The Meaning of Life: Who Does the Culture Say We Are? — Part I

We’ve been investigating the meaning of life and the question: Who are we? Today we look at who our culture says we are. To spare you a long post, I’ve divided this into two parts.

The messages about God from modern society seem to coalesce around a few themes, a mixture of ism’s: nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism, and apathy (Okay, that’s not an “ism”). Let’s summarize its message:

descent_of_man1. We are the end-product of evolution.

We are here because of randomness and chance, not because any God created us. We exist because of the random collision of atoms, leading to a mutation of genes that created man from monkeys. So there’s nothing special about man. We are just another species wandering about the earth without purpose, plan, or meaning.

2. We worship the Earth, not God.

Saving the planet is the highest good. earth-dayWe must reduce our lifestyles, impoverish the poor, impoverish our nations, and avoid using our most abundant resources—all because we have a theory of what might happen in the far distant future. Never mind the chaos, poverty, economic destruction, and lifestyle reduction this creates today. What’s important is the distant future—and the planet. Since no God is in charge of the world, we must be in charge. Since we don’t understand or believe in any plan of God, we must have our own. And if ours destroys our economy, our wealth, our incomes, and society, then so be it. It’s the earth that’s important. And we’ll do what is necessary to save it. In fact we’ll eagerly change our lifestyles for the earth. But for God?—well, maybe not. Do we worship the earth? Maybe we do.

3. If God exists at all, he is irrelevant.

We live as though God does not exist. Our decisions never go before God, especially in public life. Most of us rarely ask God’s help in what we do. We are independent entities, stumbling through life on our own, making it up as we go, pulling this belief from here, another belief from there. Does it all make sense? Maybe not. Many say they believe in God. But mention his name or appeal to him in public? Never. What is never acceptable in polite society is to utter the name of Jesus.

4. If heaven exists, there are many ways to reach it.

Inclusiveness is the word. Whatever our beliefs, they must not exclude anyone. We cannot mention Christ as the only way to heaven—especially if it condemns people to Hell—because that is a narrow, arrogant, exclusive viewpoint. What about the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, spiritists, and Satanists? Don’t they have a right to their worldview? Truth is up to the individual. We can’t dictate our truths to others.

5. Truth is what we ourselves make.

Truth is personal choice. There is no absolute truth. (Except for the truth that: “There is no absolute truth.”) What we desire and feel is most important. It’s arrogant to presume the Bible has the same truths for all. How do we know what it means, anyways? Therefore, we follow our desires and engage in lifestyles that, for millennia, all successful societies have considered destructive or abhorrent. And let no one say our desires and practices are illegitimate or “sinful”. Because there is no absolute God, no right religion, we can live the way we want. Relax, because there will be no consequences—in this life or the next.

We’ll continue this post next time with Part II, ending with a poem that neatly summarizes it all.