I've long thought that this is one of the most beautiful verses that wise King Solomon ever wrote. Pondering it tonight, I wondered if the world would at least grant us that it's a natural instinct -- that belief in an afterlife seems to be something that most people, in most cultures, have embraced over history.
So I did a little Internet investigation. No surprise, I came across a lot of atheist bilge about weak-minded people inventing God to soothe their fears about death.
But then I stumbled across a CNN report from 2011 -- a report entitled "Religious belief is human nature, huge new study claims."
The subject of this very sketchy article was a three-year Oxford University study which concluded that a belief in purpose and afterlife is pretty much universal. And apparently this wasn't the first time such researchers have come to this conclusion: "Studies around the world came up with similar findings," the article reports, "including widespread belief in some kind of afterlife and an instinctive tendency to suggest that natural phenomena happen for a purpose."
This study did not attempt to prove or disprove God's existence, according to one of its co-directors.
No surprise there, either, but what a pity: A bunch of academics spend three years studying whether a belief in the afterlife is common ... yet apparently spend not a moment trying to determine whether such a belief is true.
Wouldn't it have been more profitable for everyone concerned if they'd searched for absolute truth rather than wasting their time on what is, at least to an unbeliever, absolute opinion?
I guarantee that any reasonably intelligent researcher -- one who was willing to follow the evidence wherever it led -- would discover the truth in far less than three years. And it would lead him or her directly to that narrow gate, with an eternally important decision to make.