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Riddles Of Life Essay

1093 words - 5 pages

Growing up, I loved riddles—at least riddles I could solve. Few things were more satisfying that sharing a riddle with a friend and having them give up in defeat. Over the years, I’ve learned some riddles are puzzles that entertain and some are puzzles that instruct us. Most riddles are little more than innocuous puzzles to help pass the time. Some force us to confront life’s deepest mysteries. Even the attempt to resolve such riddles often leaves us confused and perplexed. Sometimes our attempts to answer such questions move us into great faith but almost as easily they move us into the foreboding shadows of darkness and doubt. Few willingly confront such questions, but ultimately we must confront our deepest doubts and fears. More often than not, these questions come when we’re most vulnerable and exposed. In such moments, our entire outlook can be transformed.
No riddle, no question may be more daunting than questions about the existence of evil and human suffering. Only the most calloused heart is untouched by images of suffering children. Only the most hardened heart can see a child’s belly swollen from starvation and not ask why. Few scenes create more hopelessness than a weeping mother cradling the mangled, lifeless body of her child amid the destruction caused by yet another senseless, indiscriminate suicide bombing. Daily we’re inundated with images of nature’s wrath against those least able to protect themselves. Confronted with such powerful images of human suffering, we cringe, weep, puzzle, and even scream out against the senselessness. We deaden ourselves against the carnage, but eventually we can no longer avoid such hard questions. Theist and non-theist alike confront their doubts, seeking some kind of answer that will satisfy. More often than not, both find themselves standing at the edge of the bottomless abyss needing to take a step into a dark, frightening unknown. Uncertain of the next step we stand frozen by fear and doubt.
For a consistent non-theist, questions about evil are philosophical illusions. Viewing the world through the prism of naturalistic evolution, what many perceive as evil is nothing more than the capricious, arbitrary process of an uncaring, mindless, purposeless universe. Governed by laws of evolution and natural selection, humanity should be less concerned about perceptions of good and evil and more concerned about helping the species advance up the evolutionary ladder. Instead of lamenting the deaths of the innocent, nature’s destructiveness, or the complete extinction of some animals, we should embrace them as part of the inevitable outcome of mindless evolution. Traits that are highly prized—love, compassion, piety, and mercy—are not virtues to be praised but weaknesses to be avoided. Rather than shunning our animal nature, we embrace it as a necessary tool in the undeniable, unstoppable evolutionary process. God is not only non-existent, He is unnecessary as humanity has within its grasp the...

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