Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Need for Significance

Too much staring into the sky at stars, I think. Insignificance is a difficult thing to stomach.

Since I grew up in a Chinese culture, the predominant religious beliefs were
  1. Buddhism
  2. Folk religion
  3. Agnosticism / Atheism
Folk religion where I grew up was quite syncretistic, so it included elements of Buddhism, Christianity, Feng-shui, Shintoism and Taoism.

While I have friends who are Buddhists or into Feng-Sui, I could not accept the notion that "life is pain" and you can end your suffering via mental and societal discipline.

I grew up among Christians, or at least among the children of Christian missionaries, and frankly their conduct and behavior did not cause me to want to worship Jesus Christ.

I pondered Atheism, but the outlook was so bleak that I abandoned that rather quickly. First of all, the notion that there is no grounding reality, no God to look to, was too much for me; with no absolute, suicide seemed as logical as having supper. Secondly, I had seen too much unexplained phenomena to dismiss a spiritual reality.

Warning: this paragraph could be a little gory, you may want to skip it.
When I was about 13 or 14, we lived next door to a Chinese monk. During the Hungry Ghost Festival that year, the monk invited a god to possess his body as he marched in a procession. The physical harm I saw inflicted upon this man's body was terrible as the procession went by our house. The surrounding township watched the procession of dozens of monks, and as my neighbor danced down our street in a frenzy, cutting his back with a sword I had watched him sharpen, devotees struck him with spiked clubs and stabbed him through with shiny metal spikes. Yet as I watched the devotees rince him off with a hose and pull the metal spikes out of his back/chest and arms, he appeared comletely unharmed, though weakened by the apparent loss of blood. I didn't hang around his kids much after that.

Anyway, what I had seen caused some questions in my mind. So I tried to follow the philosophical Way of Taoism, which essentially teaches that you should unite with the source through detachment from the world. As a side note, I find it interesting Taoism teaches that "The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things." Taoism left me to my own recognisince, and frankly I was not up to the task.

Despite my experience as a child, I was a young man in high school when I became a Christian. When I encountered the Living God, or actually when He confront me, I became convinvced of my need for forgiveness, and my need for meaning and significance available through God Himself.

It may be my foreign background or religious experience that gives me unusual theological dispositions. Maybe I stared at the stars too much as a kid. But now I know who I am and why I live.

If you want meaning, belonging, and significance in your life, you need God. You need Him, and God is ready and waiting for you. Don't wait, you won't regret it.

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