There is a lot of skepticism in our society about religion nowadays. And rightfully so, since organized religion in recent decades has not been very organized nor religious. But let’s take a step back and review those age-old philosophical questions: How did human beings get here? And what is our purpose in life?
Now, of course, we may not be able to know the answers to these age-old questions, but since we exist, we know there has to be a correct explanation of how we got here—even if we may not be able to know it. And since we exist, it’s perfectly rational to ponder our purpose in life, even if it turns out there is no purpose.
All religious traditions, including decidedly non-religious belief systems, claim to answer these questions. Whether it’s Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Deism, Unitarianism, Animism, Atheism, Agnosticism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Shintoism, or whatever it is the Jesuits are peddling nowadays—all these different “worldviews” claim to offer an explanation of how and why human beings exist on this planet. Many views confidently offer clear and precise explanations, while others acknowledge there is an explanation but we mere mortals are unable to know it.
Taken individually, each of these widely different explanations seems kind of implausible. But they cover just about every possibility, so we know one of them must be close to the truth.
So, here is the key question we have to explore: Which of these seemingly implausible explanations about the origin and purpose of life is the most plausible? In other words, which of these unlikely stories is the most likely?
I don’t want to brag, but I’ve spent a great deal of time during the past three decades studying this very issue. (Did you ever notice when someone says, “I don’t want to brag,” he is about to start bragging?) Well, anyway, here’s a summary of what I’ve discovered:
First, we have to look at the question of supernatural vs. natural. If it’s true that we came into existence by purely natural, materialistic, biological mechanisms, then all of the spiritual, supernatural beliefs, with their claims of a creative Deity, can be dismissed. The simplest answer is usually the best, and if it can be demonstrated that non-supernatural processes are capable of producing complex biological life, then that is the most logical conclusion.
If you’ve taken a high school or college biology class in the past 50 years, you’ve probably been taught that this is, in fact, the explanation of how life came into existence on this planet. But let’s step on the brakes for a minute here. Modern science has NOT demonstrated in any way that random genetic mutations can create reams of precise information that then guide the construction of complex biological systems. It just cannot happen. The formula “Chaos + Chance + Time = Intricate Precision” has never been proven to be true.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I was an atheist for many years, but once I really studied this issue, it became clear that the complex design clearly present in biological life requires a supremely intelligent designer; or I should say Designer, with a capital “D.” In other words, it’s an undeniable fact that explosions in lumber yards do not produce perfectly crafted 3-bedroom raised ranch houses. Nor do hurricanes pounding the shoreline spell out the Gettysburg Address on the beach with rocks. It just can’t happen.
Science has never “proven” that there is no supernatural realm to existence, no matter what most science teachers and professors claim these days. In fact, science, by definition, can only study natural phenomenon. Science is incapable of offering any opinion on supernatural things.
Personally, when I reached this point in my studies, I was, on the one hand, awestruck at the realization that there is indeed a supernatural Being who designed and created life. And on the other hand, I was rather angry at all the educators who blithely told me that random chaos can produce intricate precision, if just given enough time. Bull-loney.
Speaking of time, we’re out of time for today, but next week I’ll continue with Part 2. Once we accept that there must be an intelligent being outside of nature (that is, supernatural) who designed and created complex biological life, we need to investigate which of the many religious systems best explains our situation here on earth? I don’t want to brag, but it is a fascinating discussion.