Who are we? I mean, who are we really? Are we just a random, scientific accident? Did something in the universe explode and we came to be? If so, then I guess it’s possible that an explosion in a grocery store could result in the creation of an exquisite 7-course meal, perfectly-cooked and served on fine china with elegant garnishments and accompanied by soothing violin music. Actually, that’s much more likely than biological beings with the ability to think creatively and feel real emotions randomly growing into existence. By the way, recent genetic studies by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer and others strongly show that the famous Cambrian Explosion of life (which the Theory of Natural Selection cannot explain – and even Darwin himself admitted that) must have had a guiding hand. Ask yourself this very important question: Have you ever received help that you couldn’t explain? We all have. It happens a lot, and it isn’t just “cosmic coincidence.” To claim such is nonsense, scientifically and otherwise. This experience was planned for us. We’re here for a purpose. We are individuals with a life before and a life after this one. Nothing else makes any sense, especially to someone who understands science with a truly inquisitive mind. The incomplete science of evolutionary processes in no way precludes the existence of a guiding hand in our creation, and in fact does more to support it than could ever be done to refute it. But more important than the “How” of our existence is the fact that the key to our happiness is understanding who we are and where the wellspring of our worth truly resides. We are all beloved sons and daughters of the same God, and while some of us might not seem (in our eyes) to deserve that love as much as others, the fact is that there is a God in heaven who loves us and who gives us choice and accountability in order for us to grow and further develop the worth of our existence. I know I don’t fully understand how He can be so patient with us, how He can even tolerate some of the atrocious things we do, but I know He promised us our freedom. He won’t force us to do what He says, but He will give us all of the encouragement we can tolerate – and yes, tolerate is the right word here. He wants us to be happy, and He will gladly and continuously show us how if we will let Him, but the choice has to be ours. The only other proposal for getting to what we might call “Evolved Humanity” is force (slavery), and that never has and never will work in actuality, no matter what the ostensibly well-meaning Vladimir Lenins, Margaret Sangers, or Barack Obamas of the world might believe. The fact that we are actually sons and daughters of God with incredible potential is critical to building durable and efficacious self-worth. The other crucial ingredient is work – honest, hard work that encompasses not just our selfish needs but the needs of our families, friends and neighbors. As U.S. Senator Rand Paul said in January 2014, “Hard work and sweat invigorate the spirit and provide a solace no government program will ever achieve.” In the midst of both ingredients is necessarily woven the element of faith as an empowerment, and when we see ourselves in faith as children of God and develop a strong desire to work hard and act decently, we will find a joy of self that surpasses the bland psychological definitions of physiological happiness. Our very souls will rejoice in ways that current scientific understanding cannot explain, and our desires for peace will far outweigh our urges for dominance that lead to aggression, hatred, violence, and war. Of course, most don’t reach that level of self-awareness, so the idyllic state of harmony we all wish for has always been elusive, a dancing wisp of white smoke that so easily avoids our grasp. We achieve periods of relative peace in limited locales, but by and large we seem to seek conflict as much as we seek peace, because of greed, arrogance (which is false self-worth), lust for power, and lack of control over physical passions. In the process, we paradoxically destroy our own self-worth, and because we’re miserable, we seek to make others miserable as well, especially those we think are to “blame” for our current condition. Instead of being a people who strive to build each others’ self-worth and rejoice in everyone’s successes, we too often criticize and ridicule and tear down the worth of others. We all do it. We all struggle with the temptation to blame or despise to make ourselves supposedly feel better, and we all give in far too often. Deep down we recognize those failures keenly, so much so that when a thinly-disguised charlatan eloquently and passionately trumpets to us the values of unity, community and brotherly love and promises that he or she will lead us there, we jump to our feet in fervent acclamations of agreement and support without pausing to see if the actions begin to match the words. At the same time that we are struggling with our own yearnings for true self-worth, we have to think about our children as well. Self-worth is most effectively and reliably built within a strong, loving and stable family. Understandably, not all families are well-suited in their circumstances, and so other networks become involved, including churches, communities, online communities, and our larger society. We must look carefully at what we as a society are doing to our children, because it can profoundly impact their feelings of self-worth in negative ways despite the valiant efforts of parents and friends. By the time our kids reach middle school, they have seen so many poor examples and heard so many outright lies about what defines “worth” that it’s no wonder they struggle so mightily. We’re killing them with our unquenchable thirst for celebrity sex appeal, with our music and movies that drum greedily and mercilessly at their hearts with false messages of “escape” through drugs, alcohol, sex and violence, with preposterous “heroes” who preach rude, irresponsible behavior and an insatiable lust for money and physical gratification. With all of this, how are they ever supposed to feel good about themselves? Fortunately, the human spirit is strong and there are still enough good families helping kids through this maze of masochistic treachery, but as we continue to hand off more and more of what should be families’ responsibilities to the nanny state and popular entertainment, the angst and anguish of our teens will only become worse. The bottom line is that we came here to be free. We came here to work and to prove ourselves worthy of that freedom. God supports us in that effort, while the vast majority of our man-made governments throughout the history of the world have not. Our individual worth is immeasurable, as is our individual potential. Personal responsibility and accountability, along with sincere love of our fellow human beings, lead to lasting happiness and dignity; while debauchery, blame and utter dependence on others, which breed quagmires of resentment and chasms of dissatisfaction, do not.
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