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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Post #21

Post by Danmark »

Volbrigade wrote: [Replying to Danmark]
And finally, we may surmise that God foresaw that a "redeemed" creation, and humanity, would be even better than an originally perfect, unfilled one.
A thousand curses upon autocorrect! You have to really stay on top of it to keep it from turning the "meaning and purpose" ( ;) ) of your sentences to mush. Here's one that escaped my notice -- I'll try to remember to correct in the the original. It should be "unfallen".

Autocorrect has to be a liberal invention. It is a draconian solution which is worse than the problem it attempts to address; is uninvited, unwanted, and impossible to get rid of (I know there's a way to turn it off -- it's just not intuitive). My old laptop didn't have it -- just another of those "improvements" that nobody wants.
It certainly is not a "backdoor affirmation of God [you'll have to explain the basis of that claim]. The idea of a random interactions based initially on nothing more than the natural laws of physics and chemistry, is what we are left with when we remove the unfounded speculation of a god as a driving force.
Exactly.

So it goes like this:

There is no God. So the universe is a mindless product of a mindless cause, or causes.

Therefore, everything that has ever happened is mindless and random.

Except that mindlessness and randomness somehow produced mind and order and design and information.
First, for clarity, the quote:
And finally, we may surmise that God foresaw that a "redeemed" creation, and humanity, would be even better than an originally perfect, unfilled one.
is yours not mine.

There is nothing that suggests a natural process cannot produce something that we find purpose for, as well a beauty. I sheet of ice with boulders that gouges out land that becomes filled with water produces a beautiful lake. There is no reason to presume this could only have come from a conscious intent to make a lake. Much af the planet and more than 99% of the universe is unfit for sustained human habitation. That the small remaining portion provides a compatible setting for human existence does not imply purposeful creation.

There is no reason, and non has been demonstrated, a mindless evolution could not produce animals with brains large enough to create mind.

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Post #22

Post by Volbrigade »

[Replying to Danmark]

Sorry for the lack of clarity, Dan. This is my 348th post on this forum, spaced out over several years. Every one of them made in response has been an adventure in formatting. 8-)

A glacier carving a lake can be nothing other than a random event, in a random universe. If it proves useful to anyone, that usefulness is random. The percentages of habitable territory on a planet are random. The "evolution" of organisms is random (and impossible, in the fabled microbes-to-men sense); the acquisition of "mind" is random... and so on.

I see no reason to deny it, or try to. As I set forth in my 3 courses of action...

What difference does it make if it's all random? In a practical, pragmatic sense -- you still have to wake up, go to work, earn an income, pay your taxes, and decide what to watch on TV.

Whether there is meaning and purpose to any of that -- who cares? It'll all be over in a few decades, at most, any way -- far fewer if you're unlucky, or opt out.

But... there does SEEM to be a meaning and purpose to all of this, doesn't there?

It doesn't SEEM like it's all just the random interactions of matter, set in motion when Nothing exploded, or quanta vibrated, or fluctuated, or whatever is supposed to have happened...?

That's because it's not.

There IS a plan and purpose and meaning.

It's not a matter of finding it.

The entire universe is infused with it.

Not only are there no "random events":

There are no coincidences. Not in God's Kingdom.

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Post #23

Post by Danmark »

[Replying to post 22 by Volbrigade]

I don't see anything in the argument or in nature that indicates purpose. The fact that 99.9999% of the universe is hostile to life; the fact that more than 99% of species on Earth have gone extinct suggests there is no purpose, no intent in the formation of the universe.

There is a psychological tendency to read purpose into the universe, but no evidence for it.

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Post #24

Post by Bust Nak »

[Replying to post 20 by Volbrigade]

The following takes the exact form as the one you provided:

"There is a God, and he is required for the "un-random" nature of reality.

Therefore "our own thought processes and in the "un-random" nature of chemical bonds, etc. as well as the nature of evolutionary changes are the work of God.



Except it proves no such thing.

The initial premise is false.

There is no God. The universe is a mindless product of a mindless cause, or causes.

Therefore, everything that has ever happened is mindless and random.

And mindlessness and randomness produced mind and order and design and information.

Ergo -- there is no need for God.

Of course, we as individuals are free to choose either of those two conflicting realities. It is a matter of our own personal preference, what we want to believe.

