Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Unforgettable...That's What We Are

"Pure science is always secular and horizontal in its references, and cannot express the vertical tendencies in culture which refer to the ultimate source of meaning in life."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
Andrew Sulluvan seems concerned that anti-science fundamentalists are next going to attack neuroscientists the way they've already made war on evolutionary biologists. Thus far no major volleys have been fired, but I suppose it is possible. Rather odd, however, for a Catholic like Sullivan to be siding with those who would deny the existence of the soul. Strange as it may seem, for a fellow gay Christian -- who is no fan of the fundies, either -- I can rather see what might be the "evangelical" crowd's point.
When scientists extrapolate on their latest theories -- however plausible, interesting and possibly true -- once they state that this-or-that-one "proves" there is no God (or, in this case, no life hereafter), they are bringing on the fight.
I have already gone on record that I believe in God, also believe in evolution, and see the two concepts as not only compatible but complementary. But as illogical as fundamentalists can be about evolution, that was a war they didn't exactly start.
I remember sitting in science classes, in public school, and actually being told that evolution "proved" there was no God. And as a Christian, I didn't like it, either. Many scientists are openly antagonistic toward religion, and go out of their way to pull Christians' whiskers every chance they get. They asked for the antagonism, so they sound pretty silly crying about it.
If they start taunting us about how their latest neuroscientific studies supposedly "disprove" the possibility of an afterlife, they are definitely shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater. And they will deserve all the grief they get.
Okay, so when we die, our brain activity totally ceases. And while we're alive, all of our mental, emotional and -- apparently -- even spiritual functions are utterly dependent on our brain's neurochemical activity. Excuse me, but "duh!"
This is new?! Have we not pretty much always known that? Maybe I'm just slow, but this seems to be what the vast majority of the human race has always taken for granted. If, indeed, there is
no God, then there probably is no afterlife. But if -- as I and many other people still stubbornly affirm -- God is real, then there's absolutely no reason why "He" can't work around the neurochemical aspect of the situation.
Those who die, as the Bible says, "die in the Lord" (Rev. 14:13). If there really IS a Lord, then I fail to see the problem. What did people expect, that the human soul was like some tiny, fetus-like creature with a gigantic head who perched somewhere behind the cerebral cortex and plugged it all into a computer? Or the guy behind the screen in "The Wizard of Oz?" Puh-leeze, folks.
We continue always to live, I do believe, in the Mind of God. Nobody has ever been able to prove we didn't start out there in the first place, so there's no way they can prove we don't end up there, as well.
God never, ever forgets us, and God goes on forever. What is that, if not eternal life? It may not sound like much to some, but the memory of God is not likely to be as perishable as that of our loved ones here on earth -- who'll die like we will -- or even that of an entire civilization, which will one day inevitably crumble and be swept away. The Mind of God has called into being all that ever was, is now and ever will be. That seems, to me, to be a pretty secure place to be.
God's thoughts are so enlivening that they created us. They can certainly sustain us, too.
Christians need to stop worrying about things that cannot begin to be problems for God. We need to stop bragging about our great faith and begin living like we actually have it. No more
letting all the scoffers pull our whiskers. If we didn't make it so much fun for them, they'd go pick on somebody else.
To God, we're unforgettable. And that's good enough for me. As long as "He" never forgets us, our eternal survival is assured. Now, it's HOW God remembers us that determines what sort of an eternity we will have.



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