1. Joined
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    18 Dec '15 22:36
    Here is a link to an article entitled God and the Meaning of Life (2014) , by Ryan Stringer:

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/ryan_stringer/meaning.html

    Stringer explicitly states and addresses seven questions ( (Q1) through (Q7) ) related to God & meaning, and there is an eighth, final question he addresses in Section 5.

    Which of these questions are the most important to address? And do you agree with Stringer's answers and reasoning?
  2. Standard memberDeepThought
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    19 Dec '15 01:15
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Here is a link to an article entitled God and the Meaning of Life (2014) , by Ryan Stringer:

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/ryan_stringer/meaning.html

    Stringer explicitly states and addresses seven questions ( (Q1) through (Q7) ) related to God & meaning, and there is an eighth, final question he addresses in Section 5.

    Which of these ...[text shortened]... ions are the most important to address? And do you agree with Stringer's answers and reasoning?
    I haven't got very far through this yet, but I think he's missed something with question 1 "Does a cosmic purpose for human life require God's existence?". I don't agree that our possession of a "cosmic purpose" is necessarily contingent on supernatural entities. As an imperfect example, in von Neumann's interpretation of quantum mechanics the mind of the observer collapses the wave function. So the first observer capable of collapsing a wave function would be the observer that determines what the universe is like for all possible worlds (where the accessibility relation is universes that could have evolved from whatever the initial state of our universe is, but didn't due to wavefunction collapse). If we are the descendent species of that observer we have cosmic significance. This isn't quite cosmic purpose (our ancestor already did that) and hardly anyone believes the von Neumann interpretation but it illustrates that a "cosmic purpose" can't be ruled out just because the "supernatural" is assumed not to exist.
  3. Joined
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    19 Dec '15 02:28
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    I haven't got very far through this yet, but I think he's missed something with question 1 "Does a cosmic purpose for human life require God's existence?". I don't agree that our possession of a "cosmic purpose" is necessarily contingent on supernatural entities. As an imperfect example, in von Neumann's interpretation of quantum mechanics the mind of ...[text shortened]... t a "cosmic purpose" can't be ruled out just because the "supernatural" is assumed not to exist.
    Agreed. While I agree with Stringer that the answer to (Q1) is no, I do not agree with his further assertion that it does require the existence of some supernatural entity or entities. He just sort of says "of course" this holds, which is not too satisfying. He is relying implicitly on some claims here that he feels need no explicit justifying, but that seems dubious.
  4. Cape Town
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    19 Dec '15 09:12
    I have seen good arguments that we are simulations in the Matrix. Would the creator of the matrix be considered 'supernatural'?
  5. Cape Town
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    19 Dec '15 09:18
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    If we are the descendent species of that observer we have cosmic significance. This isn't quite cosmic purpose (our ancestor already did that) and hardly anyone believes the von Neumann interpretation but it illustrates that a "cosmic purpose" can't be ruled out just because the "supernatural" is assumed not to exist.
    As you say, it isn't quite cosmic purpose. Purpose does tend to imply intellect and intent.
  6. Standard membersonship
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    19 Dec '15 09:282 edits
    The article says:

    " For even if life is meaningless in this larger but unimportant sense, it is not necessarily meaningless in the other, important sense—the lack of cosmic purpose to life in no way entails that life cannot be particularly valuable, worthwhile, or fulfilling. "
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Of course, thank God we can keep ourselves occupied with personal goals which make our lives meaningful.

    But it may be easy for us to say who deem that we have plenty of time. To be fair I think you have to consult those who are just at the exit of their lives to give their sense of it. That is assuming they could really bring themselves to tell others honestly how they feel at the very end.

    Since that moment of final exit, when one looks back (assuming he or she has a conscious moment to reflect), and decides - "Did it all mean something for me ?"
    I don't know what would be said.

    With most I think it has been none of anyone else's business while they lived. It might still be none of anyone else's business at the point of death as well. I mean "Did my life mean anything ?" is a very personal matter. And the honest answer, the honest final reply, I think, would have to be said at the very end of one's life.

