[Rector]

Meaning

 

Blaise Pascal once wrote "When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of space of which I am ignorant and which knows me not, I am frightened and am astonished being here rather than there, why now rather than then."

I remember in my late teens deciding that life could have no meaning if God did not exist. Existence would have to be purposeless. Mind you, I didn't try to search Him out. I suspected that my life-style may be slightly interfered with if I went looking for Him. So. my meeting with the Divine would have to wait. None the less, the sense of my little existence within this surge of time and space, drove me to the conclusion that there must be a God. Of course, it could all have been wishful thinking - a balm for fear. If it is true that life has no meaning in itself, and yet we are bound to have to survive its random onward rush, the belief in a higher Being would give at least some meaning. Like a crutch, such belief would carry the intellectual weakling through the daily turmoil. For me, such might have been the case, yet I can only testify that as the years have passed by, the crutch has become what is real, while life has become the shadow. Too much has taken place to doubt that there is a God.

Of course, there are many who face the chaos of life without a religious faith, facing alone the expanse of eternity. Bertrand Russell wrote "Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving....... his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms.... no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave..... the whole temple of man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins."

For some reason, many who choose to stand with Bertrand Russell still act as though there is meaning to the chaos. Denying the existence of God, yet proclaiming meaning within the little space they occupy before they are swallowed up in eternity. Upholding human dignity, they deny the logic of their belief. Purpose, morality, goodness.... are proclaimed as a religious faith - yet a faith without basis. As William Golding put it, "If man is the highest, is his own creator, then good and evil are created by majority vote." Public morality, religion and political philosophy, all become the musings of sophisticated animals.

If there is no God, there is no meaning. I am nothing, without reason, or purpose; a mere echo in eternity. My unfulfilled dreams can only haunt me; my declining energy only shape my end.

Yet, there was this man, although more than a man. I met him long ago and he has never left me. Robert Browning said this of him:

    "That one face, far from vanish, rather grows,

    Or decomposes but to recompose,

    Becomes my universe that feels and knows."