What’s The Meaning of All This?!

Posted: October 27, 2014 in Blog Post
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At some point in our lives we will inevitably find ourselves asking questions about life. When we encounter victory or defeat, loss or gain, and pain or pleasure we might ask, “Why are we experiencing this?”, “What is our purpose?”, or “Is there meaning to all of this?”  The answer to all these questions depends on our worldview.

To answer these questions about meaning in our lives, we need to look at the next piece of the reality puzzle—Meaning. Remember that for a worldview to be an accurate one, it must answer the big questions adequately without causing a contradiction between them. With origin as our starting point, how do we address the question of meaning?

If we are to view our origins from the perspective of a naturalist/atheist, then we have to say that the concept of meaning is essentially meaningless. Think for a second what this view entails: the universe was created by nothing and for no reason, and all life—including human life—is simply the product of natural processes. With this view, we are essentially a giant bag of chemicals. All the things we think are meaningful, like reason, rationality, love, friendship, purpose, are really just an illusion created by chemical reactions in our brain—we don’t really love our spouse or kids, it is just chemicals doing their thing. Even things like reason and rationality can’t exist within this worldview. How can a person say they became an atheist by using reason and rationality, if all that is really happening is a series of chemical events in their brain to make them believe in atheism?

If we take a look at our culture, especially the celebrity culture, we see that many of those who claim to be atheists are desperately seeking love, affection, and affirmation; often driven to mental breakdown, drug abuse, multiple plastic surgeries, and suicide in pursuit of these things. Yet they fail to see that their worldview cannot make sense of their need for love, because in their worldview love is just an illusion. Despite this, they continue in an endless spiral of attempts to establish meaning in their lives, becoming slaves to public opinion and material success. If atheism/naturalism is true, then the meaning that these people are seeking and often times killing themselves to obtain is really just an illusion created by their biology. It’s not real. Their current desire for meaning, love, or anything else is nothing more than a chemical reaction in their brains that follows other chemical reactions, like a big line of dominoes. When the last domino falls there is no meaning or purpose to it. It certainly didn’t choose to fall. It just got knocked over by the ones before it. In atheism, everything we think and do is the exact same thing, and therefore has no real value at all.

It only takes a little self-reflection to see that love is a real thing. We all hunger for love, acceptance, friendship, justice, and purpose—things not made of particles or chemicals or matter. These concepts can’t be the product of chemical reactions and particles clashing. Love does not have a chemical composition. Justice does not weigh anything. A worldview which believes only in the material world, such as atheism, renders such things meaningless.

For example, when a mother holds her child in her arms and is brought to tears by the love she feels for the child, it seems irrational to say her feelings are nothing more than some firing neurons in her brain, or some particles bumping around causing chemical reactions and creating this illusion she calls “love” for her child. Is it rational to say that all that we hold as valuable and good and beautiful seems that way because of how our chemicals reacted? Those who try to promote the idea that we are nothing more than matter still think they love their wives and children. They still think people should treat them with respect. And my guess is, they think those concepts are real and meaningful. Their worldview; however, does not explain the undeniable reality they face. It is at this point that the atheist is forced to steal from the Christian worldview to make sense of such ideas.

Once again the Christian worldview makes perfect sense of the reality of meaning and the purpose we all seek and experience. Within the Christian worldview we are not the products of random chemical reactions, but purposefully created in the image of God and gifted with intrinsic value—a value that cannot be taken away. We have a God-given purpose in this life. Our built-in intuitions of love, justice, meaning, and morality are a direct reflection of Him, who created us. As we search the Scriptures we see that our life has a purpose, set forth by God, and that our greatest sense of meaning comes from an intimate relationship with Him.

As we saw last time, the rational and scientific evidence tells us that our origins are no accident. Likewise, it seems safe to assume that our sense of meaning and our concepts of things like love are not illusions. They are as real as we think they are.

Molecules crashing into each other cannot explain things like love, justice, morality, and meaning. The atheistic worldview falls short, once again, in its ability to explain reality. Most atheists are unaware of how big this problem is for them. Most will adamantly say they believe in things like love, and yet embrace a worldview in which there is no such thing as love! When a person’s worldview contradicts itself constantly, it is time for them to change their worldview!

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Comments
  1. Tyler says:

    Hey Nick! This one got me thinking. First off I would love to know who these scientists are that were providing you with this “scientific evidence”. How do they measure love if it’s undeniably true? What are the physical properties of love? The answer is they can’t. However what they are able to measure is the chemical reactions in the brain, or the rate of speed increase of the heart when a person sees a picture of someone they care about, or passionately kissing someone they are in love with. Love is simply a word we use to describe this strong feeling of happiness. The same can be said for anger and hate. We are able to see and detect changes in the brain when confronted with disturbing images or a horrific memory. Crediting our amazing sense of being and intelligence to an invisible creator, is not truly appreciating the odds and the hurdles we’ve surpassed to get as far as we have come. It’s incredibly remarkable!

    Now for all this talk about Atheists being lost, confused and always searching for a reason to live is just nonsense. I know many atheists and none of them are suicidal and we are just as happy as any person of faith if not happier. Knowing that this is the one life we get just makes everything and every moment that much more beautiful. I was raised in a fairly religious family and believe me, it’s so nice to not have to constantly be watching your back thinking there’s someone always watching and judging you. You can just live your life without this superstitious fear.

