Meaning

edited December 2010 in Religion & Philosophy
This analogy seems to clarify the intuitively obvious:
JP Moreland said:
[S]uppose I invited you over to my house to play a game of Monopoly. When you arrive I announce that the game is going to be a bit different. Before us is the Monopoly board, a set of jacks, a coin, the television remote, and a refrigerator in the corner of the room. I grant you the first turn, and puzzlingly, inform you that you may do anything you want: fill the board up with hotels, throw the coin in the air, toss a few jacks, fix a sandwich, or turn on the television. You respond by putting hotels all over the board and smugly sit back as I take my turn. I respond by dumping the board upside down and tossing the coin in the air. Somewhat annoyed, you right the board and replenish it with hotels. I turn on the television and dump the board over again.

Now it wouldn't take too many cycles of this nonsense to recognize that it didn't really matter what you did with your turn, and here's why. There is no goal, no purpose to the game we are playing. Our successive turns form a series of one meaningless event after another. Why? Because if the game as a whole has no purpose, the individual moves within the game are pointless. Conversely, only a game's actual purpose according to its inventor can give the individual moves significance. [The God Question: An Invitation to a Life of Meaning, p. 34-5]
I have a good friend who quotes Kubrick, that in an indifferent universe, it is up to us to create genuine meaning in our lives. To me that doesn't make sense, especially given the Monopoly example. Sure, you can exercise self-delusion and pretend your meaning in life is actual, genuine, and for-real, but ultimately, sheer will cannot manifest objective, universal meaning.

My friend continues to reject the idea that meaning is only endowed by a creator; despite the analogy above, he continues to believe that one can manifest genuine meaning for oneself.

What do you all think? Is the story above apt or wrong in some way?

Comments

  • It's your own choice to keep trying to play the game after your friend tips the board over. It was your decision to go to his house to play in the first place.

    After the first time you tip the board over I'd probably tell you to shove it and watch TV.

    Why must you absolutely believe you have a greater meaning to your life?
  • said:

    It's your own choice to keep trying to play the game after your friend tips the board over. It was your decision to go to his house to play in the first place.

    After the first time you tip the board over I'd probably tell you to shove it and watch TV.

    Why must you absolutely believe you have a greater meaning to your life?

    Axe, you are missing the greater point of Moreland's exercise. It is not about individual frredoms in the moment, but the entire "game" of life in the cosmos for all times. Without purpose, there is really no reason for existence -- or at least for striving in that existance. Why are we not all apathetic, nihilistic anarchists?

    Oh, and if you suggest that we are, here is a FB page for ya... Apathetic, Nihilistic Anarchists Love the title, "Apathetic, Nihilistic Anarchists United."
  • said:

    Without purpose, there is really no reason for existence

    Why does existence need a reason? Does a rock have a reason to exist? A faraway asteroid in a backwater galaxy?
  • said:


    My friend continues to reject the idea that meaning is only endowed by a creator; despite the analogy above, he continues to believe that one can manifest genuine meaning for oneself.



    He's right.

    Life has only that meaning that we put into it. If we do nothing that is meaningful to either ourselves or others, nobody will stop us from exercising our free will. Not our neighbors, not the police, not the POTUS and not God Almighty himself.

    And in the end, who suffers as a result?
  • It doesn't, Axe. My question is, does invented meaning mean anything?

    After my conversation with my friend, I took it to Google and found this blog which is really well-written. It also has an extended quote from Kubrick (but not the whole thing). Apparently Kubrick (and my friend) subscribe to Albert Camus, who also believed the universe was ultimately meaningless, yet people intrinsically felt there was meaning. This creates an absurdity, a disjoin between human feeling and reality. Camus saw three possible solutions: (1) suicide, (2) a "leap of faith" to ignore the meaninglessness of the universe and delude yourself into thinking the universe does have meaning, or (3) embrace the absurdity by creating subjective meaning for yourself. Camus and Kubrick (and it seems my friend) choose the third option.

