My Philosophy of Life
I believe that the single most important thing we can do in life is to serve the purpose for which we were created. This is my philosophy of life. Please allow me to explain why this must be true, and what this means for us in practical terms. I hope that what I’ve written is not offensive to you, and that if it is you will forgive me. My intentions are to put to paper what I am constantly obsessed with.
I believe that a sad commentary on the arrogance of society today is that we believe that most, if not all, things can be proven, and that we have the capability of understanding these things. Since the beginning of history as we know it we have tried desperately to figure everything out, from understanding the ‘building blocks’ of the life to comprehending the vast extent and shape of the universe. We’ve studied and sought to come up with theories on how time started, how life began, how it has progressed, how it is sustained, and where it is headed. Our best and most brilliant minds have studied these topics and in them we have placed our trust. The problem in all of this is that there is almost nothing we can prove with absolute certainty. In the grand scheme of things we are so small, and our ‘wisdom’ amounts to little more than educated guessing based upon heaps of assumptions. I know that sounds harsh, but we would find it impossible to live without assumptions. We have all observed patterns in life and we all base our lives on assumptions that these patterns will continue. I assume that when I handed you this letter, you will accept it, and I hope that you read it! I don’t know if this is what will happen, but time will tell. We assume that when we eat we will be full. We assume that when we go to sleep, we will wake up. We assume that when we breathe oxygen will enter into our lungs and go through our bloodstream feeding our muscles and allowing us to move freely and continue on with life. We observe these patterns, directly or indirectly, and live our lives accordingly. The problem with all of this is that these assumptions will probably not always be true. Anyone of us could go to sleep tonight and not wake up tomorrow. I could swallow a bite of food which gets lodged into my throat and causes me to choke, with the food never reaching its desired destination. Any of us could take a breath only to have our heart stop, ending the flow of oxygen rich blood to oxygen deprived muscles. Our lives are out of our hands. We are not in control. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t even know what is going on today. I don’t mean to be dark, but we can’t really learn until we embrace how much we cannot know. The beliefs we all hold and the choices we all make are crafted out of assumptions we’ve built based upon what our very finite minds have observed and can comprehend.
A simple proof for this is as follows:
We can take the absurdity of this to another level in a different example to prove the point:
The sad thing is that there are cultures in tribes across Papua New Guinea that believe myths not far off from the flying monkey scenario. This is called Animism. If we were omniscient we would know all things and would’ve have to worry about any of this. In fact, this is the only way we could have any real ‘proof’. We would then know the exact course of life and we would know that all alternatives are wrong and therefore we can discard them. But no matter how much evidence we gather, since we have finite human minds and senses, we cannot prove this belief system to be wrong. What I am saying here is that reason, logic, and evidence only take us so far. Faith that our assumptions are valid and based upon credible evidence is absolutely necessary. Using this introduction as proof that faith, at least to some degree, is a necessity, let’s take a look at what I believe to be the single most compelling evidence as to why there must be a Creator.
