This I Believe

Korey - East Lansing, Michigan
Entered on March 4, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: purpose

What is the meaning of my life?

I am obsessed with meaning. Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? What should I do with myself? And perhaps the ultimate question oft repeated, why is there something rather than nothing? It has been this way for me as long as I can remember.

I’ve found, over the years of my life thus far, that there are two essential types of answers to these questions of meaning. On the one hand, I might surmise that I am here for no reason externally conferred, that the purpose is absolutely nothing other than what I make of it, that I should do whatever makes me happy, and that there is no answer to why there is a universe other than it is possible, because well here we are. For lack of a better term, I’ll call this realism the naturalist response. On the other hand, I might conclude that my life has a reason such that I was in some sense meant to be, that there is a transcendent sort of purpose to my life, that I should do whatever brings meaning to my life even if this is ultimately what makes me happy anyways, and that there is a reason or cause to the universe, often a clearly articulated one. This latter idealism I’ll call the religious response.

So where does this lead me? Toward which answers am I drawn? Although I am certain that for some naturalism is satisfying and meaningful, I am drawn toward the religious response. To be honest, my choice isn’t based upon a preponderance of evidence. It is based upon faith. I find it somewhat preposterous myself because of course it is incredible, maybe absurd. Of course the evidence is stacked against it.

Nevertheless it brings meaning to my life. It leads me to a religious community where these questions are addressed, discussed, and dare I say welcomed. It draws me into a community where answers have been imagined and where they continue to be re-imagined over the years, always idealistically. My religion sees a transcendent purpose to the whole universe and more importantly to the human experience itself, in spite of our misgivings about reality, in spite of our doubts. And this does something for me. It brings me contentment. It helps me deal with despair. It produces vitality. It challenges me. It frustrates me. It embraces me. It makes me feel and want to be alive. This I believe.