What explored underpinning spiritual and religious beliefs.
What is the meaning of life? . Why are we here? Why do we live only to die? These questions obtrude themselves everywhere, with direct answers not always available. An individuals first approach to philosophy is often due to the hope of finding clear answers to such questions. Philosophy according to its original Greek meaning and common English usage, is the love or pursuit of wisdom, and wisdom means action. Hence, the philosophical motive is the will to understand ones experience as a whole and to act accordingly.
However, like many other intellectual disciplines many differential theories have been offered in the hope of an answer. These theories past and present will be explored underpinning spiritual and religious beliefs. Over time, the power of religious belief has weakened. In earlier times, that religious belief was thought to give meaning to ones life and existence. Now however religious practises and traditions are more heavily criticised than before, even by the believers themselves. The discovery of modern science and its explanations as to why we exist have also had a profound effect on mans conception of himself.
Science has offered the exploration that our planet is an insignificant entity in comparison to the rest of the universe. The origin of life, they tell us, was due to some accidental combination of chemicals in a ‘primival soup’. Hence the development of the human species, by mechanical process of natural selection, (1) (Hanfling. C1) Prior to modern sciences exploration, mans perception of his existence was explained in terms of ‘purpose’. An object or phenomenon was explained by its use, being man, beast, or God. Hence scientific theories changed the very concept of mans explanation into a less ‘meaningful’ one.
Science dictates that there are no ‘purposes’ only ‘observed regulates’, a given phenomenon only occurs because it is processed to do so. This is often argued as being a mere description of events of how it happens, but still not why. Leo Tolstoy, in ‘My confession’ describes how he turned to science in vain for a possible answer to ‘ what is the meaning of my life? On learning what science tells us ‘you are what you call your life’, a temporal accidental combination of particles which change so producing you in which you call your life.
The congeries will last some time, than come to an end, so being the end of your life and questions; strictly following principles. To this, Tolstoy defined no answer to the meaning of life. To him the fact that it is a particle of the infinite not only gives no meaning, but also even destroys every possible meaning. From this he saw life as a meaningless evil-that was incontestable. That we continue to live our lives never doubting the ‘reasonableness’ of our lives shows that we are merle conditioned by nature to pursue various ends regardless of the problem about reasonableness.
With this he concluded faith as not only an agreement of what man was told, via God, but defined faith as the ‘Knowledge of the meaning of human life’, Faith being the power of life, without it one cannot live. (2). (ibid. C1) The doctrine of Christianity dictates that God created the world and made it good. However, we are told that we all possess human sin, inherited from Adam and Eve, this in itself condemns all of us to a deserving destruction. Jesus Christ served as a prophet, priest, and king to call the elect into ‘eternal life with God’.
So, we are told we must devote our lives to serve him, and those believers after death will be resurrected in perfection with God for eternity. So then in the eyes of religion the material world in which we live as Gods servants is only a mere drama test, where mortal beings are morally tested. They can lose or gain their spiritual being by the way they live their lives, to which they would be entered in heaven or hell. God therefore becomes a moral judge of our actions in life, and death becomes the essential test (judgement day).