Christian Existentialism

Existentialism generally is a philosophy associated with atheism.  The majority of existentialists are atheists because the basic tenets of their belief do not comport with a God who is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and in charge of everything.

How can a stellar existentialist, who is steadfast in his independence, tolerate a controlling God?  How can an existentialist believe that he is making choices if everything is predestined by God?  How can a good existentialist believe that life is absurd and without meaning if there is a God?

Well, these are excellent questions, but there are logical answers for Christian existentialists like Soren Kierkegaard: (1) God gives us free choice and does not interfere with our decisions; (2) God created our universe outside our universe, since matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our closed universe;  in other words, God created, but does not control our universe; (3) nothing is predetermined in our lives since we make choices and suffer the consequences;  (4) and life is absurd without God.

So, it is possible to be a Christian existentialist.  You will not have many friends or associates who agree with you, but you can always unite and communicate with the most important entity, God.  Becoming one with God should be your primary goal in life.

The first step in being a true Christian existentialist is to reject other Christians who are not authentic.  Unfortunately, this is a high percentage of modern Christians.  Most Christians go to church for social approval and cannot discuss theology or even basic concepts supporting what they really believe.  In fact, most of them don’t believe in anything other than making appearances and looking good in the community.  Their beliefs and faith in God are only skin deep.

How do you become an authentic Christian existentialist?  Well, it will be a bit controversial, but you need to reject family, peer, and social pressures to think and act a certain way.  Then you can start meditating or focusing on what you really believe.  Let God into your heart and make Him a part of this process.  Become one with God.  Seek harmony with your freedom to make choices and be prepared to accept the consequences from poor decisions.  If God is within you, you will find peace in this process.

God will remove the anxiety and existential angst in your decision making because He will lead you.  Even though you cannot see God and even though He is not inside our visible universe, He can enter your soul as the Holy Spirit and become unified with you.  Your conscience and awareness is heightened with Him inside you.  Your choices may not be perfect, but your attempts to improve your decisions with humility will be all that matters if you fully accept responsibility as one who is imperfect.

And remember: life truly is absurd and makes no sense without God.

Evolution for Afterlife

We are all familiar with Darwin’s theories of evolution during life, but very little has been written on evolution after life.  If you believe that there is nothing after life, then you will not be interested in this discussion; however, you might want to read this just in case there is something waiting for us after we die.  Since it is impossible to say with certainty that there is nothing after we die, it might be good to at least think about the possibilities.

You have heard stories about parents who wanted their children to have a better life and sacrificed their own lives to provide an education and whatever else they could to give their children a better chance than they had.  Evolution is a part of that process.  Survival of the fittest is one of the evolutionary principles that generally create a better and stronger species.  The weaker and less efficient members of that population die or don’t reproduce.

We know that Homo sapiens was lucky to become the dominant species.  If the dinosaurs had not suffered a mass extinction, mammals would not have had the opportunity to flourish.  And our species was nearly wiped out several times, but it fortunately survived the eruption of Mt. Toba and the ice ages.

So even though we consider ourselves as the ultimate species at the top of the evolutionary peak, this is not true.  Consider the source of that belief.  Our species consists of very fragile animals that cannot survive in extreme conditions.  The species has only existed for a short period in geologic time.  Our selfish tendencies will eventually doom us.  We would rather satisfy our individual needs than do the right thing to protect our progeny.  An example is our inability to preserve our environment for future generations.

We attempt to improve ourselves during our lifetimes, but our humanness limits our ability to evolve into selfless creatures.  Perhaps the best we can hope for is that we would sacrifice our lives to protect our children.  So, it may be that any significant evolution of man must occur after death.  Assuming that we are still conscious after death, we may have the opportunity to evolve into a much better entity.

The Bible indicates that there are three Heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2).  We can only speculate on these different Heavens, but there may be three separate tests for each Heaven.

The first Heaven probably is the obvious one where Christians go if they believe in Jesus who died for their sins.  But Jews and Muslims also know this Heaven as a place where believers of God are admitted.  Other religions and beliefs are not excluded from this Heaven.  This destination is not an exclusive club for Christians, Jews, Muslims, or any religion.  But your choices made during life may be a part of the judgment, including analyzing your actions as evidence that you actually believed.  So, this Heaven perhaps is the easiest to reach as long as you believe.  There may be a clear division between believers and nonbelievers.  The Bible refers to an abyss between the two groups.  Near-death experiences consistently refer to crossing over.

We apparently will retain at least some of our senses to detect this Heaven.  This is the Heaven that has been seen and heard by those who have had near-death or death experiences.  It probably is a beautiful and peaceful place, but still should be within the confines of God’s created, closed universe.  This is where we may see and talk to relatives and friends who predeceased us, angels, and Jesus and Abraham, all in recognizable human form.  This probably is by design so we will feel welcome and will not be afraid of unfamiliar forms and entities.  The face of Jesus will be comfortable and familiar to us, so we may see Him here.  But the face of God might be more hidden from us in this Heaven.

The second Heaven may require an evolution of spirit, going from selfish, centrist thought to “big picture” thinking.  In other words, you become less important as an entity as the whole becomes more important than your part.  This Heaven, more than likely, is reached through your thoughts.  You may find the mid-Heaven quite a bit more difficult to reach since there may be temptations in the first Heaven that impede your progress.  However, if you become one with God, you should be able to avoid selfish and prideful thoughts.  Some religions teach this unification, which is critical in order to evolve and transfer into the second Heaven.  Reaching this goal requires much more than a belief in Jesus or God; it requires a complete makeover of your personality, focusing on the universe that is beyond you.  I have no idea about the structure of this Heaven, but it probably is still within the border of our closed universe.  We may be judged by our actions in the first Heaven to determine if we will be permitted to transition to the second Heaven.

