To the scientific community, religion is a mystery that should not exist. The greatest mystery is the God problem. There must be some kind of scientific explanation to account for why people believe in God.
Since the Enlightenment, secular scientists have held that God is an imaginary being, created by weak people who need psychological support to deal with the stress of life. However, this weak thesis falls apart in the face of so many religious people (including famous Catholic scientists) who have strong personalities and experience no problems adjusting to life.
Solving the Mystery of God
Nevertheless, this very unscientific myth never seems to die. A reincarnation of this opinion can be found in a recent University of Michigan study. The team of researchers concluded that “friending” God can restore purpose in life for those who are lonely or anti-social. Once again, it seems the mystery of God is solved.
The study is the result of surveys from three separate studies, in which 19,775 people discuss their purpose in life, loneliness, friendships and religious beliefs. The study team found that those who lack purpose and friends see God as a means to fill the void in their lives.
“For the socially disconnected, God may serve as a substitutive relationship that compensates for some of the purpose that human relationships would normally provide,” lead author Todd Chan explained in a university release.
The new study builds upon prior research that concluded that socially disconnected people will often project human-like qualities upon pets, imaginary beings and God. However, the study warns that trust in God in no way compensates for being socially connected with real people.
“These results certainly do not suggest that people can or should rely on God over people for purpose,” adds co-author Oscar Ybarra. “Quality human connections still remain a primary and enduring source of purpose in life.”
In other words, believers are simple-minded misfits who cannot integrate themselves into modern society. God may be “friended” as if on Facebook, but such a link is a poor substitute for being part of the fashionable crowd.
Pitying Secular Scientists
Such scientists are to be pitied. The first reason is that they are not real scientists. Their premises are biased against the existence of God. Theirs is a depressing materialistic outlook that, if taken to its final consequences, strips purpose from life and creation.
These scientists have blinded themselves to the existence of a spiritual world. Instead, they try to project their materialistic premises upon a spiritual realm. This also is unscientific. Real scientists need to apply the right criteria and methods to the circumstances. They also need to be aware of all possible causes—even those outside their field of competence.
This spiritual world has never been the product of the imaginings of weak individuals. Ancient philosophers taught long ago that man is a composite being made up of body and soul. It has long been held that man has a spiritual side that is superior to the material. This superior side of man’s nature is recognized as that which makes every man unique and gives him dignity.
This spiritual side gives rise to political, social, cultural, and religious activities and sciences that tower above the physical and exact sciences of these scientists. Indeed, they satisfy the innate need for the good, true and beautiful and ultimately prepare the way for eternal salvation.
Without this spiritual side, man is reduced to matter, chemical reactions, evolutionary meanderings and algorithms. Indeed, some postmodern scientists have affirmed this as the logical consequence of a world without the soul. No person, however socially active, will find purpose in a life thus conceived.
Getting It All Backward
The most tragic aspect of these scientists is that they have it all backward.
They try to make God the creation of human imaginings when it is the other way around. Man is the creation of an unimaginably magnificent God.
They imagine the fickle affections of others to be the highest social achievement. They cannot imagine the affections of a God (who defines Himself as Charity) that unites himself to the faithful in prayer and the Holy Eucharist.
Scientists try to explain backward that which is already known. In times of great trials, including the breakdown of relationships, people have recourse to God. However, this is not to compensate for lost love, but to ask for a superior aid that human relationships cannot provide.
God answers prayers and showers blessings upon those who call upon Him. The testimony of countless faithful Christians is evidence of real benefits and even miracles received. All of this is documented should these scientists wish to see it.
A society centered on God will radiate Christian charity and improve relationships for all. Modern society is a dog-eat-dog world of clashing self-interests.
Those who truly love God are commanded to love their neighbors as themselves. The Church is the source of vibrant community, not a collection of socially challenged misfits.
Discovering the Real Purpose of Life
Scientists need to understand that the soul is made for God and will never find rest and happiness outside of Him. As social beings, people need others to help them in their quest for sanctification. However, they are just the means to a much higher end, God. The purpose of life cannot be social fulfillment in a life that is so fleeting.
The purpose of life is to know, love and serve God in this life and to be happy with Him in the next. Anything less will only lead to unhappiness.
Scientists studying the purpose of life might start by seeing the role of science as a means to help others understand better God’s creation. Their purpose should not be that of creating a God that validates their unscientific myths.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.