Quite some years ago, whilst studying at university, I had an interesting exchange with a member of the ‘Stop the War’ coalition. After informing me in-depth of all the atrocities and daily fatalities in the Middle East, I questioned him about the after life. “What do you think happens after death?” He was taken aback by the question, and after quite some thought he replied that man was simply a complex biological machine that decomposed back into the earth after death.
If there is nothing but physical machines and biological matter then who is to say what is right or wrong? Even more worrying, who would really care to follow what was right or wrong? If everything is matter, then nothing (in the ultimate sense) really matters! I doubt whether such mechanistic worlviews help to solve the world's problems. Needless to say, all of this conflicts with our natural feelings and intuitions in life. There are morals, there are good acts to perform, and conscious beings are definitely more than just chemicals. Thus, discussions about a moral framework within which human beings interact, must necessarily take account of metaphysical realities – the spiritual dimension of life.
For something to be good, it means the consequences must be good. And to know all the consequences, one must have basic knowledge of the identity and purpose of living beings. Wisdom traditions across the world from East to West, explain fundamental aspects about the individual, God, and the universe around us. Without reference to such higher dimensional truths, moral relativism will reign supreme, and peace, harmony and genuine respect in society will remain elusive.