* “I think, therefore I am” or “am I” regardless?
Have you ever wondered why plants and animals aren’t religious? It sounds silly. If God created everything, including plants and animals, and religion is simply a socio-cultural way for us humans to get to know God, then why isn’t there a system in place for other creatures to worship God? How do they know if they’re pleasing God if they don’t have religion to explain it to them? See, this is where I think it becomes evident that we humans, in an attempt to answer a question that is natural to us, have done more harm than good. Instead of clarifying life, we’ve sectioned it off artificially, introducing fear and anger and guilt into what was meant to be a simple existence of mere peaceful experience. Remember the Garden of Eden?
But how can we, once aware of our future death, go on living peacefully, happy to experience the here and now without worrying about the future, the afterlife? Worry is a cognitive phenomenon. If we look closely at the etymology of the term “decease”, we see the word “cease” or “stop”. The definition of the verb is the “cessation” of all biological functions. No one argues that our bodies begin to decompose once we are no longer circulating oxygen in it via our blood. Yet does this mean that our entire existence is merely played out in our heads? Rene Descartes philosophized, “I think, therefore I am.” But does that mean that once I stop thinking, I no longer am? What is thinking, really? And is it necessarily tied to our being alive? Do we think when we are asleep? And if thinking = living, why do so many followers of Eastern Religions meditate precisely in order to stop thinking?! And what about those of God’s creations that don’t have a brain per se? Does a flower not exist because it doesn’t think? Of course not! It lives whether it thinks or not!
* If God is love (an abstraction), can’t He also be intelligence itself?
However, I do think there is something to this idea that our lives are intricately tied with the intellect... I just don’t think that it’s our own intellect. If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Matrix”, you might understand what I’m alluding to here. While the premise of the movie is such that machines control human beings, the part that I am thinking of has to do with the virtual reality in which they live. They are unaware of their true existence as bodies hooked up to machines, living virtual lives. They are only aware of the virtual lives. Similarly, I think we humans are only aware of our Earthly existence, unaware of being “plugged into” a spiritual dimension that not everyone readily accepts. The difference, of course, is that in the movie, the Matrix is evil, whereas in our lives, the Spiritual Dimension (“God”) is good.
I utilize this example merely to suggest that I believe there is a cosmic, universal intelligence – God – that we are all a part of. Just like we previously stated that God is love, I now suggest that God is likewise intellect. (Hence, intelligent design, which by the way, I do not see how it contradicts evolution in the least.)
Since it is difficult to distinguish between the abstract “love” and the one being loved, we have opted to simplify our understanding of God by personifying Him. So, too, since it is difficult to relate to the abstraction of “intelligence”, we have again personified God to posses the quality of intellect, rather than to actually “be” that quality. But if we were to accept God as greater than what our human brains can currently comprehend, and allow for the statement, “God is intelligence”, we could then make a case for eternal life on the premise of our thinking.
We think about life after death because there must be truth to it, truth that comes to us subconsciously from a cosmic intelligence into which we are merely plugged in. And while physical death ends our bodily function, it does not separate us from the Great Intellect. As purely spiritual beings, we no longer require our own physical brains, since we can tap into the brain of God, if you will. In this way, I believe that not only do we continue to live after death, but I also believe that we continue to be aware of our existence.
(go to part 5)