It has been long since last I journaled. I have been directing most of my spiritual energies towards an online course, and the rest of my energies are occupied in serving at a new restaurant, reading, or in a summertime idleness. I don't intend to update anything about my life here, particularly, but simply put down some thoughts on spirituality in a forum that will encourage me to tighten up my arguments somewhat.
Recently I have come full circle. Two or three years ago I realized that the only religious truth of which I was certain was that I have (or am) a soul. This soul is not my body, nor is it my mind, nor is it a constituent part of either. It is the part of me that is immortal, and finds its home in a realm that is not the material universe. I have recently concluded that that is all I am truly certain about now, as well.
As near as I can tell, science is likely to move on apace and explain all phenomena of consciousness and sensation. While the leading thinkers of our time have yet to fully explicate a theory of mind, I do believe there will be major breakthroughs in this field, if not in the next couple of decades or centuries, then at least at some point in the future. Does this seem to be blind faith? I hope not, as I like to believe that I am following the lines of evidence, which lead away from, rather than towards, mind/body dualism.
Yet at the same time I have a faith and religious conviction that we are not merely material beings.
Here I wish to clarify a point: To be a material being is not to be less than a spiritual being. Although I seem to have become a dualist, I do not share the conviction held by so many dualists that the body is somehow lesser than the soul. On the contrary, the physical world is Holy and Sacred. However, I also believe that despite the incredible odds in our favor this world has to offer, by and large the evolution of humankind and the course of daily events is determined by chance and adaptation. We did not evolve souls.
And so, in the end, I have come to agree somewhat with the Catholic theologians, who hold that the soul is infused into the human body. They believe it occurs at conception, whereas I have yet to make up my mind on this point. Still, I cannot see where or how the soul has any operation in the life of humanity. Our art, our goodness, our evilness, all come from our physical natures-- as does our mortality. All good things and bad may be found in the world and in us, as is.
Yet I believe we have an immortal nature, granted as a free gift (Grace) from a spiritual realm. We have been given this soul, this immortal and enlightened nature by beings of incomprehensible love and beauty and goodness for no other reason than that they love us. Why this should be, I do not know. What I do know is that this belief makes me a dualist, a neo-Manichaean, and though I have often struggled against such a philosophy, I now find myself in the position of accepting it by necessicity.
There is no solution to the Problem of Evil. The world, corrupt but good, is dictated by a blind king, if at all, and the universe seems quite impartial. Now, it seems likely to me that the aforementioned Being(s?) have influenced its development to favor our existence, which is why we find ourselves in such a unique and verdant garden among gardens on Earth. In this brief window when life was possible, it occured, and that is a true miracle. There was no fall, for there was no original paradise; the only true paradise is the one that our spiritual natures will lead us towards.