Life is often good. For many.
Life is good.
Everything happens for a reason.
I get what’s behind these slogans. Life is sometimes, even often, good and that’s a great joy. But they court callousness by overstating their case. And today they grate more than usual. Our neighbor’s teenage son killed himself yesterday. One of the many cars in front of the house had an “It’s all good” sticker on it. Yep, it was a Jeep Liberty.
I’m a realist. I’m committed to living in the scientific world of facts. One of my friends told me that one of the perks of being a human was that we don’t have to do that. We have powerful virtual reality generators in our heads that let us live in almost any world we wish.
I know that and I did that for years. But the older I got, the more socially aware I got. Our world is a cauldron of tensions brought on by this practice. When we go off into our own faith bubbles, we lose touch with one another. Our motivations become like the weather to other people. We can try to understand each other; but when someone’s beliefs are not required to comport with reality, we will always be swimming against the current. We try to hide this fact by getting into big faith bubbles with lots of other people. But this ignores the fact that our world is full. We have to live as one tribe now. Religious faith belongs in our insular past.
Life is often difficult, but we are in it together. We undermine our togetherness when we believe whatever we want. We have a common source of beliefs we can all use: Nature. We may not like the fact that we simply are our bodies and we die with them. But how much easier it would be to face if we simply agreed on this obvious fact.
Blithe slogans and religious faith can be forms of defection from our human family. They seem harmless, but smuggle a troubling message: that we can’t be happy in the real world. We can and we must. We need a common worldview to survive our many challenges. Nature is an obvious choice, and science is the best way to learn about it. Faith diverges, science converges.