On the drive home from North Carolina we listened to a book on CD; Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife (Simon & Schuster) written by Eben Alexander, MD. It is the recounting of a physician, a Neurosurgeon, who contacted bacterial meningitis and was in a near death coma for seven days. If you have any interest at all in the subject, it was an excellent story, read by the author. I recommend it, although I realize skeptics will find much to discount or challenge, but I found it interesting to see someone with such a background transform from this experience.
Perhaps because it supports so many of my concepts that I find much I agree with in his story.
First, I find it impossible to believe the known universe springs from some random event that occurred without purpose. I don’t discount the “Big Bang” I just don’t accept it as a random, spontaneous occurrence. To make this choice requires a conscious decision to accept, on faith, some higher authority. Skeptics may call this foolishness, or perhaps a lack of critical thinking. But without the ability to know, with 100% certainty, isn’t any position on the origin of our universe, one that is made based on some form of faith, or is it just a rejection of spiritual faith?
I accept the working of our brain as a big electrical computational device, but again I choose to believe that its design comes with some higher purpose than to just be the top of the food chain here on earth. The questions of who we are, what purpose we serve, and why we exist are questions that no simple science can truly answer, for they demand more than the calculation of our chemical makeup, or the physical properties of the known universe. At some level we are, and must be much more than a random collection of DNA molecules. I wonder how we became more than the just the sum of our parts?
Finally, I have long questioned the relationship between God and the organized churches we have established. I admit I’ve gone through a number of stages in my life when I was active and searching for answers and was a member of a number of fundamental churches. I considered the roll of the church in the history of conflict, the expectations of the church hierarchy, the human aspects of the members, and the need for each church to establish itself as the “one legitimate” church to provide the path to salvation. As I struggled with my beliefs, I came to reject the idea that a divine and all-powerful God would be so petty as to provide only one church with the keys to heaven. What I see in most organized religions are the human needs to somehow be separate and superior to others. I wonder how we can believe God would be that narrow? I don't discount the value of organized religion, but I am unable to accept that one church, or religion is more valid than another. I do condemn the human's who take advantage of the belief structure to further their political goals.