But only atheist position is true.

That's why I want to believe it.

The only reason to believe the alternative is in order to believe in God, for one's own personal reasons -- such as the vanity to elevate their own generate personal subjective views on the meaning of life, to the level of objective facts."

Do you find the above argument convincing?

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Post #25

Post by Volbrigade »

[Replying to post 24 by Bust Nak]
There is a psychological tendency to read purpose into the universe, but no evidence for it.
Thank you, Dan, for confirming what I've been saying is the inescapable conclusion of atheism. It's perplexing how many avowed atheists will go to endless lengths to avoid that conclusion...

D. I. --

that is perhaps the most brilliant argument I have ever encountered.

Just reverse the initial premise to "There is a God"-- and no truer words were ever spoken.

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Post #26

Post by Divine Insight »

Volbrigade wrote: Not to mention that it is certainly no more "stupid", by any criteria or calculation, than the idea that the universe is the product of mindless and random events (and yes, events that are mindless and unguided are by definition "random". The protest that molecules linking up in a certain way is not "random" is merely an attempt to have one's cake and eat it, too. And, if thought through carefully, is a backdoor affirmation of God). And that molecules formed microbes accidentally, which increased in information -- importantly, by random processes -- to form everything else, including organisms capable of manufacturing a subjective meaning for their existence, when obviously there can be no objective one.

That sounds pretty "stupid" to me.
Of course it does. But that's a totally different kind of "stupid". All you are doing there is placing your subjective evaluation onto a mindless process calling a mindless process "stupid". But in truth there would be nothing stupid about a mindless process because it's not even conscious. Therefore nothing it does could be said to be "stupid".

It just does what it does.

Apparently what you are attempting to evaluate as "stupid" is not the process itself, but that you personally believe that people would need to be stupid to believe that a random process could evolve into order. But actually this has been verified to not only be possible, but to actually be the nature of the world in which we live. Therefore there is nothing "stupid" in understanding this to be the case.

If any stupidity could be associated with this scenario it would be associated with the unwillingness of those who don't understand how these processes can actually occur and taking the time to learn and understand them.
Volbrigade wrote: So:

The Biblical view.

The power that made the universe is timeless (eternal), all-powerful, and all-knowing. And good.

And also creative. He made creatures that exist in His direct presence -- angels;
And how do justify all these random hypotheses of yours? :-k

Didn't you just try to make a case that randomness can never lead to anything intelligent? Yet here you are tossing out a bunch of random hypotheses that have no basis in anything. You may as well have postulated that fairies created the world. Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster for that matter.

Thus far your "God hypothesis" doesn't have anymore backbone than a soggy noodle.
Volbrigade wrote: and he constructed a dimensional environment full of creatures that don't. Including us.

And to us he instilled characteristics that are similar to His: thought, mind, will, choice, and creativity --including the ability to procreate, which the angels do not have (though they have all of the others). And the ability to love.
More RANDOM hypotheses that have no basis in anything. May as well be proposing fairies thus far.
Volbrigade wrote: The dimensional environment created by God is framed by an indeterminate number of physical "rules" -- gravity, electro-magnetism, the strong and weak force -- which are measurable and detectable. Violating those rules has consequences. Walking off a high building leads to harm; violating rules at the subatomic level produces destructive explosions.

These rules were ordained by God, as part of making "the best of all possible worlds".
Are you certain it wasn't fairies who did this? :-k
Volbrigade wrote: Likewise, there are rules which govern the hyperdimensional aspects of existence -- what we refer to as the "spiritual". There are spiritual rules, or laws.

The Bible tells the story of man choosing to violate those spiritual laws, through his disobedience to God. It is the spiritual equivalence of choosing to walk off a roof, or splitting an atom.

There are consequences.
That's not the story at all. To the contrary it's a story about a jelaous God who basically flew off the handle and went on an immature temper tantrum cursing humans with all manner of violent acts.
Volbrigade wrote: Those consequences include spiritual and physical death. And a diminished environment that is "in bondage to decay".
Again, that's not the Biblical story. It was God himself who decided to take the tree of life away from Adam and Eve, it had nothing at all to do with any consequences of any rules. In fact, since the tree of life had already been placed in the Garden before Adam and Eve eaten the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and Eve, AND since Adam and Eve had already been told that they can eat freely from any tree in the garden save for the forbidden fruit, then Adam and Eve could have easily eaten from the tree of LIFE first, because they ate from the forbidden tree. Then they wouldn't have been able to die.

