The Meaning of Life

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Aldarron
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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #1

Post by Aldarron »

Volbrigade wrote:
......

Here's how I see it:

If God doesn't exist, then if your life is to have meaning, you have to manufacture it.

........

So.

Here are the courses of action available to you.

You can accept what I've just written; and that there is, and can be, no real meaning or purpose to life, and try to make the best of it -- it'll be over in a few decades anyway, what's the diff? Or you can make the "worst" of it, and become one of those sociopathic monsters whose only goal is to experience maximum pleasure -- or just maximum, period -- everything and everybody else be damned. Or just say "screw it", and put a pistol in your mouth --

Or you can become a mystic, and say "there is a meaning and purpose, we just don't know what or why or how it is (yet)..."

Or you can be so vague and sentimental and provincial in your outlook that you just sort of make up your own little "meaning and purpose", so to speak. But mainly, just try to stay busy enough that it's not an issue. Which is very easy to do. And, like the first choice -- it'll all be over in a few decades, anyway. And you begin to realize, as you accumulate them -- those decades start to fly, after the first 2 or 3... ;)

Choice #3 is a very prevalent, and popular one. So is choice #2. #1, I submit, is a little stark for most peoples's taste: and tends to produce either monsters or suicides.

Now, if I may, I would like to present an alternate view:

If Christianity is true, then the universe is the product of the creative act of an eternal, uncreated Mind-force and Intelligence, that is the wellspring of all existence.

That Mind-force -- known to the ancient Hebrews as YHWH, and to us as "God" -- exists outside of our time domain; is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; and expresses His infinite intelligence and artistry in the stunningly beautiful and orchestrated universe He invented -- including the biosphere of one privileged planet, which he fashioned as an environment for the one creature He made "in His image" -- the only creature that has free will. Man.

Since He is the Creator of our dimensional reality, He makes the rules. And if He says He is "good", then He's "good". And whatever He calls "good" is "good"; and what He calls "bad" is "bad". No matter what we think about those judgments.

We'd have a real problem then, if He called injustice and deceit and treachery and lying and murder "good"; and sex and ice cream and the love of a mother for her children "bad". Because then our Creator would be a cosmic fiend.

But He's not.

In fact, He demonstrated to us what "good" is, in terms we can understand, by becoming one of us, and living a life of perfect "goodness". A life that was recorded, and the account of which has spread to all nations, in all languages.

So we know He is "good".

And we know that He has gifted us with many "good" things. such as a measure of intelligence, in the "image" of the intelligence that He has. We have used that intelligence to produce science and technology.

And because of that, we now understand that we live in a limited, bounded, temporary dimensional environment -- which is precisely what God has been telling us in His message system to us, for 4000 years.

And we know, from that message system, that once we leave this 4D, temporal dimensionality, we can enter into His eternal one, which is unbounded spatially, and outside of time.

And that we will be adopted joint heirs with His Son, Jesus Christ, and share the same manner and mode and quality of existence that He has.

And while we don't know what that fully entails, from our side of the divide between the temporary and the eternal --

We know it's "good". Really, really good. Beyond our imagining good. Beyond ANYTHING we know of in this present world good.

Therefore, my friend -- the meaning and purpose in acquiring that mode of existence is an eternality of GOOD.

The meaning and purpose of existence in a godless, random universe is nothing.

It follows that the meaning and purpose that an infinite (Christian) life has, that a finite (atheist) one doesn't?

Is total.

It is EVERYTHING.

I believe that is the reality, and the choice, that each of us is faced with.
Every once in a while I see this sort of thing and I'm really baffled. Exactly where in the Bible or anywhere else does it say a persons life is supposed to have meaning?

Where's that commandment? Prior to western individualism and "snowflake syndrome", no one even thought to ask such a randomly silly question - silly because it elevates individualism to a cultic level of importance.

Take note that, as is often the case, the above question conflates purpose with meaning.

