Searching for the Real Thing

Every serious student of truth must first admit that ultimate reality is accepted by faith. That is, although logic, science, and available evidence play a part in shaping our decision, the question of ultimate purpose and origin are tied to who or what we choose to believe about the past.

Ultimate, absolute truth is tied to where we came from and why we are here in the first place. Put simply, there are three ultimate questions that all of us, whether we admit it or not, are seeking to answer.

Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
Where am I going?

There are four ways we might answer these questions; four "systems" from which we must choose.  Either: there is no god, there are many gods, there is one God, or God is everything.  And, as you are aware, there are religions across the world that represent all four of these possibilities.

Which of the four can answer the ultimate questions?

Atheists (those who believe in "no god") believe that reality goes no further than random chance mixed with eons of time. Their self-proclaimed "scientific" approach to origins and reality is a blind faith in matter as the "creator."  For them, the ultimate questions have dark answers indeed. (For more information why evolution and atheism are actually faith-based assumptions, see our creation & evolution category.)

Pantheists (those who believe god is everything, including themselves) believe that ultimate reality and truth can be found within. After all, man is god (or at least part of God), as are the flowers, the beetles, and the rocks. Everything is part of a great "force" or "universal energy." This idea dominates the Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, and has made great inroads into the Western world through the New Age movement. The faith of these self-believers is placed upon an undefined, impersonal energy that, although it has no attributes, has somehow ordered the universe and all it contains. Their concept is basically that "god" has amnesia (since most humans have "forgotten" they are really god) and that god needs to be told he is god so that he can be brought into fullness with the universal energy field.

Polytheists (those who believe in many gods) often also view ultimate reality as a great force or mind that permeates all things. Even though they accept the concept of multiple gods, ultimate truth cannot be found in any one of those "lesser" gods, but in something greater. These gods must be "lesser" in that there can not be more than one "all-powerful being." (Think about that for a moment.) Many animist and polytheist cultures around the world have a concept of a single "creator" god or entity that they worship to one degree or another. An example would be Hinduism in India, with its supposed 300+ million different idol gods, yet its widespread belief in "brahmin" as the highest "force."

Monotheists (those who believe in one God) view ultimate truth and reality as coming from a single living Being. Logically and scientifically, this concept probably has the most supporting evidence that can be gleaned from observation and human experience. Ultimate reality, to the monotheist, is found by faith in the Creator God who designed the world intelligently and personally. As the Creator, this God has the absolute authority over everything He has made, and humans are accountable to Him.

So, which belief about "god" shall we embrace? Which system is the most credible and deserving of our trust? Which can satisfy the inner "emptiness" of our souls? What is the ultimate origin of all things?

Where can we find absolute truth?

ATHEISM certainly cannot provide any hope or concept of purpose to the weary soul. To be an atheist is to admit that man is worth nothing more than the ground upon which he stands, and is to declare unequivocally that there is no purpose in human life other than to survive.

There is a great logical dilemma that atheism faces as well. Aside from the fantastic evidences for design in all creation, atheism has a greater issue with which to contend--its own basic presupposition is flawed. The statement "There is no God" is an absolute negative statement. The problem is, the only people who can make absolute negative statements are people who have absolute knowledge of all things, at all times, with no exceptions. Unfortunately for the atheist, he does not possess such knowledge. It is impossible for him to know that God doesn't exist, he is just guessing. (Which actually makes him an agnostic…)

It gets worse for the atheist, however. He would contend that all things have evolved by chance random processes. If this is true, that means that his own brain and capacity for logic and thought are mere chance processes. So, how can the atheist be sure his logic is right if he can't even know if his brain has evolved correctly? How can he even know if he is asking the right question? The atheist really has no answer as to ultimate reality, only a guess formulated out of his own unsupported presuppositions.

PANTHEISM is certainly a creative religious system, but its flaws are easy to spot.  To assume that god is everything is to include oneself in the equation (convenient, to say the least). Thus, the answer must be found within oneself, whether or not it has to do with some special knowledge or cosmic interface or channel of power. Yet as complicated as this system can be, it still does not at all account for the question at hand -- where did everything come from?  Where did we come from, why are we here, and where are we going?

Sometimes pantheists subscribe to reincarnation -- a process whereby living things come "back" after death as other living things, and that the deeds of one lifetime determine the quality of the next.  Problem: if there is no personal God who is ultimately in charge, who orders all these mysterious events? Who is it administrates and keeps a record of karma? What intelligence governs such a tremendously complicated system? If god is in everything, then why aren't all human beings single-minded regarding behavior and purpose? How can one person argue with another person's standards if both are god? Where did this world and our physical lives come from anyway? Did the "force" (who cannot think) decide (who has no will) to split apart and become physical? Why? How did it? Again, what is the purpose of all life then? Clearly, this idea of pantheism raises many more questions than it answers, and it fails to deal with the ultimate issue--how can we be sure what absolute truth really is?

POLYTHEISM is another option to consider, but it too, can be easily dismissed as unhelpful in the quest for absolute truth.  If there are many gods, where did they originate? What is the ultimate source of intelligence and power? Who is in charge? Why have they (and we) been made? This belief system really leaves us in the same quandary as pantheism -- it gives us no straightforward, believable explanation of how all things came to be and what the purpose actually is.

Some people dodge the question by affirming that "all religions are right." But think for a moment: when there are multiple choices that contradict one another, all of them cannot be right. Try placing a number in a hat and have others guess at it. If someone says "1" and the next person says "4" one of them MUST be wrong. (Both could be wrong, but both cannot be right.) Whether you bow down before a few polytheist gods or all of them, the ultimate questions remain unanswered.  Where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I going?

MONOTHEISM offers answers to the ultimate questions. Monotheism is both logical and conclusive--there is one God who made the world, who sustains the world, and who ultimately rules the world.

Accepting the premise of monotheism (for the sake of argument), let us look at some of the "ultimate questions" we face:

Q. Where did the Universe come from?
A. From the All-Powerful Creator God

Q. Why was the Universe created?
A. For the pleasure of God (He wanted to make it!)

Q. What is the purpose for mankind?
A. To accomplish the objectives (will) of God...loving others, living according to God's plan for life, taking care of and enjoying the world He entrusted to us, preparing ourselves for our future with Him, and maintaining a personal relationship with our Maker.

Q. Who determines right and wrong?
A. The Creator and Owner of the Universe--God.

Q. Who is it that determines absolute truth?
A. God alone. As the Creator, He is the ultimate reality.  He is the starting point from which all other truth proceeds.

The Reasonable Conclusion

God has made humanity -- God has made you -- for a specific purpose. The Creator of the universe, the infinite and fantastically-powerful God has created you so that He might have a personal relationship with you both now and forever. Your purpose in existence is to know your Maker personally, to obey, love, and have everlasting joy with Him.

The Bible makes a clear statement in this regard: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men." (John 1:1-4)

It is with Him that the search for truth -- that quest for satisfying answers to life's greatest questions -- can end.


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