The Meaning of Life (2)

24 09 2008

In the previous ‘Meaning of Life’ blog, I simply considered the logical outcomes of our starting place, or the presuppositions we have, or the world view we have. I suggested that, paradoxically, our outcome will be determined by our starting place.

I first really saw this when I was studying more recent church history and came across, in the late 19th century, what we now call liberal theologians who undermined the veracity or integrity of the Bible and left many thinking that there was no way that we could accept what was in it – it was completely unreliable. But then I looked more closely and observed that these men started out by disbelieving in anything supernatural – they were materialists, we would say today. Thus they said, you can’t believe so much of the Old Testament because it is full of ‘prophecies’, words that come in the wrong place in history, so they reshuffled the history of the Bible. They started out by believing that God couldn’t speak to us, and therefore prophecy (speaking about the future) couldn’t happen. When it came to the New Testament they wrote off all of Jesus’ miracles because ‘miracles can’t happen’. If you start from that standpoint then obviously you can’t have miracles, but if you start from a position where there is an all-powerful God who created this word (by whatever means) then obviously He can interact with it whenever He wants and even do things that appear to go against the normal flow of things. It all depends where you start from!

I have also seen this same principle working with various scientists who have actually said that it doesn’t matter how many holes there are in the theory of evolution, it has to be right because the alternative is unthinkable. What they mean is that belief in God, a God who either brought the world into being instantly OR over billions of years by guided evolution, is unacceptable. Now I find that slightly bizarre. Modern science, I am told, is about taking all the available evidence and producing theories from it, but when it comes to the incredible volume of evidence in history, in ancient documents, in human experience that point towards valid, credible, religious experience, our unbelieving scientists purposefully ignore all of that simply because it IS pertaining towards the religious. That is illogical and lacks intellectual integrity.

Now why am I writing about this? Simply because I so often come across people who start out with closed minds and who refuse to consider the evidence that might shake their ‘set-in-concrete’ presuppositions. That is sad! It is especially so, when such people are genuinely asking, what is the purpose of life? They may also be asking, what is evil? What is sad is the convoluted thinking that they go through to try to justify why ‘God doesn’t exist’. It is almost as if that, deep down, they KNOW He does, but they dare not accept that thought because of the implications that follow.

What are the implications for such a person? It is first that for so long they have ‘backed a wrong horse’! It is painful to have to acknowledge you have been wrong. Second, there is the realisation that if there really IS a God, the God of the Bible that I have referred to who is utterly good and full of love, and who has designed this world, then He must surely know better how I should live my life to get the best out of it – and we don’t like being told what to do. Thus for very bad reasons – emotional reasons, reasons of the will – we refuse to examine the evidence and we refuse to even work through the possible outcomes if there IS a God as described above.

I am incredibly grateful to those crusading atheists who plaintively but loudly shout their positions in modern media, for they have caused me and many others to check out and confirm our beliefs by freshly examining the evidence. I believe my faith is stronger today than it was three years ago, just because I have been challenged to examine what I believe and why, and have found it a viable belief. Even more than that, as I have studied the claims of those crusaders, I have found their arguments sadly wanting. They are the equivalent to Hans Anderson’s Emperor’s New Clothes, clothes that didn’t, in fact, exist, but were believed to exist by the gullible. We live in a very gullible world, and I am not referring to those of the Christian Faith! Check it out, come out from behind your barriers of unthinking presuppositions, and look at the logical outcomes, and then look at the evidence for a belief in a Supreme, Benign, God. The worst that can happen is that you waste some time. The best that might happen is that you will never be the same again!

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6 responses

24 09 2008
conceptualizer

I am a scientifically minded sort of person and I don’t believe in god. I also consider myself open minded, so although I am very wary of opening this dialogue, I will ask a few questions:
Why did god create people who do not believe in god and especially those that go out of their way to publicly deny god and religion?
Why are there are so many gods? I know you probably think there is just one, yours, but lots of adherents to other religions believe the same. Are they all wrong? If so how do you know yours to be the correct faith in the only god?
Would does god not get in direct contact with each of us? What is the point of only contacting us through other imperfect people who can and do mess things up and cause us to doubt? By definition, god is omnipotent and so does not need them.

24 09 2008
patrick

your blind to only what you see in the bible. if that idiot jesus had half the brain he would have realized that dying was a bad move, he could have done so much more living.

Jesus knows all and created all… This beleived statement shatteres all free will, thus making god and jesus huge game players along with rendering all christianity false by its own submission of declaration. The creation of hiv, hunger, babies deaths at birth are not lifes lessons. They are cruel lab test only satifying the most demented path of thought.

If god is at the controls, what a sick demented game is he playing with man kind. You would think that if one was in charge of all huge and greater things then a speck of ants on a tiny little planet would not be his focal point of dismay. All this effort in scripter for what?

I dont want to be a part of a very sick gods games.

The meaning of life is simple.. Be kind, do right by others and live as peacefully as possible.

live life with truth in your mind.