The purpose of any life is obvious, and that is to perpetuate itself; to create and raise children or to contribute to the raising of children, preferably with shared genetics.

Having children and perpetuating the species is a perfectly good purpose. I like life. Being alive is wonderful, and passing the gift of life to a child is a very fine purpose, it seems to me.

So purpose is covered, but what about the meaning of life? Well, meaning is entirely subjective by definition, and each must answer that according to their own dictates.

However, why is it all necessary to "feel" your life has meaning or "feel" it is important for the universe to care that a kiss is different from a kill. Why?

Where is it written that a personal meaning should matter, or be important?

Nobody needs validation from invisible spiritual forces for their own subjective experience of meaning, satisfaction, or morality in life. It is irrelevant and simply wrong to place some hyped up importance on "meaning" in life.

Certainly meaning and purpose can be individualized, but they are always nevertheless understood and experienced within the culture and society in which the person lives. There is no need or reason or sense in looking beyond our own culture and our own social circles to contextualize such things. Nor is their any reason to think it is particularly important for an individual to feel that their life is personally meaningful or to even care or worry about it at all.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #2

Post by Volbrigade »

Aldarron wrote:
Volbrigade wrote:
......

Here's how I see it:

If God doesn't exist, then if your life is to have meaning, you have to manufacture it.

........

So.

Here are the courses of action available to you.

You can accept what I've just written; and that there is, and can be, no real meaning or purpose to life, and try to make the best of it -- it'll be over in a few decades anyway, what's the diff? Or you can make the "worst" of it, and become one of those sociopathic monsters whose only goal is to experience maximum pleasure -- or just maximum, period -- everything and everybody else be damned. Or just say "screw it", and put a pistol in your mouth --

Or you can become a mystic, and say "there is a meaning and purpose, we just don't know what or why or how it is (yet)..."

Or you can be so vague and sentimental and provincial in your outlook that you just sort of make up your own little "meaning and purpose", so to speak. But mainly, just try to stay busy enough that it's not an issue. Which is very easy to do. And, like the first choice -- it'll all be over in a few decades, anyway. And you begin to realize, as you accumulate them -- those decades start to fly, after the first 2 or 3... ;)

Choice #3 is a very prevalent, and popular one. So is choice #2. #1, I submit, is a little stark for most peoples's taste: and tends to produce either monsters or suicides.

Now, if I may, I would like to present an alternate view:

If Christianity is true, then the universe is the product of the creative act of an eternal, uncreated Mind-force and Intelligence, that is the wellspring of all existence.

That Mind-force -- known to the ancient Hebrews as YHWH, and to us as "God" -- exists outside of our time domain; is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; and expresses His infinite intelligence and artistry in the stunningly beautiful and orchestrated universe He invented -- including the biosphere of one privileged planet, which he fashioned as an environment for the one creature He made "in His image" -- the only creature that has free will. Man.

Since He is the Creator of our dimensional reality, He makes the rules. And if He says He is "good", then He's "good". And whatever He calls "good" is "good"; and what He calls "bad" is "bad". No matter what we think about those judgments.

We'd have a real problem then, if He called injustice and deceit and treachery and lying and murder "good"; and sex and ice cream and the love of a mother for her children "bad". Because then our Creator would be a cosmic fiend.

But He's not.

In fact, He demonstrated to us what "good" is, in terms we can understand, by becoming one of us, and living a life of perfect "goodness". A life that was recorded, and the account of which has spread to all nations, in all languages.

So we know He is "good".

And we know that He has gifted us with many "good" things. such as a measure of intelligence, in the "image" of the intelligence that He has. We have used that intelligence to produce science and technology.

And because of that, we now understand that we live in a limited, bounded, temporary dimensional environment -- which is precisely what God has been telling us in His message system to us, for 4000 years.

And we know, from that message system, that once we leave this 4D, temporal dimensionality, we can enter into His eternal one, which is unbounded spatially, and outside of time.

And that we will be adopted joint heirs with His Son, Jesus Christ, and share the same manner and mode and quality of existence that He has.

