To seek to live in the light is essentially a value, a principle of living, rather than a belief. We need no theology, nor even a particular conception of “the light” as a distinct quality, in order to seek to live by it.
Perhaps it would help me to clarify my point, if I described my own quirky, incomplete, and mostly psychological sense of where “the light” comes from
Human beings, like many creatures, need one another. We are born with a deep need to be held, to be cared for, to be paid attention to. If we are fortunate, our parents fulfill these needs as best they can. In the beginning we are pure need, pure hunger, with no sense or expectation that we have to return anything to those who care for us. At some point we express our delight at being cared for, we smile, and those who care for us return the expression. What a breathtaking experience for a parent, to see our child’s delight expressed for the first time, in seeing our faces!
So we respond, we redouble our efforts in hopes of seeing that smile again, and again. Over time, the child notices: there is a connection between expressing love, and receiving love. A powerful bond is forged between the purely natural human need to be loved, and the initially unformed potential to give love.
This potential emerges naturally out of the experience of being human, but it is not invulnerable. If we are neglected, beaten, humiliated, or otherwise cared for poorly, the potential is likely to be suppressed. Also, while the potential is universal, it is by no means equally distributed among humans at birth. A relative handful of us are born with an especially powerful potential for loving that can survive almost any abuse; a small number are born with sociopathic tendencies in which the potential for loving is deeply buried. (Research shows that some sociopaths are made, and others are born, though it is no easy matter to tell the difference.)
In terms of potential, where we fall along the continuum is a matter of pure genetic and environmental luck. The vast majority of us, I think, fall in the middle and can easily go either way, depending on how we are cared for in our formative years.
This is all just theory of course, and I cannot say beyond any doubt that there is no supernatural source. In fact, even if the theory holds, there still could be a supernatural/divine source. Though I personally see no need for such a source. In either case, this model of “the light” calls attention to a number of imperatives:
- We have no business judging anyone for their moral failings. There, but for the grace of…whatever…go I.
- When we love more and better, we help to create a world in which others love more and better.
- What we believe or profess to believe is of minor importance to increasing the light in the world. What matters is how we care for each other.