Too often we in the post-modern era are held in thrall by tales of "soul-searching" and "finding oneself" in the world. We cheer and applaud and sing the praises of those men and women who advocate a "free" society bereft of the "bigotry" and "ignorance" of religion or morals. We are advised to fulfill our own desires and ambitions above all else, and that our lives cannot be judged against an overarching standard because everything is "relative."
To my mind, this is complete and utter nonsense: at best a post-modern naivete and at worst a demonic heresy. I can say from my own experience that the soul-searching is only half the journey; indeed, it is the preliminary step toward a larger Reality. The other half of the journey is the discovery not of oneself, but of that Higher Reality, that Objective Truth, of the Pantokrator and His Will. The sad part is that most people only get to the halfway point and then, exhausted and world-weary, they collapse and waste away at the crossroads. They never fully discover themselves because they never fully discover God. It is in Him that we discover our purpose and our life's meaning. Our path is the one paved and laid for us by Him, because I cannot conceive of a God that would create all the Universe and Man and then mock us by toying with us for all eternity. The Path, however, is only laid for us: it is up to us to take it, much like Robert Frost's famous poem, "The Road Not Taken". It must be our choice to follow that path.
And what is on that Path? All the noblest virtues of man and divine. Love, Mercy, Honor, Duty, Justice, Charity, Joy, Consolation, Freedom...these are to be found in God. Many modern philosophers object to this, saying that God and Christianity only chain man down in his search for perfection. They forget that we were once perfect, before we sowed are own damnation.
And yet many still reject the need for Faith. I question their sanity: why is it so hard to believe? No proof, some say. Does the fact that there is a Universe, governed by Laws, irreducibly complex in both space and nature, not to mention time itself? Does not the fact that we have, every one of us, a distinct personality, soul, and body, show the depth of God's creation and creativity? Does the fact that, despite the necessity of evolution and progress, we still hold among our most cherished characteristics love, mercy, compassion, pity, and virtue? The much-lauded Theory of Evolution (which I distinguish from the Fact of Adaptation) would say that it is inevitable that we shed these antiquated and obsolete structures and mindsets to further our own perfection, and yet, after millions of years of "evolution" we still retain them.
I cannot, even to this day, conceive why someone would not want to live within God's love and promise, fulfilled in the Incarnate Christ. Here's my question to those who search for meaning in their lives: do they know God as I and millions of others know Him? Do they ponder the Higher Virtues and seek to live a life that is good, clean, and decent? Why do they revel in their sin?
It is because they have never truly known Him. And thus the only alternative (for them) is to live in the temporal world, which is distinct from the eternal world, as Paul points out in 2nd Corinthians. But they deceive themselves: there is no alternative to God, save damnation. Without God, there would only be damnation. God IS the alternative: He is the way to escape, to rescue, to life. Paul writes that if Jesus died to raise the dead, then we must all have been dead before.
I plead with those who deny God's love: do not make that mistake. Do not! I have been there: for nearly four years of my life I was governed not by God and His undying love but by my own darkness: hate, rage, bitterness, and an inconsolable sorrow that made my life hollow. What a shock, what a horror, it was for me to realize my own damnation! Without God, I was the Hollow Man: soulless, lifeless, unfulfilled by the answers of this age, and all by my own hand! I chose the darkness, and it took the realization of utter Hell to snap me out of it. It wasn't just Hell, though: it was the reintroduction of the Light into my life. I thank God every day for bringing me out of my Cocytus and into the Empyrean Glory. But God cannot forcefully put you back on the Path: it must be your choice, and the Deceiver knows this, too. Honestly, what need does the Devil have for demon legions, when all he has to do is manipulate the human heart into choosing its own annihilation? The modern argument against God is the embodiment of such.