Purpose is not a thing?

Key points I am responding to:

1. Purpose is not a thing, therefore if I create purpose, I do not create it out of nothing.

2. Purpose does not exist in space and time, cannot be pointed to or painted and such.

3. Purpose does not exist independently from the person that has it.

4. Purpose is not capable of causing effect.

5. Purpose is a word to describe intentions being fulfilled.

 

I agree with some of what you say here. Purpose is not a piece of matter existing in space and time causing effect. A agree that “purpose does not fall into this category.” So how does purpose exist? You ask me to show it to you, to point it out; and you want me to do so on purpose. You ask me to purposely paint it, or purposely do something to it. The problem, as you ask it, is that purpose is not something you can look at; it is something you look along with. Purpose does not cause effect; it is the guiding factor in the cause and effect fulfilling a specific intention. Purpose is something we apply or use to achieve specific ends or goals. As such, you cannot look at purpose; you can only look along purpose towards the end or goal it points to. And if you actually meet or fulfill the goal you set out to achieve, you can actually say you did it on purpose. Otherwise, if the goal is not met and something different is accomplished, you cannot say you did it on purpose.

But, if purpose is something we use, apply, or look along with, that does not relieve us of the responsibility of accounting for the fact that we have it. It is not material but it is there. To say it is not there, is to say so on purpose and to contradict one’s self. You say that purpose is not a thing; but a thing is just a certain kind of being, and being is the most comprehensive concept that we have, applying, as it does, to everything that exists. But, if purpose does not exist, that is to say, there is no guiding factor that we can use to achieve specific ends or goals, then no ends would be fulfilled except by happy accident. And we could not even take advantage of the circumstance to our benefit because we would be doing so on purpose, and as we have said, “there is no purpose.” Here is clear evidence for purpose — that we point to certain ends and goals and actually reach them repeatedly. We intend to grab a soda and actually do. We intend to paint a wall and actually do. We intend to type on the keyboard and actually do. If the same actions produced random, inexplicable, and unexpected results maybe we would never know purpose at all. It is repetition of the same causes with the same effects that shows purpose. Chains of cause and effect in this world that produce random results actually give us a contrast that highlights the purpose we do see.

You say, “Not only can I create purpose, any purpose assigned to me as the causal agent can only come from me.” And here is where you are confused. You are implicitly indicating that throughout the whole process of evolution from beginning to end nothing had purpose, not a single solitary thing; but all of a sudden at a certain point in man’s evolutionary development, man was the first and only one to have purpose. It’s like saying everything was blue throughout evolutionary history until man appeared and then he was red, but there was no such thing as red before man. Here is where you have to admit that purpose was there all along or else you abandon logic; because you are an effect of which the evolutionary process is the cause, and the cause cannot give the effect what it does not have. If the effect has purpose, so did the causes of that effect in some way or another. The only things that we know of that have purposes or give things purposes are causal agents, therefore it follows that a causal agent existed and included purpose in evolution in various ways in order to produce YOU who now have purpose and give purpose to things you make. A causal agent giving the universe purpose is what everyone usually understands to be God.

You say, “purpose is not an independent thing…” and I have to disagree with you. Logic leads me to. It is true that purpose comes from causal agents like yourself, but purpose also exists in the things that we make. For instance, a coffee maker contains purpose and its purpose, which we gave it, is to make coffee. Purpose exists in the coffee maker because we guided the materials involved to form a chain of cause and effect in such a way that the materials would produce coffee every time we push the button. Now, it doesn’t just work for the person who made it, it works for everyone else too. But, they didn’t give the coffee maker purpose. They didn’t form the chain of cause and effect to produce the specific effect of making coffee. They just have to push a button, and actualize the cause and effect chain. Therefore, the purpose that exists in the coffee maker is independent of its maker and anyone else, though it could not have contained it without the maker, and cannot be used without someone pushing the button. It’s clear that purpose once given to materials becomes independent.