So clearly death was no a consequence of their action of eating from the forbidden tree. This was an evil curse placed on Adam and Eve intentionally.
Volbrigade wrote: And every man has joined in this disobedience, or rebellion against God, by inheritance -- the first man (Adam) being the federal head of the human race. Which at first blush seems unfair, but just wait...
More RANDOM unsubstantiated hypotheses on your part.
Volbrigade wrote: Of course God, being all-knowing and outside of time, was not taken by surprise by Adam's rebellion. And he had a plan in place from before creation -- "before the foundation of the world".

And the Bible tell the story of that plan's unfolding.
This is absolutely false. The Bible tells that this God was totally sorry that he had created mankind at the time of the Great Flood in the days of Noah. There is no way that the God portrayed in the Bible had a clue how things were going to turn out. For if he had a clue then he would have rejoiced at the time of the Great Flood because that would mean that everything was going exactly as he had planned.

So, once again, the Bible doesn't support your claims. The Biblical God had no clue that things were going to get that bad. For the Bible tells us so.
Volbrigade wrote: It's a doozy of a tale, full of drama and action and intrigue and violence and power and glory and love -- all the aspects of the human condition, good and bad.
And all the extreme self-contradictions that give it away as being clearly nothing but pure fiction. ;)

The reason it's full of "Human Drama" is because "Humans" wrote it. Have you ever thought about that? :-k
Volbrigade wrote: And it's all historically accurate and scientifically verifiable. Well, most of it. Except the miracle parts. But those are explainable as the intervention of the transcendent "metacosm" upon the dimensionally limited macro/micro-cosm.
This is simply false. Science has verified without a doubt that no global flood that killed off all of humanity after humans had started being cities could possibly have occurred. We actually have overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

So for you to claim that this is all scientifically accurate and verifiable is simply untrue. It's bad information and does not reflect the truth of scientific knowledge.
Volbrigade wrote: And its climax involves the Creator God Himself, the infinite power and glory, emptying Himself of that glory to become one of his creatures, puny man.

And paying the price for man's rebellion, by undergoing the death due him for "walking off the roof". A price only He could pay.

It is an act of limitless, infinite love; the sacrifice of one man for another.
And you claim that this is what God had planned from the very beginning?

If that's the case, then Adam and Eve had no choice but to fall from grace, because if they hadn't done then this God's plan would have never been able to work. :roll:

Not only that, but do you have any clue just how GREAT the Pharisees, the Romans, Pontius Pilate, and even Judas would have played in this game if this was "God's Plan"?

They would all be heroes! They would have done precisely what God need them to do to play out his ignorant deceitful drama play. How could he complete his mission to be crucified on a pole if humans don't do precisely what he needs to be done?

This whole idea that the Crucifixion was "God's Plan" makes absolutely no sense at all. If this was "God's Plan" then everyone who contributed to is was doing precisely what God required of them. There could be NO VILLAINS in this drama if this God is the one who wrote the play! At least, no real villains. All the villains in this play would be nothing more than actors (or puppets on a string) doing God's bidding.
Volbrigade wrote: Only, in this case, it is the sacrifice of one man for all men-- Jesus being the infinite God, in the form of a man. "He, being infinite, suffered in a finite amount of time what we, being finite, would have suffered for eternity."

Because "as sin entered through one man; so salvation (redemption) is through one man."

Do you see the utter, infinite beauty of it?
Nope, sorry. It's the stupidest play ever written, and this is especially true if it was written by the creator God himself. :roll:
Volbrigade wrote: With the result that now man is restored to a sinless relationship with God; and able to fulfill the meaning and purpose for which he was created, which is to be an eternal creature in God's image.
Since when do two wrongs make a right anyway? How would God dying for the sins of man restore man to being in a "sinless relationship" with God. God dying isn't going to automatically make men sinless. In fact, men haven't been sinless since this event in any case. So there you go. It can't possibly be true because if God had died for the sin of man some 2000 years ago, then there wouldn't have been any sin since that time.

Sorry, this fable doesn't pan out at all.
Volbrigade wrote: Now -- someone is no doubt asking the age old "why" question.

