Why Are We Here?

As usual Mitch has some wise and encouraging words at just the right time.

Mitch Teemley

Why Are We Here

A disenchanted agnostic friend recently asked, “What is the purpose of life? Why don’t religions tell us?”

I responded, “Jesus and others in the Bible do, in fact, tell us the purpose of life. It’s to know and love our Creator (John 3:16, John 17:3, Romans 8:28).

“OK,” he replied, “but why does our creator need us to focus on him all the time? How can that be our only purpose? Shouldn’t we each try to discover our own path, instead of simply staying true to him?”

“First of all, it’s important to not think of him* as human,” I replied, “or even as superhuman. God is not some imperfect-but-all-powerful being who egocentrically demands our attention. He doesn’t need us, we need him. Why? Because he is the source of all truth, wisdom and love. He is, in fact, love itself in its purest form (1 John 4:7-11). All other…

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6 comments

  1. Teleology is the entire point of religion (not just Christianity, but all world religions). I think one thing we are experiencing nowadays is that educational institutions are cranking out people with no real sense of what western civilization involves, and zero experiences with or consideration of primary texts. Folks are left with this impulse to hate something they cannot even competently describe. And they realize that on some level, and that’s why there is so much emotional insecurity surrounding their behavior.

    • Just wanted to be sure you knew that this is a shared post from Mitch Teemley. As to your comment, getting people to hate ( and fear) things they don’t understand makes people easy to control, just provide them with expensive and addicting ways to distract themselves from their emotions. Btw, I had to look up ‘teleology’.

      • The concept of teleology is one of the central conversations in the history of philosophy, starting with Ancient Greece (especially with respect Aristotle). In the Catholic Church (in which Aristotle was historically given a significant role) there was a lot of focus on teleology in theological writings (St Thomas Aquinas, St Augustine, etc.). Pretty much of all of Christian theology (Catholic and Protestant) is saturated with the “purpose” of faith. Both the Old and the New Testaments involve the idea of people entering into a covenant or contract with God. Your life is meaningful because you have an eternal relationship with God.

        Jesus’ life on Earth was situated in the classical world, so I guess it makes sense that he uses the vocabulary of the ancients.

        But if you look at all of the world’s religions, they all have a “purpose” to fulfill. The Jewish tradition is about observing the covenant in the Old Testament. Eastern religions are about the purification of human existence. Islam has the five pillars. They aren’t a bunch of practices that arose out of a vacuum, like a militant atheist would suggest. That’s not an argument for moral relativism on my part, just saying all religious people derive some purpose for their life through worship.

        I just about choked at his comment about how he was classified on a dating site. (“You believe what you were told to believe as a child” or something along those lines.) For an industry that wants to reduce personality to a science, they sure are bad at understanding why people think the way they do.

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