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The Christian Bible

Truth is exclusive, therefore, not all religious texts can be true if they disagree with one another. However, that is not a reason to discount all texts. Search for the text that is true. It is possible that all texts can be false. But, it is equally possible that at least one could be true. You should engage in this process of weeding out the lies to find the truth, and not falsely and lazily declare the whole process pointless.

People stick to the Christian Bible because they believe they have found truth for their lives that gives meaning, purpose, and a clear grounding for morality. But moreover, they believe they have found the fulfillment of human existence in the union of God and man. And, in my opinion, the Christian Bible provides the only way for that union to exist without requiring you to attain an unreachable goal of perfection; which also simultaneously nullifies any self-pride that might have emerged because of the work that you might have done to achieve salvation. The Christian Bible declares salvation by the hands of God only. It is God seeking man, and not man seeking God. I believe that is one of the main differences between Christianity and all other religions.

And to me, this truth is obvious because through experience in this world, we see that man is not just the questioner, he is the question. When he asks a question, he looks for answers because the answer is not in him. He must find it. Every question that God asks points back to himself for he doesn’t just give answers, he is the answer. Truth is wholly apart from us. It exists out of the necessity of its own nature. And the Christian Bible, to me, provides the clearest view of truth. If you treat it the same as every other text, you will never see truth in it.

Choose Your Own Adventure

When we are young we have faith in our parents. We obey them (hopefully) because they love us and they show us how life is, and what it should be. As we get older we put faith in our teachers trusting that they are authorities on Mathematics, Science, English, and so on. Each time we learn, we receive by faith the things they teach us since we have no first-hand knowledge of the things they relate to us. It’s better than making each generation rediscover everything over again. However, there is a time to learn what others teach and a time to gather knowledge ourselves. We begin to have faith in ourselves that we have the capabilities to understand the right ways of life. In the process of attaining knowledge we endeavor to reject faulty knowledge. But, we cannot be 100% certain that the knowledge we acquire is free of corruption since it cannot be independently verified by an outside source. Although some people see evidence of a Creator,  no 3rd party materializes in front of us to provide confirmation or denial of our findings, and these findings are subject to further criticism from every other person looking for answers or just looking to poke holes in other people’s findings. At this point, two types of people can emerge. The first is a person who begins to find the answers of life within himself, picking himself up by his bootstraps, so to speak, creating his own meaning and purpose, reality and truth. He has faith in himself. The other man perceives that his own reason has limitations and is therefore inadequate to get the answers needed. Since he perceives that the human experience is common to all, he looks for answers outside of himself and humanity. He puts faith in a 3rd party in order to confirm or deny his findings.

What is the difference between a man who has faith in himself and his human teachers, and the man who puts his faith in God? Both of them have faith, but the object of their faith is different. What are the outcomes?

The man who puts faith in himself eventually becomes selfish. This does not mean he only thinks of himself, but rather that all of his charitable and self-serving acts come from values formed from his own authority. His self and others like him are the highest forms of life he can find. He creates his own meaning, his own reality, his own purpose, and his own morality. Essentially he is his own property. He can do with himself what he wants. The obstacles to this, however, are others and laws of society. He respects others because it is reasonable, but he may decide that it is not reasonable if he so wishes. As his self grows in value, he can reason anything he wants. He eventually does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone it was for a good reason even if society does not agree. If he commits suicide he is only hurting himself and it is just fine because he is his own property. If he hurts others it can be justified. Reasons exist to respect other’s “property”, but reasons also exist that justify the disrespect of other’s “property”. The choice is his. He is the judge and jury. He could be the most moral person or the least moral person. Most everyone will not take it this far. They adopt this philosophy in moderation. Herein lies temporary harmony with the rest of men. However, this philosophy taken to the end of itself can lead to the destruction of self and others and it’s perfectly reasonable.

