More Than Half Empty

Orange_Heartbeat of America_2012-07-30

2013-01-13 – Unless He makes Himself known in a completely unambiguous way, the debate over the existence of God will never be settled. At the moment, finding God is simply not an evidence-based endeavor. I’m not looking. I’m not even interested. If He exists but wants the search to be difficult, I respect His privacy.

But I am interested in people—including people who are looking. And so I am interested in the workings of faith and how religions manage the search.

It seems to me that most religions manage the search by locating the meaning of life outside the span of our lives. It seems very egotistical to me to say that we matter in a cosmic sense and very dysfunctional to say that we can’t find meaning in our normal lives.

It’s a kind of cup-half-empty idea, only the fraction is not one-half, but infinitesimal. It is a viewpoint that keeps us perpetually lacking.

Of course, the religios say that the cup is full—with God. Maybe so. I’m not even going to debate that. I’m talking about the mind-set of believers.

I recently saw a post on Facebook that denied that the cup is ever half empty because the part we call empty is filled with air. The religious position on my cup—that it is filled with God—is similar. But we don’t regard a half-filled cup as filled with air. We prefer to fill the space with wine (or whatever). It’s the same thing with the cup of life. If it is mainly empty (except for God), we still have a sense of emptiness—not a sense of fullness.

But the problem is not the presence or absence of God. The problem is the absurdly large cup. Can’t we focus on making our lives rich and meaningful? Even that seems like a huge task. But it’s much more manageable than finding meaning for eternity.

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