Good day

25 09 2008
faithcatalyst

Patrick, I’m sorry you’ve picked up such a jaundiced view of Jesus, the Bible and Christianity. However I appreciate you writing and assume you might possibly appreciate an answer to your comments.
I would suggest the Jesus’ death deserves a little more thought and while you probably don’t subscribe to the Biblical teaching that this was the Son of God himself taking punishment due to us, so we don’t have to live with guilty consciences, you could credit him with a commitment to belief that is rare. Examine his life and you’ll see he was very much a compassionate and caring thinker.
Much of your beliefs – about God obviously (according to your viewpoint) making HIV, hunger, etc. – unfortunately again miss the teaching of the Bible that God only made a perfect world and it is we human beings who have brought about all of the bad aspects you referred to. The New Testament picture is of God coming down in human form (Jesus Christ) to put right our wrong ideas, and reveal him as a God of love who comes close to whoever will receive Him, to help, guide, and empower in ways that are otherwise not available to us. I too don’t believe in the sort of God you portray. The God I know is loving, caring and accepting of whoever will come, however bad, however poor, however much of a failure, however much rejected by family, society or whoever. I like your “Be kind, do right by others and live as peacefully as possible,” but unfortunately I find that, left to myself, I am a selfish pig who doesn’t care about others. I don’t have the personal abilities to live like that, but I find He gives them to me. Please share on by all means.

25 09 2008
faithcatalyst

Hi conceptualizer (I like the name by the way)
I appreciate your approach and will only come back as far as you have asked questions – I will respect your wariness.
Your opening questions was “Why did god create people who do not believe” which assumes that God MAKES us be as we are. I believe the Bible paints a picture of free will which simply means that He has designed us but allows us to make choices right the way through life, so we become the outworking of our choices. People who don’t believe today, may believe tomorrow.
Why are there so many gods? I suspect the answer is that we like making gods who subconsciously at least we can manipulate, who are not a threat to us. (The gods of the Greeks and Romans were all very much in a human mould) My own experience is that examining the gods of other religions I have never been satisfied with any of them – I couldn’t believe in them – many of them are too nasty, and they don’t ‘fit’ the world I know. When I examine what the Bible teaches me about God (and I have studied Him in it for many years, and often quite critically) I find that I am moved by a God who is described as good and loving and caring. If you go to others of my blogs (use the side links) you will see something of this. Despite the confused ideas that many people have about him the biblical picture is quite clear for those who will come looking.
Why does God not get in direct contact with each of us? I believe He does – check back a recent blog I wrote on just this thing.
Contact through imperfect people? Well perhaps it’s because we are all imperfect and yet the wonderful picture of Jesus (who was perfect because he was God’s Son) that we find in the Gospels of the New Testament, shows him amazingly accepting, loving and caring for all us imperfect people.
He’s omnipotent and doesn’t need us? Absolutely, but that just confirms the Biblical teaching of a God of love, because love always wants to reach out and love and help and guide and so on. I hope these answers help in some way. Do ask on by all means. If these answers are inadequate, please say so by all means.

28 09 2008
conceptualizer

Hi faithcatalyst
Thanks for taking the time to answer.

I think your answer to my first question is quite reasonable. A god could choose not to deny anything, including non believers and his antagonists. Your point about the changing nature of peoples viewpoints over time is also valid. Well answered.
Sorry, but I don’t feel satisfied with your answer to my second question. You are clearly content that the god you believe in best fits your experiences. However, you must accept that others will have quite different cultural lives and find that a different ‘god personality’ suits them better, in much the same way that people choose different life partners. I think that there are other contemporary deity characters that one might also see as “loving and caring”. You need to clarify why your version is better more objectively, because I am sure I would get much the same answer from a Hindu or Buddhist for example. That leaves me in a quandary about who is correct.
I think my question of direct contact with god was not well thought out, like my first question. Just because god has not contacted me yet does not imply god will not, in time. I hope to hear from god very soon then, if this is possible.
I am not comfortable with your answer to the question of contact through imperfect interlopers. God may be completely tolerant of these imperfect people, that is not the issue for me. I am the one who is not tolerant, I am not perfect, why should I accept them?
I want to extend a point that Patrick made having read your answer to him. An omnipotent and benevolent god could choose to deny the less pleasant events in life, even those we created. Why does god not deny them?
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I am always searching, but I am increasingly jaded by the effort.

16 12 2008
faithcatalyst

Hi Conceptualizer,
first an apology for the long delay in replying – it has only just appeared on my radar for some reason!!!!
Whose picture of God is the right one, I think is the basic question you are asking. I’m not sure you are right in your suggestion that Hindus (with their thousands of gods) and Buddhists (with their no god) would come up with a same perception. I need to clarify more objectively – good point! Go back to origins, consider evidence. I believe (from long study) that the evidence of the Bible itself and the reality it portrays ‘fits’ all we know better than anything else. As to the nature of God Himself, can i suggest that ‘tolerant’ is not the right word to use in respect of God because He doesn’t ‘tolerate’ wrong – he deals with it. Natural justice that we all have (why?) says wrong doing deserves punishment – that is justice and that’s why we have a legal system. Now the thing that marks out Christianity from every other world religion, is that it claims that God has dealt with that problem of our wrongs that deserve punishing, by sending His own Son (Jesus Christ) to die to take our punishment so that we don’t. Thus justice is satisfied and the possibility of our relating to a good God is made possible. God who speaks? I think he speaks to us all the time; it’s just that we don’t recognise His voice. For God to deny our wrongs would mean he was living a lie and we wouldn’t feel good about that surely. No, the truth the Bible reveals is that he faces our wrongs head on and deals with them at the Cross two thousand years ago – being eternal and outside of time He can do that. The difficulties that many of us struggle with include a) facing what we are really like and b) accepting that He has formulated a way where justice is satisfied and we are released because someone else ‘went to court’ and stood in for us. Yes, searching can be wearying but don’t get jaded. look looking, keep asking. Again my apologies that this has only just appeared – I hope you pick it up.

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