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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chapter 2: Purpose Driven

The message in this chapter is that god is omnipotent and omniscient. He loves everyone and planned all our lives to the millisecond so he could "express his love." Then there's the verse from a poem he cites by Russel Kelfer:

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you'd grow.
I wonder, how exactly does all this apply to infants who are drowned in a tsunami or hurricane flash flood? How does it apply to a woman brutally raped and killed by a lunatic? How does it apply to that lunatic?

A few other observations:

"The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me."
"God designed this planet's environment just so we could live in it."
"We are the focus of his love and the most valuable of all his creation."
"God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made."
-- But remember from the last chapter...it's not about you!

Distortion of science and knowledge
"God knew that those two individuals possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom 'you' he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you." - Wow, what a coincidence that your parents had the right DNA to make you. Gee, it's such a self-supporting (and circular) construct, isn't it?

"All the evidence available in the biological sciences supports the core proposition...that the cosmos is a specially designed whole with life and mankind as its fundamental goal and purpose, a whole in which all facets of reality have their meaning and explanation in this central fact." - This sounds much more like an opinion than a fact to me.

Bad Logic
"If there was no God, we would all be 'accidents,' the result of astronomical random chance in the universe." - The 'God or accident' choice here is a false dichotomy. Life's origin may have been chance to happen in this particular place, but evolution by natural selection, for example, is mostly gradual adaptation, and not anything like chance.

"You could stop reading this book, because life would have no purpose or meaning or significance." - Another false dichotomy, and argument from personal incredulity. Warren can't imagine purpose, meaning, or significance without his god, so it must be impossible. My position is that purpose, meaning, and significance only exist for human life in our own minds and those around us. This supposition of external imposition for validity is ridiculous and counter to the human experience.

"There would be no right or wrong," - Why, oh why, do the religious assume that morality is derived from their version of religion? Why is an externally imposed purpose necessary for morality to develop? Are not the incentives inherent in a social society enough to necessitate the existence of moral code? Give me one example of a moral question that can not be explained through this or other secular rationale.

"...and no hope beyond your brief years here on earth." - All evidence suggests that your legacy and memories others have of you are the only methods by which you may persist beyond death. I suggest people realize this is their only life, they are lucky to have it, and should make the most of the time they have. Besides, the supposed eternal perfection of heaven would be so incredibly boring after a few million years. The 'life after death' fantasy is simply a method by which the subject can be side-stepped and made easier to forget. Instead, try actually dealing with the fact that everyone dies.

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