Course Change

Perhaps I’m going about this all wrong. My worldview has become more incoherent as I drift towards nihilism. A tempting drift though it may be given the dearth of evidence to suggest otherwise, nihilism contradicts another conception to which I subscribe; namely, that the individual can only ever hold an incomplete view and should, therefore, restrain him/herself from holding convictions on the basis of certainties and only speak of things in relative terms, “…it seems, the evidence suggests, my experience would suggest, etc. …” Otherwise, we risk subscribing to dogmatic beliefs about reality that become terribly difficult to see past or to abandon in light of new and profound ideas. It seems to me that nihilism (along with atheism) is one of these dogmatic worldviews that can overwhelm the heart into a psychological torpor. Although I can’t, at this moment, conclude that there is an ultimate purpose to existence, it seems unreasonable and incoherent for me to determine that, on this basis alone, there is in fact no ultimate purpose.

It was said that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” and with such terms the gauntlet was thrown down. Perhaps some are unconvinced, but the response was indeed extraordinary, complex, and profound. It suggests some grand narrative – something universal seems to beseech our devotion. However, the challenge before us, it seems, is to accept that the only evidence to validate such claims is the claim itself (perhaps a little hard to swallow). At the very least, I think this requires an equally extraordinary, complex, and profound examination – not a cursory reading followed by a quick dismissal. I think we need to take the claims more seriously, especially those who think they already do.

As far as my own life is concerned, it seems my time is better spent struggling to come to terms with these extraordinary claims than to regard such an exercise as futile and conclude nihilism. Perhaps the reason some of us are so quick to give up on Revelation is because it’s so hard, and presents too great a challenge. Maybe it just seems too unlikely that, given the grandness of the cosmos and our insignificance in relation to it, any intelligent entity would see it necessary to love us, to love me. Maybe it’s my lack of love for me that makes me wonder why anything else would – is there really no purpose, or am I just so ashamed that I’ve abandoned myself on His behalf?

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