Seems to me it must be hard to live in this beautiful world and remain entirely confident that it is only accidental, that our lives are only accidental, and that our meaning and love and passions and sense of right and wrong are only the accidental output of material machinery marching to the orders of accidental DNA. Pure materialism doesn’t fit well with our actual experience of life on Earth. Even many who are not religious recognise this, and acknowledge the probable existence of a “higher power”.
Allowing for a higher power solves a lot of problems. It gives an explanation for love beyond chemical imbalances, hope beyond physical death, and value beyond usefulness. Religious or not, most people still want these things to be true, and still see (rightly) that they cannot be derived from pure materialism. Yet for all the problems it solves, the idea of a higher power raises more questions than it answers. What exactly is a “higher power”? One thing is for sure: it’s high.
A higher power is, by definition, higher than we are.
A higher power is above us, able to view our lives and our world from a higher vantage point than we have access to. In other words, a higher power would logically have a higher knowledge of our lives and our society than we could ever hope to achieve with our little minds in our little lifetimes. And if this is true, wouldn’t it be reasonable for us to make an attempt at finding out if this higher power has anything to say to us? It would certainly be helpful, if we could tap in to such a resource. And if the higher power is loving and good (most of us agree on that one) then wouldn’t it make sense for such a being to try to communicate higher knowledge to us, for our own good? Would it be loving to simply sit back and watch us mess things up, all the time knowing a better way but never caring enough to tell us about it?
There is a problem with this, of course: What if the higher power who sees more than we do doesn’t see everything the same way? What if we find out what the higher power thinks, only to discover that we disagree? Maybe we don’t actually want a higher power like that, not if it comes with a different opinion. Sure, tapping in to higher power sounds nice, if we can get blessings and benefits, but we’d rather keep that power under our own personal and cultural control. We’re not really looking for a power who knows more than we do and might tell us we’re wrong about something. We want a power that will do as it’s told. It might be more appropriate to call it a lower power, given its position under our thumbs. We want to have our cake and eat it, to have our higher power and be it – or at least control it.
It feels good to be in control. So we live our lives and direct our future in the “freedom” of fumbling around in the dark, refusing the possibility that the higher power we speak of might know more than we do and love us enough to correct our course and show us where true life and joy and happiness live. What if our higher power has a higher love than simple acceptance of everything we choose, no matter how destructive it may turn out to be? What if our higher power has a higher purpose for us than our personal dreams can hold? What wonders could we be missing by ignoring him?
After all, it’s not as if he’s been silent.