The third Heaven probably is God’s universe, which is outside our known universe.  The law of conservation of energy basically states that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in a closed universe.  So, God’s creation probably occurred outside our closed universe in God’s kingdom.  The transformation that is required to reach this kingdom may be of such a magnitude that I would be surprised if many souls ever made it.  In fact, the Bible, including the teachings of Jesus, is very clear that only a very few make the grade to reach God’s kingdom.

Pastors rarely will discuss the three Heavens and even less often will mention the difficulty in reaching the third Heaven, God’s kingdom.  It would be too controversial.  The pastors would be run out of town.  Most believers only want to hear about the first Heaven, which is the easiest destination.  So, ministers focus on how members of their church can reach the first Heaven.  It would be difficult to sell Christianity or any other religion if people had to work too hard at it.  So, don’t expect too many articles on evolving from the first Heaven to the second and third Heavens.

The significant evolution of our spirits must occur after we die.  My wife and I look forward to the Heavens as a challenge.  We will do our best and reach as many Heavens as we can.  We believe we have a chance to reach the second Heaven, so we will prepare ourselves as much as we can during our lifetimes to be ready for whatever happens.

If there is no afterlife, then all will be still when we die, and we will not suffer from our beliefs.  However, if there is an afterlife, then we will be well served by our preparation for consequences.  The free will that God gave us must have some significance.  As religious existentialists we believe that free will without the consequences of God would be quite absurd.

Also, it seems logical that a creation must have a Creator and that a design must have a Designer.  If I were an odds maker, I would say that it is more likely than not that there is a God.  If I were a gambler, I would place my money on God not only because of better odds, but also because of the consequences if you are wrong.  Even if the chances of there being a God were one in a million, I would still bet on God because if I’m wrong, it will not cost me anything.  But if I don’t pick God and I’m wrong, it will cost me everything.

My wife and I have taken a vow of abstinence for the past twenty years.  We will die without having sex again.  This may seem a bit extreme, but believe me, getting to the other Heavens requires extreme effort.  It will not be easy, no matter what religion and beliefs you have.  You must be willing to sacrifice yourself and your desires.  My wife and I study the Bible together as we prepare for our final days.  We are not perfect, but we work toward reaching the final goal.  If you get halfway toward your goal each day, you will never reach the goal, but you will keep edging closer.

It is interesting that many people do not like their lives, their work, their sex lives, their sex (male or female), but there are days when my wife and I find that we don’t like our species.  We apologize for this, but sometimes, we like our dogs better than humans.  In fact, we hope God has animals in the first Heaven.  We feel confident that the second and third Heavens require a complete transfiguration from our species into something altogether different and, of course, becoming a better entity through the evolution for afterlife.  Good luck.  We all will need it.

Why Do You Think You Are a Good Person?

Whether you are a religious person or not, most people like to think that they are a good person.  There are exceptions, most of whom populate the prison system.  But as a general rule, we like to consider ourselves as basically good.

But why do you think you are a good person?  Is it because you compare yourself with your peers and you come out looking pretty good?  Or is it because your good traits outweigh your bad traits?  Or is it just because you want to be a good person?

Late in 2014, I started a “Virtues” chart on myself.  I included topics like: Bible, reading, writing, thinking, meditating, praying, no-anger, truth telling, kindness, humility, patience, love, service, and joy.  I gave myself one point for doing something each day that fulfilled any of these categories.  The first week, I was a disaster.  The second week, I moved up a little, but it took me over a month to get out of the single digits.  I had to focus on doing these things or I failed to address them.

I started thinking:  Gee, I thought I was a pretty good person until I evaluated my actual performance.  The truth is that we all think more of ourselves than we probably should.  We have a tendency to believe that we are good people since we haven’t robbed or killed anybody recently.  The problem is that we all have a tendency to rock along with daily activities, distracted from accomplishing anything outside your work and family zones.

For example, you can lose your patience and temper at work or home without too much difficulty.  But you are so busy trying to complete your assignments at work or to run your kids from school to soccer practice, you forget that you were not as good a person as you thought.

I truly believed that I was a really great truth teller.  But when I tested myself, allowing a point only if I told the truth all day long, I failed miserably.  Without this test, we are like golfers who take “mulligans” and don’t count “wiffs” as strokes.  We think that we tell the truth because most of the time we do not lie.  But those “white lies” or stretching the truth to avoid hurting somebody’s feelings are still lies.

Another one was “no anger.”  I rarely got to check this one.  I had no idea how angry I was since I was only angry a few minutes out of a long day.  I thought I was right on target: a good person who did not get angry.  However, those short bursts of anger were sufficient to keep me from getting any points.

The last category was “joy” which is significantly more than being “happy.”  I have not achieved this goal yet.  You should know it when you reach joy, but there are just too many things in life that interfere with that ultimate connection.  I came closest when I was content with my daily activities and was turning in after a long day.  But then my wife would ask me something like, “Did you take the garbage out?” or “Did you know Johnnie got a ‘D” today?”  But there is no joy in Mudville – our mighty egos have struck out.

So, do you still think you are a good person?