for something more

Have you been in a bookstore lately? What about a movie theater? Have you listened to popular music? If so, you have surely noticed an upsurge in spirituality and artistic sensuality of all kinds. Harry Potter, Twilight, Avatar, the list goes on of what we like to watch or read in the arts. These things inspire us, move us in ways the regular world often does not. Make us feel like there’s more out there — that life is more interesting and inspiring than the daily grind would have us think.

Even the noted physicist and atheist Stephen Hawking needs to think there’s more out there. In a recent media interview he stated that while aliens likely exist, they would not be our friends. So at least now I can put away the welcome mat.

What a strange statement from Hawking. I know that the evidence for aliens is mounting, but to me this is out of place coming from someone who prides himself on purely rational, evidence-based thought processes. I haven’t seen any aliens today. At least I don’t think I have. Somehow I doubt that Hawking has either.

It’s also interesting to me that in our increasingly nihilistic world where we have stripped “belief” from our schools and lives, that our youth have become increasingly spiritualistic in their choice of art forms.

It’s almost like the human heart yearns for something more.

13 thoughts on “for something more

  1. “It’s also interesting to me that in our increasingly nihilistic world where we have stripped “belief” from our schools and lives, that our youth have become increasingly spiritualistic in their choice of art forms.

    It’s almost like the human heart yearns for something more. ”

    It’s almost like we’re not an increasingly nihilistic world, and ‘belief’ is only being stripped from the government, which is good and proper. Anyone else who wants it can have it, as long as they don’t hurt anyone.

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  2. “It’s almost like we’re not an increasingly nihilistic world, and ‘belief’ is only being stripped from the government.”

    I’m not talking about what’s allowed and not allowed through law – to me this isn’t really about church and state. That’s a symptom of the bigger problem — that we increasingly see “belief” as fiction. And then we go back to our tedious lives that don’t really matter because we are merely highly evolved animals. We reach for the arts to inspire us and get us through the day.

    “Anyone else who wants it can have it, as long as they don’t hurt anyone.”

    or as long as they don’t claim a belief in a higher power. Because that is ridiculous and sometimes dangerous. But have you seen Avatar — wow what a great movie!

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  3. “And then we go back to our tedious lives that don’t really matter because we are merely highly evolved animals.”

    Don’t matter to whom? My life matters a lot to me, even though I’m just a bipedal ape. And I don’t know about you, but my life is certainly not tedious. Not most of the time, anyway.

    “We reach for the arts to inspire us and get us through the day. ”

    Which is great. Art is an awesome, and completely natural, way that people express themselves. I’m all for it.

    “or as long as they don’t claim a belief in a higher power.”

    Says who?

    “Because that is ridiculous and sometimes dangerous.”

    Speaking very generally, this is true. But unless the person is being dangerous, I’m not against people believing ridiculous things. I’d rather they didn’t, and I might try to talk them out of it, but I’d never use any kind of force.

    “But have you seen Avatar — wow what a great movie!”

    I did, and found it to be a visually beautiful movie. The script and most of the acting, however, was horrible.

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  4. My life is sometimes tedious, but I think it’s all about perspective because the next day the same things that seemed tedious can be full of purpose.

    “But unless the person is being dangerous, I’m not against people believing ridiculous things.”
    This makes sense to me. It seems though like a lot of atheists are practically evangelistic in their efforts to “de-God” us, using the argument that nothing good ever comes from deism and that the world would be a better place without it.

    About Avatar — I was shopping yesterday in a store that was showing Avatar as a way to sell its flat-screen TVs. The part I saw was where Jake Sully learns for the first time to ride that flying dragon-like creature. It’s an inspiring scene. And then there’s the sadness when we wakes up in his real body, with lifeless legs.

    Why is this scene inspiring? I’m telling you, everyone who walked by that TV yesterday stopped to watch it. Grown men with graying hair, middle-aged women, kids. I was watching their faces and they had a look of wonder, which disappeared as they went back to their shopping.

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    1. Hello Anna, good observations. It kinda of reminds me of Al Gore and his religion of “global warming” or as he calls it now “climate change”. Good post and always keep the faith.

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  5. It does seem evident to me that people are looking for something more than what we already know. Even scientist and atheist. We all seek to answer the questions of our existence, our purpose, the existence of good and evil. It’s represented in Hawkins statement that the aliens would be against our existence, when we haven’t even seen them. What this shows is our pasts, our experiences, our hurts, and our inability to find the answers push us to make certain allowances for uncertainty as long as it remains within the context of our belief system. Whether that belief is in God, Evolution, The Big Bang, Aliens, or other unexplained phenomenon. In a sense it shows, we believe what we want to believe or want to disbelieve as the case may be. When I was young, I believed in God because my parents did. When I got older I believed in God because my church upbringing fueled my desire to experience God, and as an adult I continue to know God exists because of the disproportionate response that comes from knowing God. I searched for all of those years for something more, and yet I found more than I was searching for. Unconditional Love.

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  6. I know what you were trying to say: you want people to notice the human heart needs to believe in things greater than itself.

    I want to argue with what I see as errors in perception in your thoughts, but that wouldn’t really help either of us, would it? It would be like ignoring the scope of a painting to whine about the choice of weave in the canvas.

    Yes, Anna, the human heart yearns for more. I agree. May I just say that nihilism is a choice. I may be an atheist, but I catagorically not a nihilist, and seek to restrict my membership to the most nihilsitic parts of society everyday.

