Date of Birth: October 6, 1927
Date of Submission: January 30, 2018
Religious Affiliation: No answer
What is the meaning of life?
This is the fundamental question of Man, "Die Frage nach dem Sinn." (1) lch glaube, dass Tiere nicht diese Frage stellen koennen. (I believe animals cannot ask that question.)
Zuerst die Gegenfrage: (First of all the counter question:) Is there a meaning? — Some people say: "No, there is none." They will say: "Life on earth is an accident in the universe, life will flourish, develop and perish, perhaps by our fault, by the hatred and infinite stupidity of evildoers." (In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: "50, America, the atomic bomb you have to fear today is not merely that deadly weapon that can be dropped from an airplane, but that atomic bomb that lies in the hearts of men, capable of exploding into the most staggering hate and the most devastating selfishness.” (2) To this question, I, Paul Badura—Skoda, answer in the most affirmative way: "Yes, there i_s a meaning! Everything makes sense: the petals of a rose, the wings of a bee, a symphony by Mozart: prayers are heard, miracles do happen." [Even those who doubt the deeper meaning of life are looking for sense everywhere in daily life: "What is this for? Why did this happen? Why poverty, suffering? What is my duty?”
Meaning is a matter of faith. I believe that life has a meaning. Life is good, life as such is happiness. Life encompasses proliferation which is good but proliferation by necessity leads to limitation, to suffering, to death. These are evils we may reject or accept. I accept that unearned suffering may lead to redemption. As Martin Luther King put it: "I felt the power of God transforming the fatigue of despair into the buoyancy of hope. i am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship. Behind the harsh appearances of the world there is a benign power So in the truest sense of the word, God is a living God. in him there is feeling and will, responsive to the deepest yearnings of the human heart. This God both evokes and answers prayers.”
To this may I humbly add: Let us seek truth, beauty, love, especially love. By doing so, we shall find meaning, we shall find God.
(1) Victor E. Frankl: Der Mensch vor der Frage nach dem Sinn. Piper, Munich, 1985
(2) Martin Luther King Jr.: Paul’s Letter to American Christians. In Strength to Love.
Fortress Press, Minneapolis, p. 145-153
(3) Martin Luther King Jr. "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence” in Strength to Love.
Fortress Press Gift Edition 2010, Minneapolis. P. 163