And while we don't know what that fully entails, from our side of the divide between the temporary and the eternal --

We know it's "good". Really, really good. Beyond our imagining good. Beyond ANYTHING we know of in this present world good.

Therefore, my friend -- the meaning and purpose in acquiring that mode of existence is an eternality of GOOD.

The meaning and purpose of existence in a godless, random universe is nothing.

It follows that the meaning and purpose that an infinite (Christian) life has, that a finite (atheist) one doesn't?

Is total.

It is EVERYTHING.

I believe that is the reality, and the choice, that each of us is faced with.
Every once in a while I see this sort of thing and I'm really baffled. Exactly where in the Bible or anywhere else does it say a persons life is supposed to have meaning?

Where's that commandment? Prior to western individualism and "snowflake syndrome", no one even thought to ask such a randomly silly question - silly because it elevates individualism to a cultic level of importance.

Take note that, as is often the case, the above question conflates purpose with meaning.

The purpose of any life is obvious, and that is to perpetuate itself; to create and raise children or to contribute to the raising of children, preferably with shared genetics.

Having children and perpetuating the species is a perfectly good purpose. I like life. Being alive is wonderful, and passing the gift of life to a child is a very fine purpose, it seems to me.

So purpose is covered, but what about the meaning of life? Well, meaning is entirely subjective by definition, and each must answer that according to their own dictates.

However, why is it all necessary to "feel" your life has meaning or "feel" it is important for the universe to care that a kiss is different from a kill. Why?

Where is it written that a personal meaning should matter, or be important?

Nobody needs validation from invisible spiritual forces for their own subjective experience of meaning, satisfaction, or morality in life. It is irrelevant and simply wrong to place some hyped up importance on "meaning" in life.

Certainly meaning and purpose can be individualized, but they are always nevertheless understood and experienced within the culture and society in which the person lives. There is no need or reason or sense in looking beyond our own culture and our own social circles to contextualize such things. Nor is their any reason to think it is particularly important for an individual to feel that their life is personally meaningful or to even care or worry about it at all.
Well stated, Aldarron.

I will put you in the "choice #3" camp. With a little of #1 thrown in. Roughly -- "what difference does it make if there is 'meaning and purpose to life'? Get on with it!"

However, it seems to me you are taking a subjective approach to an objective proposition. The question is not so much whether your individual life has meaning and purpose. Or whether you think it does or doesn't.

The question is whether there is objective meaning and purpose to the cosmos we inhabit. The reality that we share.

If there is not -- then one's individual life cannot have meaning or purpose, despite the illusions we might manufacture that it does. Propagating the species, loving your children (real love cannot exist in such a cosmos, btw), and "enjoying life" can have no more "meaning and purpose" than not doing those same things.

But if the cosmos DOES have meaning and purpose; if it is imbued with those things by its Creator, of whom "the heavens declare His glory, and the earth shows His handiwork" and each of us is "wonderfully and fearfully wrought" --

then we really should be about the business of fulfilling that meaning and purpose, don't you think? In our individual lives; in our society and culture; in our time within this limited dimensional environment; and in our eternal mode of existence beyond it.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #3

Post by Divine Insight »

Volbrigade wrote: The question is whether there is objective meaning and purpose to the cosmos we inhabit. The reality that we share.
Either the universe has intrinsic value or it doesn't. Imagining the existence of a God would not change that one iota.

A God cannot give a universe meaning if the universe doesn't already have intrinsic value on its own.

In fact, in this case all you would be doing is "passing he buck" to an imagined God character and also imagining that the "Buck stops there". But why should the buck stop there? By your reasoning, then this God must also have a God above it to give it meaning. Otherwise it would itself be a meaningless God.

Invoking the idea of a God doesn't not loan meaning to anything.

The universe is either meaningful to you or it's not. For humans the universe is extremely meaningful, for without it they could not survive. So the universe is intrinsically meaningful to humans. There's no need to invoke any God.

