This is the third in a series, about how we need to seek challenges, and how those challenges bring meaning and fulfillment to our lives. In the first post we looked at the Unabomber and how he was driven by his belief that the hard goals – the difficult problems the world needed to solve – were already done. The only goals left were the easy ones and the impossible ones, thus no real meaning or fulfillment in life, no reason to continue.
My thesis is that you need stretch goals which are difficult to achieve, to live a life of meaning. And when you don’t have them, you live a life of existing and distractions.
Even more important though, than having those goals, is the thought process you need to go through to develop them...
Doing the process of setting those goals make you think about your future, and accept responsibility for your own life. You lead a more mindful and proactive life, which is conducive to creating meaning.
Organized religion has inadvertently led people away from the critical thinking necessary to create meaningful lives. Because not unlike the Unabomber, religion discourages the hard questions – the ones that require real introspection and analysis – and lead you to meaning.
Religion believes there are simple easy “truths,” and they program those truths into children at an early age. (An example would be the stories in Christianity around Jesus and the manger, the three wise men, etc.) Then there are the unknown, mysterious things that cannot be explained, because only god knows. (Why a quarter of a million people die in a tsunami, why kids get cancer, etc.) So we have the easy truths and the unknowable ones. Then things fall off a cliff.
Because all of what’s left is the doctrines and dogma, which must never be questioned if you’re a good Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. Most of these doctrines and dogma are sky god superstitions from the Stone Age, requiring the person believing them to disengage their curiosity, critical thinking and rationality. Hardly a good formula to discover meaning.
What do you think?
You are unfortunately right Randy. The traditional Christianity which is the faith that I profess, does not offer critucal thijking from the pulpit or even in groups.
I would be quick to add though that, there is a small group within Christian circles that are opening up to "divergent" thinking and as a result, issues like social justice/ success and contribution to life outside if the Book are being addressed more openly and positively...
Religion is an awful business model doing more harm than any other. How can one purposefully reduce a Human Being to a mindless sheep groveling on their knees. Despicable, it's so refreshing this perversion is in decline.
Someone once told me there are over 4,000 religions in the world today and I often ask, "What is the right one?" The answer of course is the one that person follows, although there is a caveat...
As long as the follower is not so blind as to appreciate that their religion can never be "the one true path" and they are open to the thoughts of others.
Of course, one of the challenges of religion is that those who follow most religions are not open to interpretation of a different viewpoint. That is an awful position to be in and it is one of the major causes of bigotry - certainly in Britain, where I live.
not a whole lot more things more exciting than making a plan, persevering, and creating a desirable outcome through problem solving.
sounds like you might be an atheist or have had bad experiences with religion however if there was a God would you be willing to obey Him?
I find your question fascinating! I'm not opposed to answering it, but first want to know a couple things? Why are you asking it, and how do you think that subject applies to the topic above?
You are absolutely correct in saying that organised religion discourages the hard questions, primarily because, not having answers, they require credulity. Whether those answers would be acceptable by the majority if they had them is another question. My own experience is that acceptance of "truth," religious or otherwise, is more subjective than objective.
The bible, on the other hand, encourages real introspection and analysis. Today's world is extremely challenging for a theist, not because bone cancer proves God does not exist. If someone chooses to believe that, that's up to them of course. However, I don't personally believe it is proof of God's non-existence, although I can well understand why a person may feel strongly about this. For me, it raise questions such as,
1) If a God of love actually did exist, why would this God allow a child to have bone cancer, allow genocide, allow deception on a global scale, and even death itself when we actually have a strong desire to continue living when all things are well and good (both ourselves and our loved ones).
2) Is he powerless to deal with these things, or if he has the power, will he ever intervene to make sure "his will is done on earth as it is in heaven? - If so, when?
An atheist 'knows' there is no answer because God, of course, does not exist.
Faith is not credulity - Faith has a basis for it's existence. It manifests in a person's life as a result of absorbing knowledge, deep meditative introspection, and strong conviction. It does not mean that we have to know everything, but it does mean that we have enough accurate information to be convinced that we are moving in the right direction; Meditating on principles, and the experiences and outcomes of others who have applied or ignored them, could be one way that could help here.
In Acts 17 the Thessalonians liked what Paul told them, but checked for themselves to see if it was in line with the scriptures before becoming believers.
Acts 17:10-12: Immediately by night the brothers sent both Paul and Silas to Be·roeʹa. On arriving, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they accepted the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore, many of them became believers,
Rather than cloud our futures, religion should provide the basis for a solid future. However...
The bible encourages deep research \and meditative introspection before becoming a believer.
This is a principle that should be applied to all walks of life.
The real 'cloud' is more likely to be our own subjectivity which raises interesting hard questions for believers interested in their long term future - Matthew 7:13-14
@ Nicolaas: What if the scriptures are man made? That's the challenge of using the Bible to prove the existence of God. ex: He exists because it's in the Bible.