    I find myself agreeing with Camus' assessment: the three options are probably the only three options given a meaningless universe. I don't particularly find Camus' choice compelling, though. Why #3 instead of #1 or #2 when nothing ultimately matters? The logic behind #3 also evades me; it seems to boil down to #2, kidding oneself that invented meaning is actually meaningful.

    I also find Camus' assessment interesting in that actual meaning is somehow not even an option to be considered. How was he able to rule that out?

    And I'm still stuck with the Monopoly example: is it flawed somehow?

    I find Camus' absurdity interesting: that intrinsic feeling that meaning exists seems to be part of the human condition. Jesus says that's because humans were created for a purpose, the inner feeling evidences this.
  • said:

    Life has only that meaning that we put into it.

    If the universe is meaningless, I agree with you and my friend, meaning must be self-generated. But I'm still stuck: is it truly meaning that extends beyond one's subjective self?

    For example, you can "create" meaning in the senseless game by creating a goal: to make a red line on the board out of hotels. But step back from your little micro-game and look at the bigger picture, it keeps getting flipped over. What sense is this?
  • said:

    said:

    Life has only that meaning that we put into it.

    If the universe is meaningless...

    That's not what I said.
  • said:

    I find myself agreeing with Camus' assessment: the three options are probably the only three options given a meaningless universe. I don't particularly find Camus' choice compelling, though. Why #3 instead of #1 or #2 when nothing ultimately matters? The logic behind #3 also evades me; it seems to boil down to #2, kidding oneself that invented meaning is actually meaningful.

    I think Camus' point is that our life doesn't have an innate meaning, i.e. we aren't born with a clear path to follow, but that we can choose to make one. If I make it my life's goal to cure cancer -- and I succeed - my life will have had meaning (at least in my mind) because I helped people, and will have had meaning for others as well. A different type of "meaning" might be a Buddhist monk finally finding inner peace.

    Ultimately, our point in life is what we make it.
  • edited December 2010
    said:

    That's not what I said.

    Then your comment doesn't follow and I can't agree with you.
    said:

    my life will have had meaning (at least in my mind)

    Yes, that's a good clarification. It's meaning at least in your mind (whether you succeed or not). But does it extend beyond you? I can't help think about the bounds of this universe as secular people envision it: an explosive beginning followed by us followed by the heat death of the universe where protons become unglued (or the universe crunches again destroying everything). What's the point of curing cancer or of humoring yourself with inner peace or endless shows of House?

    Just tossing around an idea; thanks for humoring me, all.
  • said:

    said:

    That's not what I said.

    Then your comment doesn't follow and I can't agree with you.

    I have, and have had; absolutely zero expectation that we'll agree.

    Having said that, your reading comprehension problems are not my fault.

    Life has only that meaning that we put into it.

    If the universe is meaningless...

  • said:

    What's the point of curing cancer or of humoring yourself with inner peace or endless shows of House?

    Ultimately there isn't really a "point", we'll all die at some point anyway. We aren't much different from animals in that our main goal is really just to exist and reproduce; the major difference is that we're self-aware and find that biological truth cold and unfulfilling. I think that everyone would agree that it would be nice to have a higher purpose than that, but there isn't anything to support that theory. For most people I think the highest meaning they aspire to is either helping others, finding inner happiness, or a combination of both.

    Personally I'd be happy just to leave the world a better place than it was before I got here. Unfortunately, by definition I won't be around to see the result.
  • said:

    said:

    Without purpose, there is really no reason for existence

    Why does existence need a reason? Does a rock have a reason to exist? A faraway asteroid in a backwater galaxy?
    In my worldview, yes.

