DO WE REALLY NEED RELIGIONS?
All religions have their basis in the question: What is the purpose of this existence in this Universe?
There are two basic answers to this question: either no, there is no purpose; or yes, everything is meaningful.
Taking the latter point of view has its psychological advantages, because it creates an underlying meaningfulness to everything and makes us feel that our own lives are part of a bigger purposeful picture as well. We may think we are mere specks of star-dust, but, in fact, something marvellous is really happening in the world (and the cosmos) around us.
God, or the gods, is a simple way of saying why the Universe is purposeful. But in practice, the God-idea evolved into something sinister and perverse – dogma.
Religions as such, have taken a patent out on the concept of the Universe’s meaningfulness, and we have suffered millennia of human conflict and strife because of the defenders of the God copyright.
However, God is not a necessary component of a meaningful Universe. The Universe can be just meaningful in itself.
Of course, “meaning” is just a human-made concept, and the English-language version of that concept. Without self-conscious, rational beings, there can be no meaning as such, because meaning implies an entity capable of understanding that meaning.
Hence the assumption that God is necessary for a purposeful Universe. However, homo sapiens and other self-conscious life forms exist in this Universe whether God exists or not. Life has evolved, in a non-deterministic way, through trial and error. There is no need for God in understanding the purposeful Universe. In fact, if we do feel it to be necessary to throw in a Creator, then it would make more sense to imagine that creator being blind. Existence itself is a desiring, intentional thing. Existence wants to exist and humanity, as a sapiens organism, is an integral factor in that existence.
Berkeley was right when he argued that, in a practical sense, nothing would exist if there were no consciousness. But he most probably was wrong in assuming that the Universe itself is conscious. The Universe probably created consciousness, unconsciously. However, if we affirm that the Universe is purposeful, then there must be an unconscious desire in the unconscious-Universe for the evolution of consciousness within it. This desire resides in the need to exist. The motivating current of our Universe is “To be, or not to be”, affirming the first part.
EXISTENCE AND MEANING
A desire for existence implies a desire for the preservation of that existence and ultimately an eternal existence. Eternity only makes sense if the Universe itself makes sense by being meaningful.
Meaning therefore is embodied in the existential reality of the Universe; in the meaning in the act of becoming involved in the eternal-process of knowing and being known that is the Universe’s relationship to itself and to the life it has created. Life that is the centre and purpose of its creation.
This point of view is atheistic, but anti-nihilistic. The important thing is universal achievement and the fulfilment of our essence which is always in life itself.
The nature of life then, is to exist, which means, live and rejoice in living. Its striving is to overcome the non-existence implicit in death. It is here where the authentic human nature lies – in our shared purpose with the Universe.
SEE ALSO: THE IMPORTANCE OF METAPHYSICS https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/the-importance-of-metaphysics/