We waste billions on investigating space, when we know that man could never live outside the thin layer of atmosphere which embraces the world. We try to find life, in any form “out there” and claim that this might be proof that we are not alone. We justify senseless expeditions to dead planets and pretend that one day we might colonize these inhospitable places.
We find fossils – no matter how bizarre and call them relatives and we create images showing the evolution of man from something in our ancient past and then slowly evolving into what we are today. In doing so we deny the mathematics that tell us that there simply has not been enough time for this to happen, no matter how many billions of years we ascribe to the process. It is mathematically impossible.
The more we learn about the world and all the life forms that surround us and even our own bodies, the more we appreciate that we are simply scratching the surface. We lie on our backs in the garden and stare up into the skies above us at night and try to imagine that it goes on forever. Somehow a curtain descends in our minds and halts the imagination as if a silent hand drew it across the stage behind which, it all exists.
We develop technologies and find uses for stuff that has lain dormant in the ground for tens of thousands of years and then treat it as if it was going to last forever. We learn how to live in cities and in crowded places and if we have the money, live as if there are no limits to our consumption. We pollute our tiny fragile planet and then express outrage at how it responds – 50 degrees Celsius in Vancouver, wild fires in Denver, floods in other places, all symptoms, if only we could read them, of a struggling global system that is so finely balanced that even a tiny shift could destroy all life.
Instead of finding ways in which to work together to solve our problems and to manage our globe in a sustainable way, we fight each other. At any one point in all our history there has always been wars and armed conflict. We fight over language, real estate, culture, ideology, space and anything else that might justify going to war or localized conflict. It is absurd.
I watched a film the other night based on a story about conflict between the super powers. New technologies, submarines as large as battleships, weapons so accurate that they can target a minivan 15 000 miles away with pin point accuracy. Missiles so fast that they cannot be tracked and destroyed. Symbols of might and power accumulated beyond all rational limits. We saw two World Wars last century – the next will make those conflicts look like a Sunday school picnic.
Given our genius and capacities, it is extraordinary that despite our ability to generate value on a scale never seen or imagined, we still have a quarter of the world’s population living on the edge of starvation and complete deprivation. Despite our population densities and education and our ability to meet everyone’s physical needs, we are lonelier and have a higher number of suicides than ever before. We have social problems such as drug addiction, alcohol abuse and mental illness on a scale that, from the outside, would make any space based observer think this was a nut house with the crazies in charge.
And yet! What a wonderful world we live in and what a great time to be alive. We have everything we need to make life here, on earth, a living delight. All it takes is living by the rules.
Whose rules? That is the next question and this is where the difficulties arise. If you are an agnostic or atheist your problem is that there are no rules, you have to make them up as you go. If you know anything about Mankind, then you will appreciate how chaotic such a process would be. Most people would immediately craft a set of rules that suited them, their needs and life styles.
If you are an avid democrat then you blithely go into the sunset using a set of rules established by an elected minority, who once they get into power decide that they know best, or worse, take the common denominator on everything, usually the lowest point in the equilibrium. Should the moral consensus in a democracy slip (as it is doing in most Western countries) then the rules will adjust to accommodate the new consensus no matter what that might be.
If you are a convinced Communist, then the Party rules – OK? No debate, your leadership comes out of an incestuous structure that is the Party, has grown up in the Party and accepts that the Party is all powerful and all knowing. Fine for a bunch of lemmings, but also suicidal in many cases. Mankind has to give up so much in those societies – just look at the slavish, flag waving in North Korea or Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The nightmare spectacle of 5 000 men in uniforms or identical suits, all clapping hysterically at every word that emanates from the Party platform. It works, but often hides another nightmare.
Then you might live under a Dictatorship – seen a few of those this past century, but nothing like history with the Pharaohs and the great Emperors and conquistadors. So we might have a Hitler or the King of Swaziland, whose word is law and who claim the sovereign right of rulemaking as if they were mandated by God. Sometimes it works – the benevolent dictatorship, but most times it takes mankind down an alley with a precipice at the end of the road.
Rules? If any, where could they come from? I once went to hear a talk by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian Christian Dissident in Geneva. He stated in his talk that in the Soviet Union they had to lock up their best physical scientists because when they examined the physical world in which they operated, they saw only order and design and asked the impossible question of where it came from? Belief in God was outlawed and intellectual honesty with it. The Soviet State was officially Atheist. But they could not supress the belief in God and when the Soviet Union collapsed, the Russians reverted to belief in God and the Orthodox Church and a rules based society based on Christianity. At the same time, they eventually restored the Tsar in the form of Putin, but that is another story.
So where does the truth lie, who makes the rules by which Mankind might live and find his real self and worth.
I am afraid here I am an old style fundamentalist. I really do believe that the Bible holds the key to this ancient dilemma. It alone, in all the writings in the world, tells a story that somehow makes sense. God does exist, He is real and works in the world in which we live and die. He created the world and gives all of life meaning and significance. He sets the rules.
It is no coincidence that our modern judicial system is very much based on the ten Commandments. That the American Constitution, which was crafted by men whose lives were soaked in the Scriptures, takes a biblical view of the true nature of man as a fallen creature. Which recognises the need to limit State power and decision making and to splits the responsibilities of Government between the three arms of the State, each of whom supervises the other. This is a biblical rules based system, in my own view, the only one that makes sense.Post published in: Featured