    In yours, perhaps, no. But if that rock in a far away galaxy has no reason for existence, than neither do you and I believe that you would find that problematic. You already have issues with feelings of worthlessness and nailing down the purposelessness of the universe would not be helpful to your well being.
  • said:

    In yours, perhaps, no. But if that rock in a far away galaxy has no reason for existence, than neither do you and I believe that you would find that problematic. You already have issues with feelings of worthlessness and nailing down the purposelessness of the universe would not be helpful to your well being.

    Do you think I need the warm blankie of an afterlife to find meaning in my time on earth?
  • Post #12: +1. Well-said.
    said:

    I think that everyone would agree that it would be nice to have a higher purpose than that, but there isn't anything to support that theory.

    This is the absurdity that Albert Camus wrote about.

    I'm still wondering about Moreland's little Monopoly story. What reasons could be corralled to dismiss it? The best I can think of is that, yes, the modified game has no point, so it doesn't matter what you do. Therein lies the the freedom Camus wrote about: you are freed from any rules and can therefore invent any objective yourself and then seek out that objective, such as making little red lines out of hotels.

    This kind of activity worries me, though (on a philosophical level). I can call to mind many examples of invented meaning, but here's one. There was a man who's purpose in life was to collect, catalog, fold, and file away McDonald's napkins in a shed in the back yard. His catalog was neat and orderly when he moved out and my cousin moved in. His neighbors called him crazy. This is not so different from the hotel red line activity in my earlier post. If one picks a life's purpose that aligns with common, popular beliefs of what is considered "normal," such as feeding the homeless, then such futile activities are overlooked and even encouraged, but that doesn't change what they ultimately are: futile and crazy (maligned with reason).

    Another example: collecting pantyhose. Many would definitely call this crazy. But if Uncle Sam asked citizens to collect them for the war effort, suddenly this is not a crazy activity but a purposeful and noble one. Notice how the overarching purpose of the "game" endows meaning to the individual moves. Feeding the homeless is not futile if you recognize how it aligns with a greater objective, to love your neighbors.

    So at this point in the thread I'm left with these thoughts:
    [list=1]
    [*]The Monopoly story holds solid as an accurate portrayal of how overarching purpose as set by the inventor endows meaning to the individual moves, provided the player aligns himself to that purpose.[/*]
    [*]If there is no overarching purpose, all objective meaning is lost, you are free to do whatever or nothing.[/*]
    [*]But if #2, given that absurd human need for purpose, your best bet is to generate meaning yourself, to engage in crazy activities, deluding yourself into thinking this invented purpose is genuine.[/*]
    [*]Given you subscribe to #3, it is in your best interest to maintain #2 by ignoring reason and pretending you are not engaging in crazy activity, pretending that invented meaning is real and genuine (Camus' option #2, unfortunately).[/*]
    [/list]
    I think I understand Camus, Kubrick, and my friend. If you truly believe the universe is indifferent, I wish you hope.

    One outstanding thought: how has the purposelessness of the universe (purpose endowed downward, not provided by humans, Escher) been determined so positively? If the universe indeed does have a purpose and is not indifferent, all these mental gymnastics are unnecessary. My friend was quick to point out that my belief that the universe has purpose for us is a faith-based belief. But really, there are only two exclusive options: the universe has purpose or it doesn't. That makes my friend's position equally faith-based. So why have faith in something that contradicts your gut instincts? Perhaps that gut instinct of purpose is actually placed there by your Creator.

    And you know, in an eerie sort of way, you have to admit: the Christian worldview answers that gut instinct, Christianity makes sense in this regard.
  • Highlights from Ecclesiastes, the great book of nihilism in the Bible:
    said:

    "Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher [Solomon]. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.
    ...
    I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
    ...
    I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

    I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. ...I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. ...I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
    ...
    Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

  • said:


    One outstanding thought: how has the purposelessness of the universe ...