The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless. This does not mean he never thinks of himself, but rather that all of this charitable and self-serving acts are derived from values given by his Maker. God is the highest form of life he can find. In understanding God’s identity, he realizes his own identity, and derives from God his meaning, reality, purpose, and morality. Essentially, he is God’s property. He can do with himself what he wants, but he gives his self away to the Self of God. In this act, a new identity emerges that naturally follows the character of God. He respects others because they are God’s property, and we are all tenants, so to speak. He does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone he goes against God’s character. If he commits suicide he is destroying God’s property. If he justifies hurting others, he must ignore God’s laws. Reasons exist to respect God’s property. Reasons not to respect God’s property are products of a corrupt mind. The choice is still the man’s choice, but God is the judge and jury. The man’s degree of morality is dependent upon his conformity to the character of God. Most everyone will not take this as far as it will go. We don’t like to give up our selves completely. We adopt this philosophy in moderation. However, herein lies contention with men, God, and self. This philosophy taken to its end can diminish the self and the lead to a new identity created by God.

Now the paths are laid out before you. Which path will you choose?

 

(Picture created by Luke.)

A Glimpse into the Atheistic Mind

Image credits : http://picasaweb.google.com/ikrystyn

Atheist is like a child holding right hand….a scientist of logical intelligence ……left brain and the theist is like a child holding left hand …… a scientist of emotional intelligence ….right brain and mother is holding them like cosmic intelligence ….. mind of God ……  everyone’s childhood friend.

-quote taken from (Here)

The scientist who’s logic leads him to be an atheist can also possess great emotional distress. Thinking with his logical mind first, his emotional response to God is varied and skeptical. Thinking inwardly that God may be real he tests theories and evidence to find notions of him. Finding the worldly evidence can only point to God indirectly, he cannot be logically inconsistent in ignoring other possibilities. Because, in his mind, those possibilities are just as legitimate or more so, he is disinclined to believe in God. God is not “needed” in the world, but the feeling that God is needed in the heart the atheistic scientist cannot escape.  For, if God was real, great purpose and meaning and value could be given to man beyond the scope of his imagination. It is a fantastic feeling to think that he could be caught up in a greater purpose that began before there was time, encompassing not just the world, but the entire universe. The intellectual mind, however, will not let this hope tread into the realm of logic. Logic must be cold, calculating, impartial.  Some purely logical minds are not aware of this tension within, but for others, it relentlessly troubles the deep recesses of their heart.

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Insanity

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 Meaning, as a concept, seems to be woven into the fabric of our lives. Just look at the latest magazines on the shelves. Everyone is searching for meaning. You’d think that if we all evolved that there would be some folks without a purpose. By mere chance, there has to be someone out there whose life doesn’t mean a thing. Not everyone needs to live a meaningful life in order to contribute to humanity. That is, if you believe that we are here on the earth by chance. The fact remains that everyone, down to the last pathetic human being, searches for and believes that there is meaning in their lives. And meaning is linked to purpose. Find what action you are supposed to fulfill and your life will be fulfilled.

 But is there inherent meaning in our lives, or is this all just a lie we make so we can continue living? Nietzsche says that even rocks have a purpose. A rock can stop you from occupying the same space as itself. It exerts a force upon you, however passive, and stops you from going so far. As humans, we also give things around us names. By naming something, we give it a supposed meaning. We aren’t content to find meaning in our lives, but we look for meaning everywhere else.

 Now you may say that we superimpose meanings on our lives and everything around us, but there is no real meaning. Usually, those who say this say that we can find meaning in the actions we do throughout the day, but there is no “one” meaning or “one” purpose for our lives. While no real meaning is involved, we imagine meaning. However, if there is no real meaning, I might as well stop writing at this very moment and quit life in general.

 Either there is inherent meaning in everything or there is not. If there is inherent meaning, then the universe has a purpose. If it has a purpose, there is a cause. If there is a cause, there is a causer. And this causer is responsible for everything. If there is no meaning, then we all live in delusion. We suppose meaning that isn’t there. We must all question our sanity. Why would we not live in reality (whatever that is)? Have we adapted throughout evolution just to stay alive? But why stay alive? Is it so important that we breathe and move? What is life anyway if we are all just tissue, bones, blood, and organs moving about? Give me one good reason to go on living if we all just live in delusion. Life for the sake of life has no meaning. The world will never accept such a thesis.

 The search for meaning in our lives is a search for God–clear and simple. Even the atheist goes on living. Now, why would he do that?

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