Four Questions, Four Answers (No Superstition Needed)

Over at En Tequila Es Verdad is a post about a guy who thinks he has four questions that only a deity can answer. Pasted here for reference:

While Callan tends to focus on geology, he occasionally takes off after politics, pseudoscience, and religion. He’s not afraid to be honest. And that honesty extends to people he respects. People like Bill Hooke, who is a scientist blogging about climate policy, a Christian man who has four questions he thinks only Jesus can answer.

Today, Bill wrote a post entitled “Environmental scientists as Christians.” In it, he describes his own Christianity and how there is only a little overlap between “Church Bill” and “Work Bill.” My long-time readers will know that I do not subscribe to any religious ideology. I find religion superfluous to the reality that I find around me on a daily basis: it’s what a philosopher would call “philosophical naturalism” (as opposed to science, which operates under “methodological naturalism,” which doesn’t necessarily preclude the possibility of supernatural beings; it just can’t detect them). So it really struck to me to read Bill’s ruminations on that topic. This is a gentleman and a scholar, and he apparently has given a lot of thought to these issues.

In the post, he “quotes” (paraphrasing from memory) the evangelical preacher Billy Graham, who says

There are four reasons we need Jesus… four questions we can’t answer without Him.

1. Does my life matter? Is it possible for my life to have meaning?

2. How can I handle my loneliness, the loneliness I feel even in a crowd, or even (or perhaps especially) when with people who are close to me?

3. How can I bear my crushing burden of guilt? And by that I don’t mean as measured by some external standard such as the Ten Commandments, but rather my own judgment of myself…that I have fallen short of my potential.

4. What happens to me after I die?

I like the En Tequila Es Verdad blog and I have some sweat in this game mentioned here, so I thought I’d add to the response. No, I don’t and probably won’t have the be all and end all answers but I do have my own. Here you go:

1. Does my life matter? Is it possible for my life to have meaning?

Personally, I feel that this question can only be asked by someone who desperately seeks existential understanding. Magic books and ghosts are not the place to seek an answer. Meaning is a subjective term so when it is asked, the context is very important. I have written already about meaning in life and it is derived from what you personally ascribe to your life and what others ascribe to your life. If you or anyone ascribes value to any action you take or if you derive pleasure or satisfaction from any of your experiences then your life has meaning. Perhaps this is not the grand self-centered meaning you seek, but it is meaning. Who is it exactly that told you that there is meaning? If it’s the same people telling you how to live you need to run away from them as fast as you can. That is the oldest scam on the books.

2. How can I handle my loneliness, the loneliness I feel even in a crowd, or even (or perhaps especially) when with people who are close to me?

Really? It is not that hard, or at least the answer is not complex. Loneliness is a lack, a feeling of loss. You simply need more self confidence. Yes, that was the simple explanation. The trouble is that it doesn’t get get any easier to explain. Your loneliness is not someone else’s problem. Those other people have it too. If you feel that you cannot deal with it dig inside yourself and ask why. Quit asking for an explanation and starting asking yourself WHY you feel lonely. As my grandparents were fond of saying, no one ever told you that life is fair… so get over it. Quit asking someone else to explain your self indulgent pains. There is nothing new under the sun and all that. You are NOT the only one feeling lonely. Get over it and start focusing on the next adventure instead of why nobody seems to love you. Get out of your bubble; get out of your paradigm; get out of your self pity. Quit asking me to validate your selfishness.

3. How can I bear my crushing burden of guilt? And by that I don’t mean as measured by some external standard such as the Ten Commandments, but rather my own judgment of myself… that I have fallen short of my potential.

Seriously? This is your own doing. Guilt you must have had piled on you by some nefarious outside source. Such guilt is NOT natural. It is against human nature. When you feel guilty, apologize and make amends. If that is not possible, forget it, move on and vow not to do so again. The instant that you need someone else’s approval to feel good about your life … well, that is the instant that you are doing it wrong.

4. What happens to me after I die?

Nobody knows for certain because … well, they are dead. There are no guarantees and no evidence of what happens. None. Quit worrying about it, really. No matter what happens when you die you still have to live this life. Forget the day after you die and start thinking about today. If you want to live in fear, go ahead. I don’t advise it. You should live each moment as if it were your last; each moment as if it were the one that would give meaning to your life. If you want crushing guilt, feel it because you wasted it worrying about what an invisible skydaddy is supposed to want for your life even though he is supposed to have known all along what you would do from the beginning of time. Other than that, exercise your free will and live life. Each day is an experience… enjoy them all in some way. It gives meaning to life. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone who thinks their life could not be complete without having known you. Then you’ll know meaning. There is no reason to worry about what happens after. You should be ultra-busy worrying about what happens now, what happens next. anything about after death is just wasteful.



About these ads
  1. Cool! You made me laugh a lot.

    Thanks.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 537 other followers

%d bloggers like this: