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Philosophy

Open Mindedness

I just saw this today on Unreasonable Faith and wanted to pass it on. The video is very well done. I can think of at least a few people in my own life who really should watch (and digest/understand) this.

Finding Life’s Meaning

Ocean Sunset“Nothing in this world has meaning without a life devoted to God.”

Variations of that phrase can be heard from Christians of all stripes. It’s a common statement frequently directed toward atheists, letting them know in no uncertain terms that their lives cannot be truly meaningful without religion… without faith… without God.

After hearing that point (far too often), I began to wonder just what “meaning” religion brings to the table. For simplicity, I’ll refer to Christianity in particular, but other faiths probably have similar concepts.

I think a distinction needs to be made between the meaning of life and meaning in life… why we exist versus what we do with our existence. Christians make claims with respect to both issues (though generally the same claims for each). I do not.

So what is the meaning of life for Christians? What meaning is there in life for them? Here’s a small sampling from various sources.

You were put on this earth for one, and only one, reason, and that is so that you can have a living relationship with God. Every other reason is meaningless. This relationship with God is the Meaning of Life.
SeekersTrove.com

Rather, real meaning in life is when one begins to follow Christ as His disciple, learning of Him, spending time with Him in His Word, the Bible, communing with Him in prayer, and in walking with Him in obedience to His commands.
GotQuestions.org

What is the real purpose of life? “Fear God and keep His commands.”
Our main concern in life must be to work in God’s kingdom and have a right relationship with Him.
The Gospel Way

So, this is what man is here for, to serve and worship an Almighty God for a few short years in order to obtain a life forever and forever in glory with Him. It is the duty of man, it is the meaning of our life.
Joel Hendon on SearchWarp.com

[The meaning of life] is to love God by choosing to have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
All About Worldview

Some other passages attempted explanations for why God actually created humans (the meaning of life), but they were usually either weak (he wanted to have man serve him) or vague and circuitous (because of events regarding Lucifer and the “Angelic Conflict”).

What I get from all those quotes (and from many others that I didn’t include) is that what gives life meaning for Christians is serving and worshipping God… and in one case, fearing him. It seems that, without subjugating yourself to God, life is pointless.

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Vague God

The definition of “God” is something that I’ve seen debated and discussed quite a bit. There’s the Biblical god (both Old and New Testament versions), the deist god, nature’s god, and scores of others. They range from strict “holy text” depictions to vague and nebulous “universal energy” concepts. Christians of most stripes usually go for the Biblical depiction, though I’m sure there are exceptions.

I came across an editorial by Lisa Earle McLeod titled The Vague God of Your Understanding Is Good Enough and was intrigued… somewhat. Summarized, her premise seems to be that even though people wait too long to ask for divine help, hard times bring people to their knees to pray, and even though you might not have a great grasp on what “God” is, whatever you understand it to be is good enough.

That’s meant in a good way and her tone comes across as such. I read it as something very searching and very humble… in that your search for the divine is very personal. I like her tone and can actually relate to some of her examples, but as I’ve become more and more educated about religion and the supernatural, there are some things to which I take exception.

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The Meaning of Life

One question (or statement, depending on who’s speaking) I come across on occasion is how life can have any real meaning if I don’t believe in a divine creator. In other words, there’s a claim that if you don’t devote your life to serving “God,” your life can’t possibly be meaningful.

I was pondering posting my thoughts on this when I found the following post by Alonzo Fyfe of The Atheist Ethicist and thought I’d put off posting my own thoughts for now and share Alonzo’s wonderful metaphor. It gently and gracefully addresses the issue and shows a great difference between “meaning via religion” and  meaning via life.”

Here’s the link: The Meaning of Life

Enjoy!