    In the meantime, sure, one can occupy herself on himself with purposeful projects, hopefully they will be worthwhile ones that do no harm to others.
  7. Standard membersonship
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    19 Dec '15 09:40
    Then he writes:

    . In fact, I cannot help but think that having purpose imposed on us from the outside is detrimental to having a meaningful life in the second, important sense.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As a Christian I don't consider God imposes from the OUTSIDE something UPON me.
    Rather Jesus spoke of eternal life willing up from within like a gushing fountain. In other words He spoke of the eternal Spirit subjectively gushing up within to saturate and permeate the saved man.

    " Jesus answered and said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life. " (John 4:13,14)



    Some skeptic may recoil that Jesus comes to impose some purpose from outside. But Christ speaks of Him getting on the innermost inside and springing up from within unto eternal life.

    He is very "thirst" quenching in that regard.
  8. Standard membersonship
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    19 Dec '15 09:491 edit
    Protest ?

    Perhaps the root idea here is that if our lives end in nothingness, they cannot really be meaningful. This implies that a meaningful life must be one that does not end in nothingness. And a theistic worldview, unlike a naturalistic one, can ensure that life does not end in nothingness—the end of earthly life is merely a transition to immortal life in another realm. We therefore need God, so the thinking goes, to ensure that life does not end in nothingness, which in turn allows our lives to be meaningful.

    Once again, those who buy this line of thinking are guilty of a lack of imagination:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Interesting. I haven't finished yet.

    Once again, those who buy this line of thinking are guilty of a lack of imagination: God is not the only supernatural being that can ensure that life does not end in nothingness—there are several other possible supernatural beings that could do so. Thus the answer to Q2 is: No, life's meaningfulness in the second, important sense does not require God's existence.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Musing on this "lack of imagination" problem, I would respond: The love of God in Jesus Christ, flooding into one's inner being subjectively, is really a hard act to follow.
  9. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    19 Dec '15 10:03
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I have seen good arguments that we are simulations in the Matrix. Would the creator of the matrix be considered 'supernatural'?
    "Any sufficiently evolved technology appears to us as magic"
  10. Standard membersonship
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    19 Dec '15 10:05
    This is interesting LemonJello.

    Then he says:

    The intuitions suggesting a connection between meaningful lives and supernaturalism are very powerful and seductive. For if—as naturalism implies—our lives end in nothingness, then aren't our lives for nothing? Isn't everything we do, whether for ourselves or others, for nothing? If so, then how can our lives be meaningful? On the surface, it does look like naturalism's implication that we cease to exist at death dooms life to meaninglessness in the second, important sense. But a little reflection shows that this is simply not true.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well, again it maybe easy for him to say. He's not at the final exit. He is full of youthful enthusiasm, hope and plans, lots of stuff he still has to do.

    I think you need to check with someone on the verge of checking out. Assuming that what has been exceedingly private he would now want to divulge to another. There are some who would share their parting thoughts.


    By the way, the Bible reserves one whole book - Ecclesiastes as a kind on nihilistic musings of a theist (mind you) of the vanity of his life. And he had lots of women, pleasure, riches, art, wisdom, renown, fame, fortune - Solomon..

    Forgive me, but I am interested in the last thoughts of anyone who had 600 wives and wealth to throw away. Hey, what can I tell you !
  11. Standard membersonship
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    19 Dec '15 10:141 edit
    But this just pushes the issue one step back: what then makes the external something (in this case, Heaven) meaningful? In order to infuse earthly life with meaning, Heavenly existence must be meaningful, too. And yet, unlike the meaning of earthly existence, the meaning of Heavenly existence must be intrinsic to that existence because such existence is "for nothing" in the same way that earthly life in a naturalistic world is for nothing. (Something along similar lines will be true of anything external to earthly life that is ultimately responsible for its meaning.) Now if Heaven, or anything else, can be intrinsically meaningful—and something must be so if life is to have meaning at all—then life in a naturalistic world could also be intrinsically meaningful. So even though life in a naturalistic world is for nothing in the sense of it being for nothing external to life, this does not doom such life to meaninglessness because, like Heavenly existence, it can be intrinsically meaningful.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There seems to be some truth to this. However, "Heaven" is not spoken of as a final destination of believers.