    You say Atheists are much more likely to be tied down to material things. Well as for the atheists I know, some do have nice things and good jobs. But then some live in little homes, grow their own food, have very few possessions and don’t have good jobs. I’m sure the same can be said for most Christians too. You can have both and some in the middle. I’m going to take a poke at your particular religion for a minute. How many televangelists and evangelical preachers do you see on late night TV trying to sell their bogus magic water or special jewelry that was hand crafted by the guidance of the lord himself?? Some live in mansions, wear thousand dollar suits, and sell videos at church to these poor people who put all their faith and hope into the hands of some guy. Desperate to be given the answers nobody can give. Now if that isn’t wanting material objects and greed i don’t know what is.

    No one believes in Atheism. Atheism is the lack of belief.

    Saying that feelings and life in general are basically an illusion to atheists is not the case. I have very deep feelings for my family, my friends and even my dog. I associate those feelings with the term “Love”. The people I love are very real and so are the feelings I get when they love me back. It’s truly meaningful and has purpose. Caring for one another for the short time we’re on this rock flying through space is all we have. It’s essential to do good in this world when there’s so much wrong. Then everybody can live a little happier. That’s more real than anything. Especially when you do it without expecting a reward when the end eventually does arrive.

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    • defendingyourfaith says:

      Hey Tyler! It’s me again back for another round haha.

      I enjoyed your comments as always, although I did feel that you misrepresented some of my points, or possibly misunderstood them. Let’s see if I can keep the ball rolling…

      In regards to the scientific evidence I made reference to, that was actually in regards to our origins, and the fact that science has shown the utter irrationality of believing that life spontaneously emerged from non-life, with no intervention. As I have said, the best scientists in the best labs in the world can’t do that. I do however agree to an extent that our brains can be monitored to examine what happens when we experience love or anger, although I am not sure what follows from that. If your intent was to demonstrate the ability of neuroscience to read our minds, that is simply not true. And I would also argue that attributing our sense of being and intelligence to a creator is the only logical inference that makes sense. To give credit to time plus chance plus matter to form the complex, rational, moral beings that we are is kind of like arguing that my computer was created by an explosion in a toy store. Any other time in our lives, when we witness the kind of complexity and information that exists in human beings, we know it was designed. Unless you think Mount Rushmore was formed by wind erosion over millions of years. The complexity of even one cell in your body, containing millions of bits of information, does not seem to be well explained by chance.

      I was not claiming that all atheists are lost and confused, and I am sorry if I came across that way. What I was trying to demonstrate is that whatever we choose to pursue in life, it is always in an attempt to give our lives meaning. We think these things are meaningful. It may not be material gain, but whatever it is seems meaningful to us. Genuinely meaningful. Not just a feeling created by a chemical reaction, caused by a neuron firing, formed by millions of years of blind evolution. I fail to see how our life has any real significance or meaning if all we get is seventy years, and then all we lived for, all we accumulated, all the horrible evil or charitable good we chose to do, just kind of means nothing. In the end scientists have determined the universe will be destroyed in a heat death anyway, so even any long terms effects or benefits don’t mean anything in the long run. After all, what would be the real meaning in curing cancer say, if everyone that is saved dies in the end anyway. This is the futility of a universe without God.

      I am sorry to hear about your bad experiences with religion. I know that is the case for many people. But it is vitally important Tyler that you judge a worldview not by its adherents, but by how well it explains reality. There is nothing at all about the Christian worldview for example, that says humans will not try to exploit others, even with religious talk. The Bible actually does a good job of predicting the depravity of the human heart. In fact the Apostle Paul warns specifically that people would use the name of Jesus to exploit people! I also want you to know, that despite what you experienced, I certainly do not feel like I have someone watching over my shoulder and judging me. At least not once I came to understand and admit the real Jesus and that I needed Him to forgive me. I believe that a person with that kind of view of God does not know who Jesus really is. In the Christian worldview, He doesn’t hover over our shoulders, he died for our sins – For the punishment that you and I deserved. That is not oppressive, it is liberating.

      Atheism is not just a lack of belief in God by the way. It is a positive statement that “God does not exist.” It also entails certain worldview implications, although thankfully most atheists do not live consistently within those. Things like no objective morality etc.

      At the end, you made numerous references to things like caring and good. These are moral terms that don’t fit into your worldview coherently. You said it is essential to do good in this world when there is so much wrong. That is a statement about what “ought” to be, which I happen to agree with. However, if there is not a reference point to such a statement besides humans, then I am afraid there is not much meaningful philosophical weight behind it. You may think it is essential to do good because there is so much evil, but even there you are presupposing a standard by which to differentiate between the two. Without God, it’s you vs Hitler my friend, and the person with the most power makes the rules and determines what is “good.” You say it is helping people, he says it’s exterminating the Jews and others like them.

      I don’t do good because I expect a reward, but rather because it is built into me to do. I want to save lives and help people and feed starving kids because they have intrinsic value, in and of themselves. That can’t come from evolution. That is a God-given characteristic of human beings. That is why we save a drowning baby over a drowning dog if we have to choose. That is why a newborn is so valuable even though it offers us nothing and requires so much.

      Thanks again for your thoughts and input. I really appreciate it and hope to hear back from you again buddy.

      Nic

      Like

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