Spirituality is not defined by religion, but religion by spirituality.
Is There a God?
Regardless of one's particular creed or doctrinal persuasion, the existence of God is the principal, as well as paramount, element providing both the incontrovertible foundation and the imperative infrastructure of spirituality. So, before we dive into our analysis of spirituality it would be most sagacious to perform an articulate, analytical investigation concerning the existence of God. For if God does not exist, axiological philosophy replaces spirituality as the supreme body of knowledge with definitive authority to provide elucidation, direction, and guidance concerning human existence, perception, conviction, and behavior.
Perhaps we should begin by defining "God." Our definition should simply consist of the inherent, essential, characteristic attributes that would accompany the appellation: "God," and should not yet consider the identity, personality, or will of the One. It should be axiomatic, purely derived using the laws of valid inference and demonstration, and free of excessive assumptions and extensive extrapolations. It is clear that anything constructed can be corrupted and anyone created can be destroyed. Therefore, "God," by definition, is the eternal, absolute, self-existent, transcendent first cause not subject to, but the author of, natural law. Inseparable, of course, from the defining essence of the One is the logical proof of the existence of such a being through the connection the One has with the universe we can measure and observe.
Simply stated, if something exists now, something exists necessarily. That is to say, something has always existed. For if there was ever a time when absolutely nothing existed, then absolutely nothing would exist now. As the ancient Latin scientific and philosophical expression goes, "Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit," "Out of Nothing, Nothing Comes." If nothing had the power of being, nothing would be.
Some say that the physical reality we all know is one massive illusion, that the sensed phenomena of our materialistic environment are mere holographic expressions of a spiritual reality. If this idea is accurate, it does not change our concept of the first cause, for, even if everything is an illusion those of us experiencing the illusion must exist. As Aurelius Augustinus (Saint Augustine of Hippo) realized and wrote of in Against the Academicians, doubt actually leads to certainty, at least of one thing: the existence of the one doubting. This philosophical notion was later popularized by Rene Descartes, who wrote of it in his Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Searching for Truth in the Sciences and Principles of Philosophy. The famous phrase Descartes used to express this proof of existence is "Je pense, donc je suis" (French); "Cogito, ergo sum" (Latin); "I think, therefore I am" (English).
Others say that which exists presently is self created. This may sound profound, yet a second glance will demonstrate that this idea violates the law of contradiction and is absent of any logic or rational deduction. According to this notion, the substance must be and not be at the same time and in the same relationship, which is clearly an inane contradiction. Additionally, an element, item, or being can not perform an action (such as creation of itself) if it does not exist; one cannot do before one is. If you follow a proposed sequential evolutionary development of life from non-life, such as in Darwin's "descent with modification," back to the "Big Bang" theory for the origin of the universe, back even further to the proposed "first" tiny ball of hot, dense energy/matter that astrophysicists call a "singularity," one must ask where this dime-sized ball of matter came from and how could it form the universe? It did not create itself when it was in a state of non-existence. Proponents of the theory say that this ball of matter was neatly compacted by a process called vacuum fluctuation, which involves violations of the law of conservation of energy and "virtual" particles. The process and existence of these particles is entirely theoretical (not based on measurements or observations of any kind) and they admit that such particles cannot be detected under any circumstances. The questions concerning the origin of the first matter and energy remain unanswered by this theory. Where did the energy come from that created these vacuums? Where did the minute particles of matter come from that this vacuum used to miraculously form a ball with just the right temperature, volume, density, pressure, and mass (according to the theoretical calculations the mass, density and pressure had to be virtually "infinite," as if that is easier to comprehend than the existence of God) that would explode to produce the magnificent planets we have today? The unfortunate truth: this is a poor, unfounded guess based on the blind assumption that a supreme, self-existent, first cause does not exist, and it will never be able to explain the existence of the first, most basic elements that could, with the use of a good imagination, be believed to be the starting materials for the universe as we know it. This is supposedly the clear, concrete, objective, scientific theory derived by the use of the scientific method, reason, and rationality. Yet, it requires more faith to believe than the existence of the self-existent first cause. However, faith is only a bridge to connect the observable known with the logically probable, which cannot be proven with sensory data. The "Big Bang" theory would ask you to believe that non-existent matter can create itself. This is not logical by any stretch of the imagination, much less probable. That is why all scientific, mathematical, and philosophical minds of the past and present (Pythagoras, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Nicolaus Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibniz, Galileo Galilei, René Descartes, Robert Boyle, Gregor Medel, William Thomson Kelvin, Michael Faraday, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Antony Flew, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and countless others) say there is a God.
The final generally accepted theory concerning the nature of the universe states that it is eternal and has the power of being in and of itself. The concept of eternal, self-existence breaks no laws of logic or deductive or inferential reasoning. However, it is clearly a violation of many laws of chemistry and physics to use the term "universe," as it is generally defined, in this theory. For, any and every given material within the universe is mutable (can be changed: corrupted, generated, decayed, etc.). It is everywhere apparent that it is easier to tear down than to build up. When presented with this reality, proponents of this theory will say something like, "What we really mean is that there is some underlying, indivisible substratum, some invisible, intangible energy that is the center of all being that can be neither created nor destroyed. This accounts for all other mutable materials within the universe. This is the point where I say, in other words, God. Those with a blind, stubborn, resistance to the idea of God say, "No, this does not have to be some transcendent, omnipotent God up high above the universe. We don't have to go beyond the universe; we can look within the universe for the eternal source of all." At this point it is merely an accurate and complete understanding of the concept and definition of transcendence that separates those who believe in God from those who do not. The transcendence of God is not a geographical description (we are not drawing a map to God's address), it is an ontological distinction. Simply stated, ontology is the science of being, according to which, we classify the hierarchy of beings. For example, a rat is a lower order of being than a human being, and a supernatural being would be a higher order of being than a human being. So to say one being transcends another is simply to say it is a higher order of being than the other. Of course, the most philosophically supreme order of being is the one that is, in and of itself. So if they say that there is an invisible, indivisible, intangible energy that is the source and center of all being, can be neither created nor destroyed, and alone has the power of self existence, they have said there is a being that, by nature of existence, ontologically transcends everything else in the universe and alone has necessary being...they have said God exists and has created everything else that exists.
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