In fact, this can easily be shown to be the case using a very simply philosophical mind experiment:

Imagine that there is God who created the universe and humans. Suddenly this God appears to us and says, "I have create you and this cosmos", but I am moving on now and I'm going to leave you all on your own. I will disappear from your world and never return. And then the God vanishes.

Would this change anything? Would a previously "meaningful" universe suddenly become "meaningless"?

Clearly not. The humans who have inherited this universe would still appreciate it every bit as much as they did prior to this God leaving.

Therefore the God itself does not give objective meaning to the universe. The universe is sufficiently meaningful all by itself.

The idea that a God is necessarily for something to have meaning is simply not true. It's a very flawed idea.
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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #4

Post by ttruscott »

Aldarron wrote: The purpose of any life is obvious, and that is to perpetuate itself; to create and raise children or to contribute to the raising of children, preferably with shared genetics.
Since the heavenly marriage is the end game for our creation it is obviously the purpose for our creation. Life on earth has no purpose except to cleans all of creation from evil so HIS purpose, our heavenly marriage with GOD, can happen...

Life cleanses evil by separating the good but sinful seed from the reprobate (counterfeit) tares in a two step process: 1. their repentance and re-birth with a restored free will and 2. their sanctification wherein their restored free will is trained in righteousness so it will never choose to sin again, though it is capable.

Once this separation is complete, the fully sanctified elect will stand with GOD and not against HIM as they first chose, having come to realize the judgement of the reprobate as a necessity by which decision they are free from the effects of the judgment as sinners no longer so the judgment of the banishment of the reprobate to the outer darkness will happen.

Jesus said that the good seed must live with the tares until they are mature and the harvest can begin. THIS is the purpose of life! and this parable is the key to understanding though it is the most glossed over.
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #5

Post by Divine Insight »

ttruscott wrote: Since the heavenly marriage is the end game for our creation it is obviously the purpose for our creation.
In that case, then heavenly marriage must be the thing that has objective meaning. :D

This must then be what gives meaning to God.
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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #6

Post by Danmark »

[Replying to post 1 by Aldarron]

What I have trouble understanding is the religious answer to "meaning of life" appears to be "to serve God" or "to worship God" or some similar phrase. This "meaning" simply defers the quest for meaning or purpose by assigning it to some mysterious entity outside the self. It isn't a description of meaning at all.

What we are left with is the choice to create our own meaning and purpose in life. By embracing a religion and claiming it provides meaning is to abandon the search for meaning entirely. Which is fine. There may infact be no overall purpose or meaning in life, outside of the meaning we wish to assign for ourselves. But using religion as a leaky patch over the question merely provides an illusion one has 'found' meaning.

To me, this seems inauthentic in the extreme.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #7

Post by Aldarron »

Volbrigade wrote:......
But if the cosmos DOES have meaning and purpose; if it is imbued with those things by its Creator, of whom "the heavens declare His glory, and the earth shows His handiwork" and each of us is "wonderfully and fearfully wrought" --

then we really should be about the business of fulfilling that meaning and purpose, don't you think? .....
Well, no. Robots are purpose built and programmed to serve according to the whims of the engineer. Personally, I'm not inclined to accept the paradigm that I must either be a robot, or a failure, or that making my own decisions in life instead of "following God's path" will only lead to suffering and misery.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #8

Post by Volbrigade »

[Replying to post 3 by Divine Insight]
The idea that a God is necessarily for something to have meaning is simply not true. It's a very flawed idea.
Hmmm.

I'm wondering how we could ascertain that it is a "flawed idea" unless the universe does indeed have meaning and purpose? So that we could therefore say with objectivity, based on a real standard, that a statement (or anything else) is, indeed, "flawed"?

So --

the bottom line is, the universe DOES have meaning and purpose.

On that we agree. Good.

Now, the REAL question is: where does that meaning a purpose come from? What is its source?