    My heart yearned the fairness and squareness of universe without a God who would change the rules at whim for some people and not for others. I found and still find peace in atheism. If I am ever too evangelistic about, that is why: when I was Christian, I was broken insi. Now I am happy and clean and I want to tell others about it.

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    1. “you want people to notice the human heart needs to believe in things greater than itself. ”

      Yes — this is exactly what I’m saying.

      “May I just say that nihilism is a choice. I may be an atheist, but I catagorically not a nihilist”

      You don’t at all strike me as a nihilistic person. It is probably not in your personality, just like certain things aren’t in my personality. Or maybe nihilism IS in your personality but you are trying not to give in. But as a worldview, atheism seems *to me* to be very nihilistic. I know that literally atheism only means “no god.” But I have yet to find an atheist who believes in an afterlife of ANY kind, because that wouldn’t be rational or evidence-based. So my interpretation of today’s atheism might be “this is all there is.” Please correct me if I’m wrong. And if that is true, what is the point of being inspired? Why aren’t we content to merely eat, breed, and make homes like other animals? Why do we NEED to think about things greater than ourselves?

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  7. Atheism is not a worldview. It’s a theology, which is part of worldview. The worldview of MOST atheists is naturalism: that natural explanations are better answers than supernatural ones. This is why most atheists don’t believe in an afterlife. (Buddhists, by the way, don’t believe in God making them atheists, but do believe in the supernatural and the afterlife.)

    Nihilism is a non sequitur. If existence has no meaning, then no obsevation of it could have meaning, so nihilism has no meaning. If nihilism has no meaning…then what were we talking about? 🙂

    Nihilism and existentialism both have the same idea as their foundation. That their is no INTRINSIC purpose to life, but go different directions with it. Nihilism says since it has no intrinsic purpose, it has purpose at all. Existentialism says that since it has no intrinsic purpose, it will have only the meaning we give it.

    The conclusion that life is the result of random chance does nothing to rob life of it’s meaning. Imagine you won the lottery. Does the fact you got something randomly mean that it is not worth having?

    “Why aren’t we content to merely eat, breed, and make homes like other animals?” How do you know they are content? Why do need to think about things greater than ourselves? I don’t know.

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    1. Ok, so you’re saying that a person’s worldview (naturalism, humanism, deism, etc.) leads them to adopt a theology (atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, etc.). This makes sense. However I would argue that once you adopt a theology, that particular theology often becomes the filter by which you view the world because once you label yourself (as atheist, Christian, whatever), you can’t help but seek out those things that reinforce your label. You have tied your identity to something so now part of you is at stake in whether the world fits that conclusion. Isn’t this what you call confirmation bias? I guess I would argue that atheists do it too. How could you not?

      “The conclusion that life is the result of random chance does nothing to rob life of it’s meaning. Imagine you won the lottery. Does the fact you got something randomly mean that it is not worth having?”
      No sometimes winning something randomly makes it mean even more. 🙂 But the lottery isn’t random. Sure the number selection is (or at least should be), but our tax dollars contribute to the pot and somebody makes the whole thing happen every week. There are still people to thank, if only the tax-paying citizens. Usually the winners who approach the lottery thankfully and with humility are the ones who are still doing well years later. The ones who see it as random chance are the people we have to worry about, who either blow it all on expensive toys or end up hopelessly depressed because money couldn’t fulfull them how they thought it should.

      So in that sense I think your lottery analogy is perfect.

      “How do you know they [animals] are content? ”

      I don’t. 🙂 But I’ve never seen an animal of any kind stare out into the sunset, or stand in a storm just to see the lightning. They don’t seem to have that yearning. But then again how would I know?

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  8. You’re right, self made labels do become a limiting factor. I try not to limit myself like that. Atheist is actually a strange label to begin with. No one calls them selves a A-easterbunnyist, yet many more people disbelieve in the Easterbunny than in God. For all its flaws, atheist is a nice catch all term for people who question everything, like me.
    In the end though, I am pretty firm that most people invent the God that fits their pre-existing worldview, even if that God is none at all. I went through about a 3 year period of questioning my entire worldview (including my right to question it). It was horrible, but very good in the end.

    Now, as to the lottery I think you are purposely missing the point! The point the source, be it random or not, of something isn’t what gives it a meaning, it’s the meaning we give it.

    And, Jane Goodall actually say great apes do just those thing frequently. They would sit in the rain and hold their hands out and just watch it rain in their palm. Many have favorite spots in the jungle to go be alone: a cool hill, a rock by waterfall, etc. where they would just sit and (apparently) ponder.

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  9. “In the end though, I am pretty firm that most people invent the God that fits their pre-existing worldview, even if that God is none at all. ”

    I find it interesting and agree that the pre-existing worldview, our past experiences, play a role in who we first concieve God or no-god to be . I used to have a worldview that was entirely different then the one I know now. Christ changed my heart and opened up a world that I never thought possible. I used to think that evil was winning, people were becoming more and more selfish and cynical. Through Bible Study at church, I began to question the validity of that worldview(and I was tired of being depressed). I realized that my beliefs about God’s character and God’s role in my life, were wrong. I began to read the Bible in a different light. What happened after that was my view of the world and the people in it completely changed. My own feelings about myself and how God feels about me changed. It’s not something that I can describe in text, but the peace and joy I have found in Christ was not something I had ever experienced before and way beyond what I was seeking. I’m not denying that evil exists and bad things happen, but I can talk to a minister or friend or find a passage in the Bible that reminds me that God wants me to have a life of joy, peace, and even some struggle. To have life to the full. And He wants me to bring His kingdom to the world. To show others that He can bring about transformation.

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