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Getting deeper

I've been advocating a rational approach to God. It does not prove that God exists, simply that the conclusion that He exists is not irrational. Many things in life suggest this. If pressed to give a simplistic answer, I would say the bottom line is whether or not you believe there is order in the universe, versus chaos*.

To be a scientist is to subscribe to this belief. Science cannot explain everything, not even with that which falls within its scope of concern. How small is a quark? How do cows convert grass into muscle, bone, milk, blood and so on? We still cannot cure the common cold, nor reproduce natural processes. That's why scientists continue to explore and have much work to do, just following and understanding the order of nature underlying science. Scientists are scientists because we believe and have found that the more we apply ourselves to researching this order, the more wonder and beauty is revealed.

The same applies to being a humanitarian. We work for the common good because we believe that this good that we do is not subjective to us but something that is real. We have benefitted the world. To some extent, it's not about the people themselves that we help. They are simply the recipients of the goodness that we commit ourselves to doing. The proof of this is that it doesn't matter who the person is that we help. We will help anyone who needs it. In very much the same way, the pursuit of this goodness is as satisfying as the pursuit of science is to a scientist. There is a similar danger to being a humanitarian. You can become exhausted or burnt out if you lose that faith in the larger order. Those who thrive are those who see not the drudgery and strain of giving but the rewards that come from it. And who can go from the simple understanding of goodness to the deeper understanding of human nature itself - how it can turn from good to bad, but how we can help prevent that. That deeper understanding can go further into an affinity with animals and plants.

Perhaps somewhere along the way, we see a great underlying order to the universe. That the entire universe and all that is in it is not some random accident but a wonderful creation full of mystery that we can understand a little bit of but can never totally comprehend. It is then that we begin to appreciate the meaning of beauty. As a child, we find beauty easily, without understanding - the sunset, the flower, our parents, etc. But our sense of beauty doesn't grow if we do not undertake to create beauty ourselves, whether it be through work, hobbies or our everyday lives. When we do, we realise that beauty starts with the creation of order. The simplest way to make something beautiful is to order it, to put things where they belong, to be neat and tidy.

Now, whether or not you go through this process, the presence of God is revealed when you stand in awe of something beautiful and greater than yourself and you feel this gratitude for being alive. Suddenly, everything in your life falls into place - the good and the bad - and you see that nothing is really ever wasted, that everything counts, that it all adds up. You need to draw upon this sense, this gratitude, if you are ever going to do something great and meaningful with your life. And you cannot feel this sense of gratitude without wanting to doing something great and meaningful with your life.


* The notion of chaos is scientifically problematic today, as we have discovered that not only is chaos another form of order but that it possesses properties that are both unexpected and beautiful. Similarly, the word randomness is also scientifically problematic, as we can now programmatically create random numbers. Inasmuch as Order underpins, and in that sense overcomes, Chaos, so too does Goodness overcome Evil (and in a sense underpins it too, e.g. many people do evil to right a wrong, or a perceived wrong). And a many great aesthetes seek beauty in everything, specifically in that which we might consider ugly or be repelled by. To understand this, we need to consider the difference between these two terms, "to see everything as beautiful" and "to see beauty in everything".[/i]

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