“Making Sense of it ALL!”
By Larry John
After all is said and done, what is this life all about? From the beginning of time, thousands of thinkers more qualified than I have asked that same question. Some of us have tried to find answers by accepting and following the teachings of great religious leaders choosing to “parrot” back the meaning of life using the words of gurus, prophets, thinkers, and tribal leaders. Some thinkers like Joseph Campbell say, “Life has no meaning…YOU give it meaning.” Some believe the Buddha when he said that all life is suffering and can only be understood by enlightenment. Some leaders go as far as to say that the only way to happiness is by and through them. Some have said that the meaning of life is only understood through denying “creature comforts, appetites and passion.” Man has made sure that there is no shortage of “meanings” to the meaning of life.
But no matter what meaning you give to your life, making sense of it all is not always easy. There are so many UNANSWERED questions. For example, why would a merciful God allow the devastation, disaster, and death as witnessed recently by Hurricane Charley on the east coast? Some were killed and some were saved. The friends and family of those who died declared through their tears, “God called them home.” I can sure think of an easier way to call them home. But I am not God. However, what’s wrong with letting them all pass away in their sleep at night? Those that were saved from the disaster said, “God answered our prayers.” But believers say that God is in control of everything that happens here on earth. So God must have been involved in creating the disaster, killing some and saving others, and refusing to give us a good reason or meaning for her actions. So we need so many times to MAKE UP OUR OWN GOOD REASONS. It is true that She “works in mysterious ways.” But, it sure can’t be explained to my satisfaction. However, “God’s ways are surely not my ways.” But hey, I’m not God. But She did allow me to think.
I had a God fearing family member of mine kill his own 3 year old child by accidentally driving over him while backing out of his driveway. Couldn’t God have done something about that? And why would God let tens of thousands of people in Africa who die a horrible and painful death from disease and starvation? Couldn’t She just step in and help? And God must have a dilemma when it comes to war because both sides are fighting for God and Country. Most wars start and continue in the name of God. Shouldn’t She tell people whose “side” She is on? The only logical conclusion you can come to is that God doesn’t take sides. She must say, “Hey…if you want war it’s up to you, but don’t get me involved. Let the “meanest and baddest” win. I really don’t care. Like I said…I don’t take sides.” But that is of course silly because as you know God is always on YOUR side and not on THEIR side. But you have to admit, if you weren’t so convinced that God was on YOUR side She might help us STOP warring and KILLING each other. That way She wouldn’t have to take a side. So it’s a good thing that God answers YOUR prayers and doesn’t answer THEIR prayers as long as we are going to war.
But perhaps God is not a “personal” God at all. She has enough to do to keep the planets circling the sun and helping nature keep a balance here on earth. She does most of this “balancing act” by having everything KILL everything, the food chain. After all we don’t want too many Jack Rabbits, so thank God for Coyotes. But when there are too many coyotes and not enough rabbits, coyotes KILL other animals which angers humans so we KILL them and then there are too many rabbits again. And the KILL goes on! And don’t limit this KILLING to just animals. Animals also KILL nature by eating it. Too many cattle grazing on too little grass makes for a great “dust bowl.” We are all KILLING animals and plants in our world. It is the survival of the fittest, God set it up that way. KILL or be KILLED! That is the way it works. Now again, I am not God but I think that I would have set it up a little differently. After all, in heaven there won’t be any KILLING, right? I sure hope not. I wouldn’t want to go to heaven and run out of cows. I love a good steak! So logic tells us that there is no “eating” in heaven or eventually God would be there alone. Maybe that is what God wants most. Maybe She is a loner. She sure is a recluse right now. She doesn’t hang out with her creation much. She seems to like to “create and leave.” Rubbing shoulders with us here on earth doesn’t seem to turn God on. Again, I know She is busy holding things together, but you would think She could drop in and have a beer with us a little more often.
Now I am not trying to “dis” on God. But why would God give us the ability to think logically and then tell us not to think. That’s not logical. So, I just don’t see the logic in all these paradoxes sometimes. But again, we are not supposed to get it. Trying to make sense of it ALL is impossible when you get a belief in God involved in the discussion. And perhaps that’s why some God doubting people say, “You’re born, you live, and you die … and that’s it!” In some crazy way that gives me more comfort than you would think. If we really are just born, live, and die we might stop KILLING so much and start LIVING more. We might help each other more and stop waiting for God to do it. When God’s “rewards” are received in the NEXT life, that lessens the importance of the HERE AND NOW. But again, if we were to all know that THIS IS ALL THERE IS, we might try to stop blaming God for our own selfish desires and just try to get along. We might do more too. If there was no other meaning to life than to just LIVE, we might want to LIVE better. We certainly would see all humanity, nature, and the world differently. If we didn’t think that God was going to destroy the earth soon, we might want to take care of it a little longer for our children and their children and their children and their children. I don’t know about you, but that works for me. We might want to KILL less because they are not going back to God…they are DEAD. Life would become more important. Now I am not living in “Pollyanna World.” I know that people being people would still want power over others. But if God was not part of the system and taking YOUR side, you might want to help humanity progress and become enlightened just because you CARE. I know that if all there was to life was “You’re born, you live, and you die,” many of us would strive to get MORE meaning out of life. But hey, most of us love God and even talking like this is silly.
But looking at life from a distance, YOU may love God, but does God love you? You would never be able to tell it by the HELL that so many people find here on earth. Sure there are wonderful things that happen to us in life. All my life is NOT suffering. I enjoy being here. Life is good most of the time for me. I am not dieing of starvation. There hasn’t been a hurricane in Arizona yet, and all in all God has been very good to me. I just wish She would be very good to all of us. Like Joseph Campbell said, one of the secrets of living is to “Joyfully participate in the sorrows of life.” Perhaps Forest Gump was right, “Shit happens.” Think about it.
The Pragmatic Thinker