    Being conformed to the image of Christ as the Firstborn Son of God is much more the destination.

    "Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers." (Rom. 8:29)


    He is saying God's eternal purpose is to mass produce Jesus, the standard model of what God meant by human being. Firstborn among a mass production of many brothers to this Son of God.
  12. Cape Town
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    19 Dec '15 10:15
    Originally posted by sonship
    Since that moment of final exit, when one looks back (assuming he or she has a conscious moment to reflect), and decides - "Did it all mean something for me ?"
    I don't know what would be said.

    With most I think it has been none of anyone else's business while they lived. It might still be none of anyone else's business at the point of death as well. I ...[text shortened]... r, the honest final reply, I think, would have to be said at the very end of one's life.
    Why would ones deathbed thoughts be any more important than any other thoughts might have on the topic? If on my deathbed I decide that my life was meaningless, how does that take away from what I think about it now? At best you might claim that on ones deathbed you have more of your life to look at and to make judgements about, but I am not inclined to think that that really makes such a significant difference or makes the judgement more valid or valuable. In addition there is a strong possibility that you will not remember much of your life and that your mental faculties will have changed and wont necessarily be superior to what they are now.
  13. Standard membersonship
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    19 Dec '15 10:322 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    We are talking out of our experience. We don't know what our feeling will be because we haven't had the experience yet of checking out. That is basically what I am saying.

    It is easy for us to talk now because we deem that we have plenty of tomorrows to go.

    If on my deathbed I decide that my life was meaningless, how does that take away from what I think about it now?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It may not. And I think you should be glad about it.
    And there is nothing wrong with contemplating how one will feel when "today" is that last one.

    At best you might claim that on ones deathbed you have more of your life to look at and to make judgements about, but I am not inclined to think that that really makes such a significant difference or makes the judgement more valid or valuable.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So you leave it up in the air - maybe, maybe not. I think you are always looking back and reviewing. This fuels the present, your evaluating the past. I think we look back and evaluate our course. We chart our course towards tomorrow largly by reviewing our past.

    I suspect you'll find some thing to disagree with about that.
    "No we don't?" is that what you will next say ?

    In addition there is a strong possibility that you will not remember much of your life and that your mental faculties will have changed and wont necessarily be superior to what they are now.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I spend some time with very old folks. That is true. But it is more like, the very essential matters of what they have lived, they remember. Minutia is what has slipped away.
  14. Standard membersonship
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    19 Dec '15 10:43
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    "Any sufficiently evolved technology appears to us as magic"
    "Any sufficiently evolved technology appears to us as magic"
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Do you ever ask yourself, like "What NET advance has really been made ?"

    This marvelous computer is before me. I can do a lot of things with it.
    But hackers are constantly trying to feed me with viruses.
    Ad ware seeks to track my movements to sell me stuff.
    Identity theft is a constant concern.
    You look for some decent comment on some lecture or YouTube and most comments are laced with foul language and people losing their tempers, cussing at others.
    Companies crowd your screen with things they just KNOW you should be interested to buy.
    The most evil people are plotting to blow up or kill, communicating on social media.


    Yes, there is some advancement. Do you ask "For this step forward, did we take a corresponding step or two backwards too?"

    With this evolution of technology do you ever ask what real NET advancement has been made ?
  15. Standard membersonship
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    19 Dec '15 10:541 edit
    " First of all, there are many things that we find meaningful even though they only last for a finite period of time. For instance, I used to work at a mental health center, and though the job was not as fulfilling as academia, it was still meaningful for me even though it lasted for only about three years. In the summer of 2011 I taught an introductory logic class at Michigan State University, and it was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life even though it lasted less than two months. Now if these temporally finite things can be intrinsically meaningful, then why can't temporally finite lives be intrinsically meaningful as well? I see no reason to think that they cannot be while numerous other temporally finite things can be."
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That sounds right to me too.
    You can be happy in projects and purposes that occupy your talents, skills, interests, etc.

    Thank God for that. (Or well its not a bad idea).
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