    I wouldn't exactly consider the idea that the universe is without meaning to be outstanding.
  • axe
    edited December 2010
    said:

    So at this point in the thread I'm left with these thoughts:
    [list=1]
    [*]The Monopoly story holds solid as an accurate portrayal of how overarching purpose as set by the inventor endows meaning to the individual moves, provided the player aligns himself to that purpose.[/*]
    [*]If there is no overarching purpose, all objective meaning is lost, you are free to do whatever or nothing.[/*]
    [*]But if #2, given that absurd human need for purpose, your best bet is to generate meaning yourself, to engage in crazy activities, deluding yourself into thinking this invented purpose is genuine.[/*]
    [*]Given you subscribe to #3, it is in your best interest to maintain #2 by ignoring reason and pretending you are not engaging in crazy activity, pretending that invented meaning is real and genuine (Camus' option #2, unfortunately).[/*]
    [/list]
    I think I understand Camus, Kubrick, and my friend. If you truly believe the universe is indifferent, I wish you hope.

    "Crazy" is anything that deviates from social norms in the area where you happen to live, but the way I see it, if it makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone, go for it. If the guy collected McD's napkins because he decided that was his ultimate goal in life and that, on his deathbed, he felt a true sense of purpose and fulfillment, then IMHO that man achieved more meaning in his life than most people ever have. Who are we to judge? His napkin collection could be inconsequential to others -- as a fish being eaten by a bear right now in Finland would be to me -- but to him it was his purpose.

    That seemingly pointless endeavor might even prove valuable in the years to come. Imagine if someone in ancient Egypt made it his life's work to transcribe the most common cooking recipes of his time, and seal them in an amphora. To his peers his quest may have seemed pointless, but if someone found that jar today, 2500 years later, it would give us insight into a facet of their culture that we would never have known otherwise.

    We could even take the game of Monopoly itself as an example -- a board game is utterly pointless in the grand scheme of things. It takes up hours of time, time which could be spent on something more productive. We choose to move bits of plastic across a piece of cardboard, adhering to an arbitrary set of rules jotted down by some guy in the 1930s. However ridiculous it might seem, we choose to do it because it entertains us, and it's a good way to spend time with friends. That's how we choose to find meaning for those minutes of our life. I'm finding meaning in typing this right now, because I enjoy this discussion. I find meaning in my job because I create things that I'm proud of and that help others learn new things.
  • edited December 2010
    said:

    And you know, in an eerie sort of way, you have to admit: the Christian worldview answers that gut instinct, Christianity makes sense in this regard.

    As does the Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, etc worldviews. Based solely on the quality of "gives meaning to life" I think all religions do it equally well.
  • said:

    said:

    In yours, perhaps, no. But if that rock in a far away galaxy has no reason for existence, than neither do you and I believe that you would find that problematic. You already have issues with feelings of worthlessness and nailing down the purposelessness of the universe would not be helpful to your well being.

    Do you think I need the warm blankie of an afterlife to find meaning in my time on earth?
    Nope... Not at all. I'm sure that a sock would work as well. :rolleyes:
  • Buho... Some would respond, simply, "What Monopoly game?"

    I believe that they are wrong, their response indicates that they desire "something" and we end up right back at the two big choices thing immediately. But there does seem to be a dissociated view of purpose and truth these days. Almost as if a majority of people were living in some sort of, well, Monopoly game.
  • said:

    said:

    Do you think I need the warm blankie of an afterlife to find meaning in my time on earth?

    Nope... Not at all. I'm sure that a sock would work as well. :rolleyes:
    OK, I lol'd.
  • said:

    I wouldn't exactly consider the idea that the universe is without meaning to be outstanding.

    By "outstanding" I meant a point that was left behind, not "stellar." But you knew that.
    said:

    said:

    Christianity makes sense in this regard.

    As does the Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, etc worldviews. Based solely on the quality of "gives meaning to life" I think all religions do it equally well.
    Jewish and Muslim, yes. Hindu, I'm not sure. Wiccan, no. Wiccan thought actually aligns very well with Camus—an invented meaning, which is no real meaning at all.

