Weir Only Human
FLOWER MOUND, TX — Suppose you were born blind. You had the other 4 senses, but, have never been able to grasp the concept of sight. You’ve reached the age of adulthood and throughout your young life, those around you have tried to explain what it’s like to be able to “see” the world. Yet, the idea of sight is just not something you can imagine because your world has been limited to sound, touch, taste and smell. The question arises; if you’ve never experienced something, can you ever believe it exists? That’s the question asked by those people who don’t believe in the existence of a divine being, or a “God.” Many people who are blessed with all 5 senses have difficulty with another type of sense. Let’s call it the sense of faith.
We often hear about people who have a sixth sense, often referred to as extra sensory perception, or ESP. Generally called “psychic ability,” ESP supposedly gives the possessor the ability to foretell the future and/or “see” past occurrences. Well, in a sense (no pun intended), those who have faith in a hereafter may be using a form of ESP to predict the future of mortal life when it ends. Maybe true believers have reached a level of mental competence that allows them to clearly envision that which their counterparts have not yet reached. Is it possible that faith is a higher level of cerebral acuity?
If you speak to a non-believer he might tell you he doesn’t believe in things he cannot see. When I hear that argument I’ll ask if he’s ever seen gravity. When he answers in the negative I’ll ask if he wants to test its existence by stepping off a cliff. If he says he doesn’t believe that there’s power in something invisible, I’ll counter with; can you see the wind? I’ll ask if he’s ever seen the awesome power of gusts traveling at 60 or 70 MPH. Although the doubter will often claim the science behind those invisible forces, he simply cannot dispute that science doesn’t have all the answers to the universe. We don’t even have the answers to ESP, and we certainly have no answers for what happens to us after we shed this mortal coil.
Therefore, using the premise that a sightless person finds it difficult to believe there are forces around him that he can’t fathom; a faithless person may be grappling with the same quandary. The blind man listens to the words of the sighted and has serious doubts about whether there are emanations outside the darkness of his limited existence. The faithless man may be undergoing a similar inability to dig his way out of the darkness of spiritual skepticism. Personally, I’ve always questioned the authenticity of an omnipotent and omniscient entity that has created what we call the “universe.” My question has always been; “If God created the universe, who created God?” In philosophy that’s what’s known as a “first cause” question. If a chicken is hatched out of an egg; who laid the egg that gave birth to the chicken?
In my opinion, that’s a serious question if we are to use our innate intelligence. It’s undeniable that life is complex and fraught with mystery. If you believe in evolution it’s likely that our brains are still evolving, adding more understanding of the world we were born into. According to evolutionary theory we didn’t have 5 senses in the beginning, but accumulated them over the course of tens of thousands of years as organisms changed and acquired the necessary components to sustain life.
How long has the concept of faith been around?
Let’s say it began a few thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ. I use Jesus because Christians, with 2.3 billion adherents, form the largest religious group in the world. Next come Muslims with 1.8 billion; Hindus with 1.1 billion and Buddhists with .5 billion. (Islam is the fastest growing religion and may replace Christianity in numbers by mid-century.) Religious faith, being a spiritual, rather than a physical entity, isn’t thought of as part of evolutionary theory. Nevertheless, since it didn’t always exist, isn’t it possible that it became part of our cumulative and necessary components needed to continue the species? Where would we be in the hierarchy of human history if we didn’t have the structured discipline of religion? Wasn’t the faith in a higher power the result of the perils that existed in a barbaric society?
The Bible is filled with references to infidels who paid the price for their faithlessness. In the Old Testament, God demanded allegiance to his word and those who denied him suffered grievously. Although replete with parables, the Scriptures appear to be a roadmap to carve a civilization out of a savage wilderness. It’s easy to say that we’re not a perfect world today, but, when you realize the way life used to be, you should be extremely grateful that religion was born, giving us a set of values that kept us from devouring each other.
Moreover, in case you think religion belongs in the past because we live in a new age of “reason,” the fact is that 84% of the planet’s population identifies with a religious group.
Furthermore, members of that demographic are generally younger and produce more children than those who have no religious affiliation. Hence, the world is getting more religious, not less. Accordingly, that “sense of faith” may become the ESP of the future.
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Bob Weir is a veteran of 20 years with the New York Police Dept. (NYPD), ten of which were performed in plainclothes undercover assignments. Bob began a writing career about 16 years ago and had his first book published in 1999. He also became a syndicated columnist under the title “Weir Only Human.”