We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our Purpose

The Shorter Catechism, an honored resource for faith of our Presbyterian tradition, answers the question, "What is the chief end of man?" with the statement, "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."  That sounds quaint to modern ears, but it actually means something quite profound, namely that we humans are constructed to reach out for that which is Beyond us.  We are created to have an affection for that which is Beyond the Universe.  Millions of years of evolutionary sculpting has gone into our longing for something, something Beyond.  We name the Beyond "God" because we perceive that it is ultimate and thus at the end of all else that is beyond us—and that it is holy and thus stands outside of the universe in an incomprehensible way.  The catechism claims that we are linked to this Beyond to such an extent that the praise and enjoyment of it is our highest purpose.  Put this way, many dwellers of the 21st century may well consider the whole idea ridiculous, but it is hardly "quaint." Put this way, the catechism claims that we are created for worship and for a level of joy not yet attained.   Put this way, the catechism claims is that earthly evolution is climbing its way aeon by aeon toward God and that the rate of acceleration is increasing.

Why does humanity exist?  What is our purpose?  Our primary reason for becoming is to ride the rising tide of evolution in worship and with joy.