THREE ESSAYS ON THE MEANING OF LIFE
You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
- William Faulkner
The West is in trouble. Too many in our Western societies are floundering in a sea of meaninglessness. Not only floundering, but drowning – as evidenced by our endemic drug and alcohol problems, and our growing rates of suicide (especially among the young).
We find ourselves in this predicament because the sea of meaninglessness in which we are swimming is bounded by hostile shores. These are the shores of two opposing lands – one hosting the House of God, and the other the House of Disbelief – both “hostile” because neither offer us safe landing from our predicament.
The House of God is hostile to life having any credible meaning because it is home to an incredible, human “g” god (the male, brutal, Abrahamic god of the ancient Hebrews) and home to an equally incredible meaning and purpose of life (a once-only test for an eternity in either heaven or hell). The House of Disbelief, on the other hand, denies outright the existence of any God or any special meaning and ultimate purpose to life – holding that we exist in an accidental, Godless universe where we can only construct our own personal meanings – and our only purposes can be the survival and genetic purposes of our animal bodies.
Before too many more of us drown perhaps it is time to take the challenge expressed in Faulkner’s above quote – to muster the courage necessary to “swim for new horizons” – beyond sight of our present hopeless shores? This work of three essays and a conclusion will attempt just that. The first essay examines the House of God and the second examines the House of Disbelief to find out why so many of us find both hostile to any credible meaning and purpose to our life; then the third essay will attempt to swim beyond sight of their discouraging shores for new horizons – hopefully of a land more hospitable to credible meaning and purpose.
Those who feel they are close to drowning should skip the essays and paddle straight to the conclusion, wherein they may find some hope? If unconvinced, then they are sentenced to read the essays which contain arguments from evidence for that conclusion.