Developing A Universal Religion/Introduction to Part Four
Before we begin we should clarify the distinction between a “meta-purpose” and the “universal purpose” we have been seeking to guide our collective morality.
Part Three, Purpose, sought evidence that the behaviour of the universe or life might be directed toward achieving some kind of purpose. It found none. It then suggested that (and proposed a reason why) life might continue evolving until it became an omnipotent being (but emphasized that there is no proof that this must occur).
Since the universe behaves rationally, life’s survival depends upon behaving rationally also. Sentient beings, able to plan ahead before acting, behave rationally when they pre-determine a purpose and make decisions that, when acted upon, help to achieve the chosen purpose. We might decide that “supporting life’s journey to become omnipotent” is a worthy goal, and we could make it our “meta-purpose” to guide moral decision making. However, this is too loose a statement for many practical purposes. While it might convey some emotional desires or feelings, it is not precise enough.
A statement intended to guide the moral (and therefore physical) behaviour of an entire civilization must be able to withstand all manner of challenges—legalistic, moralistic, religious, economic, and many more. “Helping life to become oB” will never survive a rational attack; a more robust definition of humanity’s goal is required. A clearly defined “universal purpose,” possibly based upon the desire to help life evolve to become oB, could turn wishful conjecture into practical precision. Moreover, if a “universal purpose” were to be derived from the concept of assisting life to become oB, then a potentially dry legal document might come to life—the vision empowering the definition.
How a universal purpose might be defined is touched upon in the Multi-year Targets; it is difficult task but not one we need dwell upon. The question, “why bother to do anything?” is a much more important topic and must be addressed. Why should anyone go to the trouble of contemplating the precise wording of a universal purpose?
Why Bother? suggests some philosophical reasons why the effort should be made while Possible Applications offers some practical ones. Hopefully one or more of the thoughts expressed in those chapters convince at least a few readers that the undertaking would be well worth while.
Determining Moral Behaviours delves into the nitty gritty of a possible new morality. Assuming a universal purpose based upon the premise of oB was crafted, just what behaviours would it support, and what might it forbid? Superior minds will hopefully someday undertake the task of developing a rational morality, one that might better guide us in solving the extraordinarily complex issues we face today and will surely encounter tomorrow.
In eras past, religions took generations to develop, with emotions playing a large part. Nowadays a sound religion might be rationally grown in a decade or two, via electronic communications. This book's emphasis is upon the need to develop a universal religion, and where one might look, not upon actually doing so. Nevertheless, it seems appropriate to outline how such a fantasy might someday become a reality in A Universal Religion.