It has been said that all religion, at its core, is an attempt to explain what is wrong with the world, and prescribe a way for us to deal with it. To provide a method by which we might overcome the human condition. Humans are intrinsically hurting and confused creatures. Happiness comes to a few, at times, and it is in the celebration of this happiness that many find the only reprieve they will ever know. The vast majority of us remain angry and desperate most of the time. It is not just surface anger. We are deeply angry, and very much ashamed of our desperation. We spend most of our energy trying to convince others of things that we know are not true. For example, though we feel weak, we pretend to be strong. We pretend that we are not afraid when we are actually terrified. As life and death each threaten to obliterate our sense of security, we try as hard as we possibly can to convince the rest of the world that we are in control.
For one person it looks a certain way. To another it is completely different. The goal is the same, though: to convince ourselves and everyone else that nothing is actually wrong…or, for some, that everything is.
What religion has done for humans, since we first began attempting to record our experience here on Earth by drawing animals on the walls of our prehistoric cave dwellings, has been to provide a framework within which to define what exists beyond our existence. Through myth and metaphor, throughout the ages, we have striven to communicate to ourselves, and those around us, that which some of us seem to instinctually know with varying degrees of certainty and conviction; our entire reality is but a fleeting shadow that dances upon the wall of a cave that, in some kind of a sense, exists in a place deeper than what we can understand here and now.
Here is the stance that I have arrived at concerning all of this, based on my thirty plus years of living in this, my oddly discontented version of the standard issue human meat suit:
The idea that life as we know it has been purposely created by some sort of higher intelligence is somewhat unsettling. The idea that the universe itself has been brought into being through the will of a supreme Creator is a little tough to grasp. (I mean, what was going on before this? And who created that? Also, who created whatever or whoever created that??) To go a bit further, the idea that there are such things as angels and demons that can exist imperceptibly and affect our world at will, the idea that there exists divinely inspired ancient manuscripts through which the Creator has chosen to reveal itself in a uniquely explicit way, and the concept that human beings can choose to interact with this world of the divine and supernatural in such a way so as to genuinely imbue them with power from on high…all of these things seem maybe just a tiny bit insane if we’re looking at things from a certain standpoint.
There is also the pure and simple fact that our very existence, the reality in which we find ourselves….giant balls of flaming gas hurling through the unfathomably huge expanse of outer space, life itself, from what we can see, all the way down to the microscopic cellular level, with all the staggering degrees of complexity found from one end of the biological spectrum to the other, the human mind with its self-awareness, emotions, personality, dreams, aspirations, fears. Love itself. Death itself. Fire. Mathematics. Language. Poetry. Music.
All of this is already, in and of itself, quite inexplicable.
So my conclusion has been (and I do not claim to be speaking authoritatively or objectively — I am, after all, just one man, with only my own frame of reference) that there is more going on in this universe than we can explain with the current expanse of human knowledge, and that, however ridiculous the more obviously unhinged proponents of religion and spirituality have proven themselves to be, the spiritual world itself, for all its intangible elusiveness and apparent non substantiality, is quite real after all.