One scientific law is far greater than the rest, and allows all logic and reason to be possible. This is the Law of Cause and Effect. For every effect, there is some cause behind it. Ripples don’t grace the surface of water without cause. A pebble, wind, or some other force must be in effect that results in this effect. Gravity causes apples to fall, waves to crash, and holds and binds all of our earth together, making life possible. Yet even gravity itself is an effect. It is an effect of the earths mass taken together in conjunction with all other mass in existence coupled with speed and rotation which set gravity at approximately 9.8 meters per second squared for objects near the surface of the earth. And yet, scientific laws that are set in order dictate that gravity behaves in such a manner. Newton’s Theory of Universal Gravitation states that the gravitational force is equal to the Gravitational Constant * (mass of object 1 * mass of object 2) / (radius between the two objects) ^ 2. Yet when you throw this law into space and combine with theories of relativity we have observed, masses we have never observed moving at speeds we have never recorded and vectors unknown, it all amounts to the conclusion that we have no idea what in the crap we’re talking about in the first place. Yet we’re so set on trying to figure all this out and how we can apply it that we miss the very underlying principle that gives meaning to any of this. What is the cause behind all these laws? What set them in motion? We can explain how aerodynamics allow a butterfly to fly, but we can’t explain why. Who created the rules? Where did time come from and why? What set the stars in place and aflame, and why? What is the cause behind our very existence? Science is utterly devoid of an answer here, and even if it held some semblance of an answer we couldn’t even know for sure it was true. There is no such thing as randomness. Every single thing happens for a reason. The wind moves in apparent randomness and yet all it is is nature correcting an imbalance of pressure along the earth’s surface. In our ignorance we classify it as random, when in reality there is absolutely zero randomness in where the wind comes from or where it goes. It has no other option than to go where it must to equalize pressure. The same is true with all of nature. Why does genetic information behave the way it does when it replicates into DNA for an infant in the womb? We don’t know, so in our ignorance we classify mutations as ‘random’, and have taken liberties with this lack of understanding to build a theory of best guesses that absolves responsibility for human action and resulting consequences thereof. We don’t know how time originated, yet so we have taken liberties with expanding it as far back as possible, giving an infinite amount of chances for the improbable mutations to occur, perhaps even throwing parallel universes in (after all, we cannot prove they don’t exist) to give life a chance to appear and evolve to the intricate state it is at in the world today. Our feeble evidence and lack of understanding, ignorance, presuppositions, and assumptions are all we have to go off of, so we have crafted a convenient theory or two of our own that fits what we want to believe and have called it science. All who oppose are merely clinging to this antiquated thing called ‘faith’, which is an adversary of rational thinking and logic. This is what we have done to ourselves, and it has given us the freedom to justify anything we do with the reason that we are not accountable to anything or anyone for our actions. I can’t say for certain this was intentional on our part, but it sure is convenient and evidences an unimaginable amount of ignorance and arrogance.
For the chain of Cause and Effect to exist, and subsequently for science to make any sense at all, there must be an uncaused cause that operates outside the bounds of the parameters of what we have experienced as scientific ‘Law’ here on earth. For instance, since time as we have always observed is always in forward motion, there must have been a point at which it was set in motion. Even those that subscribe to the idea that this is all one cosmic loop have to agree that the loop itself is an effect set into motion by some lawbreaking cause. The Law of Cause and Effect mandates an uncaused Creator. The problem we face now is coming to any kind of rational understanding of what this Creator is or looks like. Once again, we still face an infinite number of theories which cannot be disproven but still invalidate theories based upon our best observations. Let’s examine the evidence, and make the most rational assumptions we can! Please allow me the liberty of calling the Creator God.
The list could go on, and I confess that these points are assumptions made based upon evidence that a cynical or bitter person (who probably tries to call themself a ‘realist’) would interpret in an entirely different manner. That’s fine. That’s faith in a different God based upon assumptions gathered from their life experience and observations. I believe the evidence points to an entirely different picture of God. Particularly when Jesus Christ, recorded by historians to have walked the earth a couple millennia ago, is taken into consideration. Consider the words of Josephus, a Jew, and not a Christian, writing from Rome sometime around turn of the first century, AD.
"Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works- a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again on the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day" (18.3.3).
And this is just one of many references made concerning Jesus that point to His death, resurrection, ministry, and message as given to us in the Gospels. I actually encountered this passage in a secular textbook used as curriculum at the University of Kansas, where they actually omitted any reference to the deity of Jesus, His death at the hands of the Jews (‘principle men amongst us’) , His resurrection, and His miracles. There was no stated reason why these portions were taken away (or altered, in one case!), but then the following section espoused the ‘facts’ that Jesus was crucified by the Romans and a myth was rampant that he had raised from the dead, but that He probably was nothing more than a wise teacher who never claimed to be God. This in the curriculum of a public school receiving funds from the government, one that parades the idea of ‘separation of church and state’! How convenient, right? It is a religious viewpoint to believe the Bible is God’s Word, that Jesus died, rose again- that we may have life, but to state the contrary is not? This is a sad commentary of how certain assumptions have infiltrated our school system and threaten our very right to think freely.