    Not all religions are equal.
    said:

    Buho... Some would respond, simply, "What Monopoly game?"

    Indeed, my friend objected to the game existing at all. My counter is that if the overarching Monopoly has no rules, no objective, he's right: there is no game in any real sense of the word.
    said:

    "Crazy" is anything that deviates from social norms in the area where you happen to live.... Who are we to judge?

    Yes, that was kind of my point, but reversed. Seeking meaning in a meaningless universe is genuinely illogical, aka, crazy. We ignore such crazy activities when they align with social norms, but call them out for what they are when they do not align. Who are we to judge? In a sense, we should not, for we ourselves are not guiltless. (This is a Christian moral, I note; does it have validity in a meaningless, non-moral universe?) In another sense, we can discern an activity as logical or illogical, as aligning with a goal or not, as meaningful or not. Chasing after the wind is most assuredly meaningless, illogical, crazy. But being intentional with how you spend your time and energy, checking often that your course runs precisely directed toward God, this is coherent, logical, and meaningful action.
    said:

    That seemingly pointless endeavor [such as Egyptian recipes] might even prove valuable in the years to come.

    In the words of Samuel, to what ultimate, true, genuine purpose is cataloging history? Meaninglessness!
    said:

    We could even take the game of Monopoly itself as an example -- a board game is utterly pointless in the grand scheme of things. It takes up hours of time, time which could be spent on something more productive. We choose to move bits of plastic across a piece of cardboard, adhering to an arbitrary set of rules jotted down by some guy in the 1930s. However ridiculous it might seem, we choose to do it because it entertains us, and it's a good way to spend time with friends. That's how we choose to find meaning for those minutes of our life.

    In this quote I see you defining meaning in relation to production: if an activity is productive (for humanity at large), it is meaningful. Whence come this goal? Is it an objective goal or did you just arbitrarily make it up?

    You defined secondary purposes as well (entertaining self, feeling good) which suffer the same problems.

    In the Judeo-Christian worldview, God has established two primary purposes for humans: (1) love God, (2) love others, where love is an action, not a feeling. (2) is actually a derivative of (1). Monopoly can align with (2), thus playing the game can be objectively meaningful for the Jew or Christian. In the best times, (1) can also be a component of Monopoly, no joke. (I say "can" rather than "is" because you can be a sore loser or jerk winner and not love your opponent; playing is not necessarily meaningful.)

    If one denies the Judeo-Christian worldview while espousing a worldview of intrinsic meaninglessness, the Monopoly game cannot be meaningful in the grand scheme of things, even if one invents a meaning that coincides with the Judeo-Christian meaning.

    At least, that's how it logically seems to me.

    Note: this conversation is shedding more light into my soul than is comfortable. I like to play Monopoly because it is fun-to-me, and it's fun-to-me to destroy my opponent. These goals do not align with God's. I see value in historical recipes, but such tasty cuisines are pleasurable-to-me and do not align with God's goals. His two primary goals—to love God and to love others—do not include loving yourself. Quite the opposite, He calls us to deny ourselves in the service to others. So much of my life is misaligned with God. I am wasting my life in meaningless pursuits.
  • said:

    Yes, that was kind of my point, but reversed. Seeking meaning in a meaningless universe is genuinely illogical, aka, crazy. We ignore such crazy activities when they align with social norms, but call them out for what they are when they do not align. Who are we to judge? In a sense, we should not, for we ourselves are not guiltless. (This is a Christian moral, I note; does it have validity in a meaningless, non-moral universe?) In another sense, we can discern an activity as logical or illogical, as aligning with a goal or not, as meaningful or not. Chasing after the wind is most assuredly meaningless, illogical, crazy. But being intentional with how you spend your time and energy, checking often that your course runs precisely directed toward God, this is coherent, logical, and meaningful action.

