Life’s a lot harder to live when you don’t believe in anything. I’m not about to try and convince you of this — it’s simply a fact. We’ll all go through a wealth of challenges in our lives, and without a suspension of our disbelief to carry us through them, I’d argue that we’d all be doomed.
We’re all searching for something, though I’d be surprised if any of us really know what it is. Truth? Purpose? Salvation? It could be any of these things or something else altogether — I won’t pretend to know what it is.
But what is life like when you don’t believe in anything? When you take all of life at face value, thinking that there’s no ultimate reward for good behaviour? Nothing that separates a good person from a bad one save a handful of genetic code? Or perhaps no reason behind the actions you take daily — that you’re simply drifting along in life, trying to make the best of each day given to you?
In some ways, I think that just might be one of the saddest ways to lead a life.
Me, I’m always looking for meaning. I believe that there’s far more to the world around us than we ever give it credit for. I think we spend far too much time trying to understand what goes on in the world around us and not enough trying to do the best we can, regardless of whether we fully comprehend everything that crosses our paths.
I know the world is broken — I could be on top of current events, but a certain set of truths usually glaze my eyes over whenever I pick up a newspaper:
People invest more in despair, conflict and misery than they do happiness, something well-reflected in headlines across every paper that I pick up
If it isn’t about the above, then it’s about celebrities: the people we aspire to be but convince ourselves that we never can because we’re not pretty enough, rich enough, smart enough, etc.
There’s only so much that I can do to improve the world from my station in life, so do I spend my time wallowing in misery over the pain and suffering the world’s going through, or do I try to do what little I can to make it better?
For me, church is a good place to be. In this world, on top of the diverse number of countries, skin tones, languages and perspectives, we can’t simply brush aside the multitudes of religions, faith and spiritualities (or lack thereof) that abound in each and every one of us. We are not without our stigmas. People have had a negative view of those who’re different from them since we were first able to perceive even the merest detail that separates us from the person next to us, but I have a sneaking suspicion that none of us are as right as we think we are.
I look at it a little like this:
- With the science available to us, we’re only able to understand things in 3-dimensional space. So we come up with a multitude of “truths” about how the world works around us. But if the truth lies in any space greater than the third dimension, we’re simply not equipped to fully understand what’s going on, thus how can we ever have a completely accurate picture of what it is that governs the world around us?
- History is subjective — before there was the Internet, the ability to publish information on a wide scale was limited to a select few. Before the era of the written word, it was only done orally by those selected to do so. It has been subjective as far back as we can remember, yet we think that one of our truths is more absolute than the next? We weren’t there, so how we actually know we’re speaking the truth on something that happened?
- There’s plenty of things that we simply can’t explain in life; and even if we can, we don’t fully have the knowledge of all the factors needed to give a satisfactory answer for everything. Everything in the world is so interconnected, yet we still don’t quite know how it all works. And we’ll likely never will, either.
For me, what this all sums to is the fact that what we can’t explain through science and knowledge, we can explain through faith. Faith is an individual choice. So I’m not going to tell you I’m more right than you. I’m not going to tell you what you should think is right. I just know what’s right for me. Because at the end of the day, that belief shapes us more than we’d ever like to give it credit for.
–Casey E. Palmer