Why would God go to so much trouble, and create such strange conditions for man's redemption? Why not simply make a creature that is incapable of disobedience and rebellion?
That would never be my question.

My question is why wouldn't this God have simply mentored his creations one-on-one from day one? And if any of them are incapable of learning he could HEAL them so that they are capable of learning.

And if he can't HEAL them, then he's clearly not omnipotent, and he's an inept creator who has serious problems.
Volbrigade wrote: I trust, though, that no who is of the opinion that "to live and be alive" is the meaning of life is asking those questions. Because nothing I've written counters anything to do with that. You "live and are alive" whether you are a sinner or not; whether you are aware of it or not.

We must assume, since God is good, that there was no better way to construct a world, in which exists a creature capable of choice -- of willingly choosing whether to obey; and willingly choosing to love. We can also assume that God created a great many creatures incapable of making that choice. And many of them are glorious to behold, even in their diminished ("fallen") condition.

And finally, we may surmise that God foresaw that a "redeemed" creation, and humanity, would be even better than an originally perfect, unfilled one.

For instance, the latter may have had no need for courage, patience, persistence, selflessness, self-sacrifice, self-control -- or faith.

Now all of that may be stupid, to you.
Yep, stupid, unnecessary, and only follows from your totally RANDOM demands that this God couldn't do it any other way. That would be a pretty limited God right there already.

So all you've done in an attempt to save Biblical Mythology is to demand that the creator of the universe is quite limited and inept.

Volbrigade wrote: If so --

you must satisfy yourself with the other stupid alternative, as mentioned above.

8-)
A purely accidental random universe does indeed make far more sense. :D

And it doesn't require an inept God who plans out drama plays where the villains in the play are paramount to the success of his play.
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Post #27

Post by Divine Insight »

[Replying to post 25 by Volbrigade]

Volbrigade,

You don't seem to realize that if the Crucifixion of Christ was "God's Plan" in a drama that God had written before the beginning of time then the Pharisees, Pontius Pilate, the Roman Soliders who crucified Christ, and even Judas would all necessarily be in Heaven right now receiving their Oscar Awards for "Best Actors" in this play.

If the crucifixion of Christ was "God's Plan" then everyone who contributed to it would have been doing the Will of God precisely as God had hoped they would play out their roles.

In fact, if this was God's Plan, then surely all of these characters were nothing more than puppets on strings doing precisely the will of God.
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Post #28

Post by Volbrigade »

Volbrigade wrote: [Replying to post 24 by Bust Nak]
There is a psychological tendency to read purpose into the universe, but no evidence for it.
Thank you, Dan, for confirming what I've been saying is the inescapable conclusion of atheism. It's perplexing how many avowed atheists will go to endless lengths to avoid that conclusion...

D. I. --

that is perhaps the most brilliant argument I have ever encountered.

Just reverse the initial premise to "There is a God"-- and no truer words were ever spoken.

I apologize.

I mistakenly used "D. I." when I should have said "Bust Nak".

I see you have generated a lengthy response, D. I. I shall now peruse it..

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Post #29

Post by Volbrigade »

[Replying to post 27 by Divine Insight]

Okay. I glided through your first lengthy diatribe, and found nothing worth comment, other than your assigning the word "random" to my assertions.

Which is rather humorous and ironic, since so many avowed atheists undergo bags of pretzel logic to assert that "randomness" has generated design and order, meaning and purpose (albeit the last being purely personal and subjective, so...).

At any rate -- my assertions are only "random" if there is no God.

But of course, if there is no God -- then everything else is, too.

But if God does exist -- then they are mere accurate, and observational.

Which is the actual case.

Now -- your second message:

You are confusing foreknowledge with causation.

God gives us free will.

And He knows how we will use it. Because He is omniscient, and outside of time.

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Post #30

Post by Danmark »

Volbrigade wrote:
Danmark:
There is a psychological tendency to read purpose into the universe, but no evidence for it.
Thank you, Dan, for confirming what I've been saying is the inescapable conclusion of atheism.
Thank you Vol, for agreeing there is no evidence for finding 'purpose' in the universe.
And that is scarcely odd because, there isn't any.
Non theists look for truth, even if they might prefer to find something else.
Theists look for evidence of what is not there.

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