Many of us have probably been thinking that the earth will go on around its orbit until it ultimately comes to pass. Death is an inevitable thing to us, as we’re finite beings. Animals, plants, microorganisms – existentialists believe that at one point we will all perish until the earth is no more. Afterwards, the rest of the outer space will continue floating around peacefully in the vacuum without the presence of humans and other living beings that once inhabited the earth. This raises the concept of a “humanless” universe, an expansive remnant that will persist for the next billions of years. By the time it happened, our collective lifetime had been too short and insignificant to even reach at least 0.1% of the 13.7-billion-light-year-old singularity. Will humanity last long enough, though, to ever make it there? Let’s suppose we did (but trust me, we won’t) – you certainly would have been nonexistent at least in the past billions of trillions of years. You’ll never find out in your lifetime. Nothing caused us to exist, and we’ll eventually return to nothingness. Quite depressing, isn’t it? Such worldview is called nihilism.
While many people (some or all of them either atheists or agnostics) are inclined to this belief system, unaware ones are doing their usual day-to-day affair, not minding what the next minute, hour, or day is going to bring. After all, not one thing in this world is certain. Seeking answers to a question – in this case, life’s origin and the future of the universe – that has no definite answer to requires that you believe in something that is unseen, defies realistic explanation, and goes beyond human comprehension. And seeking this truth takes more than just belief – it requires faith.
People draw their own versions of reality from two sources of belief – one is faith, the other theories. Faith comes from merely believing. Theories, on the other hand, are born out of intelligently curated scientific evidences, which are formerly products of what human knowledge decided to take as the “most logical” and “most plausible” explanation of how things came about. Faith and theory cannot agree with each other, but you decided either of them was the truth you are going to take, which will then dictate the way you live your life.
There is one thing that both have in common, though. Both faith and theories cannot be proven by human comprehension; they need you to lay your trust on things which cannot be directly explained. We created theories because we wanted to make sense of what we cannot fully understand. In another sense, theories serve as a placeholder belief until we finally get to arrive at the exact answer, but until then, a theory remains just that – a theory. It is offered as an alternative belief to faith, which thus creates an entirely separate (distorted, if I may) version of reality to others who choose to accept it.
Yes, you read it right – distorted, because it deviated from faith in that these theories forced religion into obsolescence and made it an orthodox way of life. When knowledge rapidly grew and resulted into more and more people beginning to accept theories as their truth, that’s the time it proliferated into various sub-beliefs that brought forth even more versions of reality.
This didn’t look good for people who practiced faith, too. Many religions have sprung one by one and begun venturing into money-making schemes, shamelessly using innocent followers who still had their faiths intact. They have come up with various versions of the Holy Scriptures in order to twist the minds of unwitting followers into believing a false sense of salvation granted upon them by these fake preachers (but hey, before you lash out at me, please open your Bible and read Matthew 24:24 and 2 Corinthians 11:4). This is one of the reasons why most people have begun turning their backs to religion one after another, until the once faithful crowd dispersed.
It was sad to see the world turn out like this.
Still, I chose to hold on to my faith.
Simply because I’ve seen what it has done to change my perspectives; it outfitted me with an overwhelming feeling of hope. Hope that someday, somewhere out there, we’ll live beyond this life as we know it. I would expect that this will sound capricious and ridiculous to those who refuse to believe, but we’ll all see into that when it finally comes. If people do not understand, it’s because they do not have faith. And faith has to do with something that cannot be fathomed by material minds (Heb 11:1). Everything cannot be entirely explained with pinpoint accuracy. It always leaves a question mark.
And I believe that behind these inexplicable things is an intelligent God who created this wonderful universe. My faith tells me that our existence is not a result of an accident. The way our immune system actively fights for us, the way the animal kingdom is in order and how it maintains ecological balance, and the way the atmospheric conditions in the earth are perfectly suitable for all life forms to flourish – when I look at the grand scheme of things, I believe all of this did not happen by accident. How then could a sudden explosion have possibly orchestrated such a perfect nature of life?
Please do not call us lunatic for merely holding onto our faith. Without it, we would never get to attribute the perfection of this universe to the God Whom we revere as our Creator. Let me go further.
Theories make you believe that you are insignificant relative to the scale of the universe. My faith, however, made me believe that I am significant to God because He allowed me to exist and taste the beauty of living, including the ability to feel the complexities of human mind. I believe that He called me to discover His truths so that I am guided towards His righteousness – out of the billions of nonbelievers and in the midst of countless religious congregations that teach the doctrines of man and not Christ.
If I had the outlook of a nihilistic individual, I probably would spiral into extreme depression knowing how insignificant I am. Worse, I’d commit suicide because nothing in this world will change with or without me anyway. Or I could have enjoyed living my life by freely acting on my carnal desires – drink, smoke pot, make out with different people every night, until these activities finally ruin my health and cause my early death. I wouldn’t be too motivated to do anything to contribute to humanity’s development.
Meanwhile, my faith taught me to do good to my fellowmen, love my enemies even if they are the most unlovable of the bunch, help the poor, cherish my family, and take good care of myself. Doing all of these makes me feel that I have some sort of significance, and that each of us is equally important to the lives of one another, which is probably why I cannot even plummet into depression at will. These activities are what God wants us to do to make the society in order, in a similar way He created the universe to be in perfect order. This will not entirely stop the wars (of course I do not disregard the existence of evil forces as well), but somehow it will help make for a better society – a place where humanity feels the love and care it deserves. Now, tell me if doing good to my fellowmen is a lunatic way of thinking.
Ultimately, it is your choice. Believe in whatever floats your boat. Just don’t aggravate other people. Live and let live. Live peacefully and you’re free to choose whatever you want to believe in without imposing it on others. That’s the way it should work, right?
While your choices and decisions in life are byproducts of your past experiences (nature and nurture) and how these collectively formed the lens in which you view the world, these can be changed. There exists a belief that can give your existence a definite meaning and purpose. I do not have authority to dictate you on what to choose and what to think, but I at least hope you can allow me to tell you that you need to choose and believe in what is right, not just “whatever”. Try to revisit your perception of the world. Our existence is not meaningless.
And this is how I look at reality. This is my version of the truth – truth that we exist because there is something much more significant than existence itself.