – self-sacrificing, altruistic, perfect other-oriented love? What if there really is a God and that God is understanding, caring, empathetic? What if God is nice and likes us? Ah, life now has purpose, meaning, and the moral arc of the universe does indeed bend towards justice.



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