You say the universe has "intrinsic meaning":
The universe is either meaningful to you or it's not
. For humans the universe is extremely meaningful, for without it they could not survive. So the universe is intrinsically meaningful to humans. There's no need to invoke any God.
Hold on. Let's look at it.
The universe is either meaningful to you or it's not.
Okay. Agreed. What of it? "To you" --

that is not the issue. It could have meaning of which "you" are unaware. Or "you" could manufacture a non-existent meaning, where there is none.

But we've agreed that there IS meaning and purpose. So let's go about looking for objective truth in that regard, rather than subjective personal views.
For humans the universe is extremely meaningful, for without it they could not survive.
Not so fast.

In the first place, they don't survive. Not for long. Some longer than others, of course. But all cease "surviving" at a certain point. Some rather quickly. Many are destroyed in their mother's wombs. Not much "meaning or purpose" there.

In the second place, the universe is not "extremely meaningful" for a great many humans. For many, it is an abrasive, painful place, full of toil and abuse and exploitation and subjugation. For many others, it is just boring. Was it one of the Russians who wrote "if God exists, and this is the best He can do -- I respectfully return my ticket"?

Suicide has become so prevalent that for some, it appears to be part of a final sexual thrill -- a way of saying, in effect, "this is how much meaning the universe, and my life in it, has." A sort of "f. u." to that "meaningful" universe.

But, again -- let's not get sidetracked on personal opinions and views.
So the universe is intrinsically meaningful to humans.


No. Sorry. Actually, it isn't. And even for those for whom it IS meaningful -- they could be wrong in the meaning that they assign to it, could they not? "Flawed ideas"?
There's no need to invoke any God.
Well, no -- there IS a need to. A GREAT need to.

Because, as I've stated many times, if the universe is a mindless place, with a mindless cause; if all interactions of matter are mindless and unguided and random --

then there can be no meaning or purpose to it.

Not objectively. Personally, yes -- but the assignation of meaning and purpose to a universe, and an existence in it, that has none, is an avoidance of reality. A "flawed idea".

So -- if meaning and purpose are to be found in the universe -- and we agree that they are --

Then there has to a mind and intelligence and will to provide it.

Once we establish that, then we can begin to investigate the character, nature, and "properties", if you will, of that Mind.

And that investigation will aways lead -- if followed diligently and with an open mind, searching for truth -- to the God of the Bible, and His expression of infinite Love (which is the ultimate meaning and purpose -- the God in your hypothetical is thus disqualified as being unloving. A similar disqualification applies to Allah, Vishna, Krishna, and Zeus -- etc.) through Jesus Christ.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #9

Post by Volbrigade »

Aldarron wrote:
Volbrigade wrote:......
But if the cosmos DOES have meaning and purpose; if it is imbued with those things by its Creator, of whom "the heavens declare His glory, and the earth shows His handiwork" and each of us is "wonderfully and fearfully wrought" --

then we really should be about the business of fulfilling that meaning and purpose, don't you think? .....
Well, no. Robots are purpose built and programmed to serve according to the whims of the engineer. Personally, I'm not inclined to accept the paradigm that I must either be a robot, or a failure, or that making my own decisions in life instead of "following God's path" will only lead to suffering and misery.
Well, of course you're not a robot.

Because you have free will. Choice.

That is a gift of God. And is unique in all or the "physical universe" -- part of our being made "in His image".

I would advise you in regard to using that "choice" -- but, alas, that would be considered "preaching". 8-)

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #10

Post by Divine Insight »