    If God even exists, how can you know what he wants? The best you have to work with is human assumptions.
    said:

    In the words of Samuel, to what ultimate, true, genuine purpose is cataloging history? Meaninglessness!

    Documenting history could be lumped in with "helping others", but I agree that it's arbitrary. Even the act of helping others at all is arbitrary.
    said:

    In this quote I see you defining meaning in relation to production: if an activity is productive (for humanity at large), it is meaningful. Whence come this goal? Is it an objective goal or did you just arbitrarily make it up?

    It's (like everything) arbitrarily made up. That said, helping others is well-regarded in pretty much every culture human or animal, so it's practically the closest we have to an innate purpose in life. Helping others improves the species' odds of survival, so there are at least biological grounds for it.
    said:

    You defined secondary purposes as well (entertaining self, feeling good) which suffer the same problems.

    In the Judeo-Christian worldview, God has established two primary purposes for humans: (1) love God, (2) love others, where love is an action, not a feeling. (2) is actually a derivative of (1). Monopoly can align with (2), thus playing the game can be objectively meaningful for the Jew or Christian. In the best times, (1) can also be a component of Monopoly, no joke. (I say "can" rather than "is" because you can be a sore loser or jerk winner and not love your opponent; playing is not necessarily meaningful.)

    If one denies the Judeo-Christian worldview while espousing a worldview of intrinsic meaninglessness, the Monopoly game cannot be meaningful in the grand scheme of things, even if one invents a meaning that coincides with the Judeo-Christian meaning.

    At least, that's how it logically seems to me.

    Maybe. That's part of the reason why religious devotion seems foreign to me. I have a hrd time imagining why I would devote myself fully to a being I don't know exists for no clear reason.
    said:

    Note: this conversation is shedding more light into my soul than is comfortable. I like to play Monopoly because it is fun-to-me, and it's fun-to-me to destroy my opponent. These goals do not align with God's. I see value in historical recipes, but such tasty cuisines are pleasurable-to-me and do not align with God's goals. His two primary goals—to love God and to love others—do not include loving yourself. Quite the opposite, He calls us to deny ourselves in the service to others. So much of my life is misaligned with God. I am wasting my life in meaningless pursuits.

    I find the idea of a being so all-powerful -- yet so vain that he would create billions of thinking, feeling creatures only to enslave them in a life of servitude -- rather distasteful.
  • Axe -

    Just so you know, he's defined the terms of your discussion intentionally by sneaking in an extra element.

    You are now discussing meaning as it relates to a persons life AND meaning as it relates to the Universe as a whole; but he's still acting as if you're only discussing ONE topic.
  • said:

    Axe -

    Just so you know, he's defined the terms of your discussion intentionally by sneaking in an extra element.

    You are now discussing meaning as it relates to a persons life AND meaning as it relates to the Universe as a whole; but he's still acting as if you're only discussing ONE topic.

    There are no terms, the bounds of the discussion are arbitrary. We're discussing the meaning of meaning, after all :P
  • LOL, you mean YOU'RE discussing that. :D
  • said:

    LOL, you mean YOU'RE discussing that. :D

    Yeah, Buho is just doing his COINTELPRO thing :P
  • said:

    If God even exists, how can you know what he wants?

    It is not possible that He told us?
    said:

    That said, helping others is well-regarded in pretty much every culture human or animal, so it's practically the closest we have to an innate purpose in life.

    In other words, it's not crazy because it's an accepted norm.

    Note, I'm not criticizing, but it's instructive to label it for what it is: arbitrary, as you agree. As I've said, if the universe has been so positively and definitively observed to be without meaning, arbitrary meaning is the best you got. I just have to question how a meaningless universe was nailed down so firmly by those who also call for solid proof of God's existence. If one were truly impartial, one would entertain the possibility that the inward feeling of meaning might not be absurd but rather a sign of outward reality, like a WiFi card implies a wireless network in which to talk to.
    said:

    I have a hrd time imagining why I would devote myself fully to a being I don't know exists for no clear reason.

