Let us begin, as we humans are wont to do in this world, with an assumption: that the universe was created by a creator (hereafter called God). Let us further assume that, by the grace of God, you have arrived at this point in time a mature person of reasonable intelligence, inquiring mind and critical disposition. Your detractors (if any) may call that a bit of a stretch, but what do they know? In any case, let us not quibble.

Whether you’ve had a secular upbringing or been religiously programmed, you have become increasingly aware of your own mortality as you’ve matured. If you’re a Christian, may your faith see you through; there is nothing to be gained by reading on. Otherwise, your answer-seeking has led you to look into the doctrinal and immortality beliefs of various religions, and to have been struck by the multitude of contradictory differences. Whose truth is true?

You sense that there is something surreal about this blind-leading-the-blind way of resolving life-and-death questions. Rather than finding the comfort you were (understandably) seeking, you’ve ended up discomforted….perhaps even wishing that you were a more simplistic soul untroubled by (or oblivious of) inconsistencies and contradictions.

From an amoral standpoint, the universe is awesome beyond belief. Elaboration of the point would belabor the obvious, so elaboration will not be attempted. In any case, it is the moral aspect of creation that cries out for answers. How can wrong be right? You know the usual suspects: disease, suffering, ignorance, injustice – particularly as these afflict the innocent and the helpless.

Religions may attempt explanations and preach or demand faith, but you know deep down that faith is a hollow substitute for treating another being as you would want that being to treat you if roles were reversed. The Golden Rule seems to apply to us, but not to the creator of the usual suspects. That is the surreal reality of this life. If there is a next life worth living, it is impossible to see how this remains unresolved.