Volbrigade wrote:
There's no need to invoke any God.
Well, no -- there IS a need to. A GREAT need to.
That's nothing more than your subjective opinion.
Volbrigade wrote: Because, as I've stated many times, if the universe is a mindless place, with a mindless cause; if all interactions of matter are mindless and unguided and random --

then there can be no meaning or purpose to it.
For one thing you've made a very common grave mistake here. You've erroneously equated "mindless interactions" with "unguided and random behavior" But we already know that the laws of physics require no mind to guide them. This universe is anything but random, yet it doesn't require a conscious mind to guide. That's that's your first error.
Volbrigade wrote: Not objectively. Personally, yes -- but the assignation of meaning and purpose to a universe, and an existence in it, that has none, is an avoidance of reality. A "flawed idea".
But you agree next that there has to be a mind and intelligence to provide meaning and purpose. And we already have that in human consciousness. Therefore we as humans can be the mind that gives subjective meaning and purpose to the universe.
Volbrigade wrote: So -- if meaning and purpose are to be found in the universe -- and we agree that they are --
I don't agree that it has to be objective in any absolute way. A mind within the universe will do just fine. I'm not obsessed with a need for "absolute meaning and purpose". In fact, that idea is absurd. That idea wouldn't even work for a God because the God itself would be what gives itself meaning. So you've got this circular thing going on even with a God. There is no escape from this. Even a God can only give meaning to itself.
Volbrigade wrote: Then there has to a mind and intelligence and will to provide it.
And we are that mind and intelligence. You mentioned earlier in your post that not all humans care about the universe and it's not meaningful to them. Well there goes you hopes and dreams for any absolute objective meaning and purpose anyway.
Volbrigade wrote: Once we establish that, then we can begin to investigate the character, nature, and "properties", if you will, of that Mind.
The human mind will do just fine. And we can hardly investigate the character, nature, or properties of any imagined God, because no one has ever seen this imagined God. Therefore there is nothing to investigate.
Volbrigade wrote: And that investigation will aways lead -- if followed diligently and with an open mind, searching for truth -- to the God of the Bible, and His expression of infinite Love (which is the ultimate meaning and purpose -- the God in your hypothetical is thus disqualified as being unloving. A similar disqualification applies to Allah, Vishna, Krishna, and Zeus -- etc.) through Jesus Christ.
The God of the Bible doesn't offer infinite love. Especially not Jesus Christ the fabled demigod Son of Yahweh. The Christ proclaimed that only few will make it into his heavenly paradise and the vast majority of souls that he (or his Father) created will be cast into everlasting punishment. That's anything BUT infinite love.

So if you are looking for infinite love you're not going to find it in the Bible, neither in the Yahweh of the Old Testament or the Jesus Christ of the New Testament. Neither of those characters exhibit infinite love.

In fact, the God of the Bible is obsessed with jealously. So much so that he has proclaimed that his very name is Jealous even though people tend to call him YVHV, or Yahweh, or Jehovah, etc.

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

The Bible reveals to us that the God character it worships is an extremely selfish, arrogant, misogynistic, jealous, and hateful God. Far from being infinitely loving.

In fact, the God of the Bible knows nothing of love. I love my pet cat more than the Biblical God loves anyone. I was just thinking about that earlier tonight actually. I was thinking that if God loves me even as much as I love my cat, I can be absolutely assured that I will be in for the greatest of treats when I die.

Because if I had the ability to do great things for my cat I would do them. Especially if I could talk to the cat and ask it what it would like. If it were within my abilities to give the cat what it likes I would do it.

But the God of the Bible continually creates new baby souls and places them into horrible situations and families on earth, often to be abused by their very own parents. The God of the Bible is extremely unloving. The God of the Bible doesn't even love humans as much as I love my pet cat.

If you are seeking a loving God, why on earth would you bother reading the Bible?

To even suggest that the Bible correctly describes "God" is to insult any "God" that might actually exist.

This would be like telling your earthy Father that you just read a book about Adolf Hitler and you think it sounds like it is describing your father. That would be a horrible insult to your father.

So to even suggest that the Bible describes a God is to insult any God that might actually exist. And Jesus Christ doesn't help. He's no better. He doesn't love humans as much as I love my cat evidently. I would never send my cat to everlasting punishment. And includes the days when the cat is in a mood running around doing bad things.

I still forgive it because I love it that much. ;)

I'm far more loving and forgiving than this Jesus Christ fellow.
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