    Same here! But I have seen ample reason and evidence for God's existence, the same being who truthfully and reliably authored the Bible in which He made His will known. For example, the only hypothesis that explains fully in a coherent manner the historical evidence of the empty tomb, eyewitness testimonies, and the subsequent supercharged movement, is if God Himself came to us in flesh, was killed, and rose again. I pray you see this evidence, too.
    said:

    I find the idea of a being so all-powerful -- yet so vain that he would create billions of thinking, feeling creatures only to enslave them in a life of servitude -- rather distasteful.

    I can't disagree with you there. But I can also see how a bachelor disdainfully calls marriage slavery (the ol' "ball & chain"). That doesn't make marriage slavery, though. You might want to pay attention to married people for a more accurate view of what marriage is actually like.
    said:

    You are now discussing meaning as it relates to a persons life AND meaning as it relates to the Universe as a whole; but he's still acting as if you're only discussing ONE topic.

    I'm entertaining both in relation to one another. If universal meaning does not exist, personal meaning is all you have, but personal meaning cannot effect universal meaning: that's just postmodern drivel; calling the sky green does not make it so; personal meaning does not make it actually meaningful.
  • said:

    I just have to question how a meaningless universe was nailed down so firmly by those who also call for solid proof of God's existence. If one were truly impartial, one would entertain the possibility that the inward feeling of meaning might not be absurd but rather a sign of outward reality, like a WiFi card implies a wireless network in which to talk to.

    Seriously? Atheists are the ones that claim to have the meaning of life figured out?
    said:

    Same here! But I have seen ample reason and evidence for God's existence, the same being who truthfully and reliably authored the Bible in which He made His will known. For example, the only hypothesis that explains fully in a coherent manner the historical evidence of the empty tomb, eyewitness testimonies, and the subsequent supercharged movement, is if God Himself came to us in flesh, was killed, and rose again. I pray you see this evidence, too.

    Eyewitness testimony... Many people have gone on record as seeing Nessie and the Sasquatch, and there are countless documentaries about both. Do you take that testimony at face value as well?
    said:

    I can't disagree with you there. But I can also see how a bachelor disdainfully calls marriage slavery (the ol' "ball & chain"). That doesn't make marriage slavery, though. You might want to pay attention to married people for a more accurate view of what marriage is actually like.

    That's a pretty terrible analogy, I know you can do much better than that.
  • edited December 2010
    said:

    said:

    I just have to question how a meaningless universe was nailed down so firmly by those who also call for solid proof of God's existence. If one were truly impartial, one would entertain the possibility that the inward feeling of meaning might not be absurd but rather a sign of outward reality, like a WiFi card implies a wireless network in which to talk to.

    Seriously? Atheists are the ones that claim to have the meaning of life figured out?
    That's not what I said.
    said:

    Eyewitness testimony... Many people have gone on record as seeing Nessie and the Sasquatch, and there are countless documentaries about both. Do you take that testimony at face value as well?

    The word of the scientist...do you take that testimony at face value? Eyewitness testimony is relied on more than you think, in all aspects of life, from court trials to historians of antiquity to online reviews of products. You pick the few examples that have been discredited by repeated observation. Eyewitness testimony isn't proof, since someone can make stuff up, but a life in which one rejects all eyewitness testimony is a life virtually unlivable.

    People have tried to come up with alternate explanations to the Resurrection. All have fallen far short of the explanatory power of the explanation provided by the Bible. That tells me something.
    said:

    That's a pretty terrible analogy, I know you can do much better than that.

    Meh. But do you get it? God is not distasteful to me. Perhaps you're not seeing God correctly. EDIT: The subjective values of taste we could argue about forever. Just showing that your view is not a necessary view. Understanding who you are before God and what God has done for you might change your view of Him.

    Buho, how are you doing?
    Better than I deserve.
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