Death . . . the process of passing on . . . the topic has been unavoidably with us these past few weeks. Terry Schiavo and Pope John Paul II . . . many have been saddened by these two deaths, and there have been many other deaths of which most of us have not heard, but would have been cause for our sadness had we known of them. And yet . . . in truth we grieve, not for them, but for ourselves. They - Terry, Karol, the people who lost their lives in Minnesota, and so many, many more . . . they have moved on. They have left this mortal, corporeal realm of pain and suffering, and entered into the presence of the Creator. They are reaping the rewards of what they accomplished here on earth. If we truly believe in the promises of the Creator, should we not consider this a cause for joy, rather than mourning? Should we not rejoice in their joy? Should we not be happy for them, if we honestly believe? DO we honestly believe?
The politicians who fought so hard to make political capital out of Terry Schiavo, what do they believe? They attempted, mightily, to keep her from her heavenly reward. What do they truly believe? If they believe in Heaven, as they seem to proclaim, then why did they try so terribly hard to keep Terry from attaining it? What good could come from holding Terry back from communion with her Creator?
If you were to sense a certain anger in what I write, you would not be wrong. Between my wife and myself, we have lost eight grandparents, four parents, and more than a few aunts and uncles, as well as many friends that we have met in our travels along life's path. We have seen death come many times and in many guises. We have seen quick deaths and slow deaths. We have seen peaceful, painless deaths, and, on occasion, we have seen the opposite. When we were young, we did mourn for those whom we had lost, because we had not yet learned and we did not understand. We have since come to the realization that, as I have previously said, death is not an end, but a beginning.
I will not go into detail as to what brought us to the spiritual destination which we have reached, because it is intensely personal. Let it suffice to say that each of us has had an experience that was utterly convincing, and we are now gladdened that those we loved have attained a state that we can only dream of. I believe that each of us, if we truly believe, in our own way will be vouchsafed an experience intended to comfort and guide us.
When we mourn the passing of someone who has touched us in some way, when we grieve for those who have passed on, we are misguided. We are truly mourning for ourselves, we who are left behind, bereft of the presences who have gone ahead of us to discover the wonders and beauties of the world beyond. We have been given an implicit promise that if we believe, we will be rewarded, and yet so many of us are filled with doubt.
Science and Religion are often at odds. Science operates on the principle that what seems to exist must be proven to exist. Science advances theories for what is, and seeks the proof that will demonstrate the efficacy of the theories. If a theory does not prove out, it is rejected. Eventually a theory will be advanced which fits all the facts as they are understood, and that theory will become accepted as fact. Sometimes new data will arise to challenge the theory, and if the theory withstands and assimilates the new data, it is considered to have been proven. Science is on a continuous quest to understand the world which the Creator has given us.
Religion seemingly stands at the opposite pole from Science. It asserts a theory for which there can ultimately be no proof. To attempt to prove the ineffable is a waste of time, and is perhaps profane. Religion asks us to take that leap of faith, to believe without proof. But why, I ask, are Religion and Science apparently irreconcilable? Why is not the very existence of the universe proof that a Creator in fact exists? Take, as an example, evolution. Why cannot the Creator have determined that the surest way to ensure the existence of intelligence was through the vehicle of evolution? Perhaps evolution was the Creator's plan. Who can, of a surety, say? Why do humans insist on creating contention where none needs to exist? What can the Creator think of us?
I believe that what we consider to be our existence is a classroom. When we were children, we were sent to school, presumably to learn the information we needed to become functional adults. As we live our lives, I believe that we are expected to learn what is needed to become functional adults in the spiritual realm. If we failed to learn in class, we were held back (or at least we were in my day) until we assimilated and understood the information necessary to move forward. In the same fashion, I believe that if we fail to learn the lessons in the here and now that we need to learn for the hereafter, we will be held back until we do learn.
I hope that no one who reads this thinks I am trying to advance my personal beliefs or to proselytize. I believe that there are many ways to enter the presence of the Creator, just as there are many ways to go astray. David Koresh, Jim Jones and Adolph Hitler are just a few of the examples of the latter. If you are wise, you will seek within and discover your own path to the Creator. That is what I believe the Creator expects of us.
May you discover your own path, and respect the paths of others. Peace.