I was there, I saw him. He was coming towards me mechanically, impassively, coldly. He suddenly stopped in front of me and waited for me to speak. For a moment, I froze. He was tall, thin, his face oval and his eyes blue, slightly sunken under his eyelids. I had met such people before, but there was something special about him.
The cold, empty, fixed gaze, rarely blinking his 45 year old lashes, made it difficult for me to regain my words. In the end I spoke, gave him the information in a slightly jerky rhythm, still under the influence of the atmosphere created by his presence. He simply replied, “No, thank you!” He turned around and left, leaving me disappointed with the answer, but glad in a way that I was left alone, without him. I never knew his name, but he was one of Romania’s prisoners, convicted of several crimes, including the murder of a little girl…
Reasoning out loud behind the wheel of my car, I wondered: What lies behind that gaze that made this man able to do the things he did? Since I was alone, no one answered me, so I continued: what about those convicted of robbery, injury, blackmail, fraud, rape… why did they do these things?
Although we are reluctant to state it publicly, we each have a personal answer to this dilemma. Behavioural disorders, lack of education, family problems, one’s entourage—we choose one or more explanation, and conclude that we have found the cause.
Although most of these causes are known to specialists and identifiable in reality, I cannot forget the answer received from another prisoner when I asked him if he is afraid of repeat offending. In a calm but confident voice, and in a serious accent that conveyed conviction, he answered politely but firmly: “No, sir, never! Now I have a family, a little baby is waiting for me at home, I have meaning now!”
Is science still oblivious to the answer? Is it possible that we are looking for the origins of negative behavioural transformations in genetics, in the external environment (family, school, friends), and losing sight of the very essence of the problem? Perhaps the answer lies in the failure to identify and take on a goal strong enough to determine all thoughts, deeds, and actions to be organised around chosen moral principles.
The theory of the 1970s, which set the existence of an additional Y chromosome as the sure explanation for predominantly violent behaviour, was invalidated over time. Famous cases of brothers (even twins) who have benefited from the same education and circle of friends, but took totally different paths in life, force us to recognise that, beyond what is seen, beyond the external, palpable factors, there must be something else that drives deviance. And that something can make the difference between good and evil, and between life and death.
Theology, considered by many to be a field that was accepted at the table of science only out of courtesy, tells us simply that the identification, choice, and constant pursuit of ultimate purpose in life is the secret that strengthens and determines any choice made in the interest of both oneself and those around us.
Thus, we are urged to believe—but also to prove—that mastering the principle of divine love as the desire and meaning of life will give us wisdom and strength to manage any moment that comes where love is not served to us by our fellow man.
Moreover, the Bible shows us, in theory and in practice, how dozens of people who set out on a bad path in life, and even became condemned and stigmatised by society, eventually succeeded once they identified their ultimate purpose of life as Jesus Christ, to change and even to annul the one-way street they were heading down, and to go in a new, living direction—one that was full of Power and pure, true Meaning.
Addressing this topic, Christian author Ellen White presents the meaning of life as “the honour of God and the good of others.” In a sincere personal analysis, we can attest to the fact that we never find these two things separately in the reality of life. Thus, the one who truly loves his fellows has already lived the experience of identification with the Meaning of life, and the one who has acquired this Meaning truly pursues the good of his fellows.
That is why life without Christian morality doesn’t have a singular meaning, but thousands of confusing meanings.