The evidence for Christ’s deity and the validity of the Gospels stretches on. Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls suggest that portions of the book of John were written before 50 AD. The book of John is widely considered the last Gospel written. The disciples, scribes, and witnesses were around when those Gospels were written. They are accurate depictions written by humans who either directly observed and experienced the ministry of Jesus, or had access to those that did and scribes that had recorded His words verbatim. In fact, they were so convinced early on in the deity and message of Christ that when mass persecution arose merely a few years after Christ left the earth that they were more willing to part with their lives than this belief. James, Jesus’ own brother, was among such believers. Of all people, a brother would be skeptical of his brother making a claim to be God! Something happened back then that was of an immense magnitude- enough to completely alter the course of all humanity. One life, one death, and one message, has irrevocably impacted the course of history in an unprecedented manner that never has occurred and will never occur again.
All of this to say that while each is entitled to their own belief regarding Christ, there is ample evidence out there to fully support the validity of the scriptures.
Let’s turn back to philosophy for a moment. No decision ever made by any human being has ever been random. Every action is the result of an internal system of assumptions and beliefs. No one has ever done anything ‘on accident’. While the resulting consequences may not be the desired ones, the actions are always deliberate. For example, I could get into a car accident, but the actions that led to the wreck were certainly deliberate. I meant to turn left, but had no idea of the oncoming truck in the left lane. For the school instructor this may look a bit different: while kids may ‘accidentally’ hit one another, they certainly weren’t ‘accidentally’ throwing punches, right? We don’t ‘accidentally’ lie, cheat, steal, or behave in such a manner that promotes our own well-being over the well-being of those around us. These are all deliberate actions, and we are all deliberately guilty as charged. If this wasn’t bad enough, we aren’t judged according to human standards (a lie results in a slap on the wrist), rather according to the purposes set down for us by our Creator God. God had some ‘effect’ in mind for us when He created us, there is some reason we were ‘caused’. The problem that we have is that our evil is certainly contrary to this effect, and therefore we are fully at God’s mercy and held to the standard by which we were created. This is as anything we create, or even own, on earth is at our mercy. Once it stops brining us benefit it is due for the wastebasket. The clay pot fired improperly that has cracks is good for little more than to be broken. Thankfully for us, in God’s mercy and according to trustworthy historical scriptures that have been faithfully transcribed and handed down to us by scribes, God is forgiving and asks that we turn to Him for forgiveness. His wrath for our failures- which must exist- was fully poured out on His Son, Jesus, on our behalf, and for our sake, that all we must do is turn to Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. God knows we are fallen creatures, prone to much sin- and even in one sin we are exposed as fallible and broken- and therefore what He asks of us is that we simply turn to Him and accept His forgiveness.
I don’t mean to over-simplify the issue here. A simple prayer alone without meaningful repentance or motivation towards pleasing God will not suffice. God knows our hearts and judges us accordingly. True repentance from our sins- our failure as humans to live lives worthy of the One who created us- will always result in a change of heart, change in ways, and an overflow of gratitude to live life in such a way as to bring honor to God. Scripture minces no words in the cost of becoming a Christian, saying that we are to ‘take up our crosses’ as Christ did. The idea here is that once we have been touched by God’s forgiveness we are never the same and our lives reflect a change inside that God Himself has initiated and sustains. I could write page after page of how much God has changed my heart and means so much to me personally, but I gather that this testimony is cheapened in light of the so many other ‘religions’ that claim to contain the same type of inner healing, joy, love, and peace that I know.
I believe that the single most important thing we can do in life is to serve the purpose for which we were created. This purpose is to bring God glory by allowing Him to demonstrate His mercy in my life when I fall, my devotion and thankfulness for his forgiveness by how I live my life, and His love in my life by my love towards others. God is glorified either by this or in His justice in allowing those who reject Him to be eternally separated from Him and suffer the consequences of doing so. My prayer and hope for you is that you can see the former ambition in me, and that this would stir you to seriously consider the compassionate and loving Creator God as described by scripture as Jesus Christ as worthy of your life.