Part of the beauty and wonder of being alive is the opportunity to make your own choices and create your own meaning. Instead of having a predetermined “destiny” or some powerful guiding hand calling the shots in your life, you are free to seek your own meaning and value by making your own choices and discovering your own unique path.1

There is no outside force imposing meaning on the events of your life. There is not evidence whatsoever that people’s life events conform to some sort of divine plan or predestination. Life is, objectively meaningless; given the size and scope of the universe and our tiny role within it, it’s absurd to think that we might have any sort of cosmically vital role.2

We have the ability to create meaning for our lives by setting worthwhile goals, working to improve the lives of those around us, enjoying our time on earth, making connections to other humans and loving our families. All of these activities are worthwhile, and none of them require the existence of God.3

These above statements are an unabashed post-modern world view made by Armin Navabi in his book, Why There Is No God, a view that each and everyone of us has the ability to make our own life meaningful, in our own way. There is no set meaning or purpose that guides or directs our behavior.

Since there is no objective meaning in life, it is simply subjective. What does that mean? Subjective meaning is substance of life based on feelings, tastes, opinions, and emotions. If I ask you what your favorite flavor of ice cream is, you opinion will be ‘subjective’. It will be based on your taste of ice cream. Your favorite flavor may be Chocolate Chip Mint, while mine may be Pralines and Cream. No right or wrong answer is possible since it is a subjective opinion.

We may have a most popular flavor of Baskin Robbins ice cream, but popularity does not make it right. In fact, the top five most popular flavors are: Vanilla, Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, Pralines and Cream and Chocolate Chip. Howard Hughes’ favorite flavor for a time was Banana Nut, but after ordering 350 gallons, he only wanted French Vanilla.4 That is the nice feature about subjective meaning, you can change it any time you want, any time it suits your purpose or meaning in life. It is up to you and your feelings only.

So when Navabi says we can create meaning for our lives with worthwhile goals and making efforts to improve the lives of those around us, it is based on subjective meaning. That is, it may be meaningful to him, but maybe not to me because it is a subjective opinion. Just like the flavor of ice cream.

When he stated, “Life is, objectively meaningless;” he removed any possibility of significant meaning beyond the flavor of ice cream. One man may set his worthwhile goal as to have sex with a different woman every week for the next year. Another man may set his worthwhile goal as providing shelter to a different homeless person every week for a year. When you remove an objective standard for good, then you are only left with a subjective standard. Sex or shelter, vanilla or banana nut. You pick, it is your own opinion, your own feelings that matter, not anyone else.

While exploring the idea of an objective moral law that applies to our very nature, C.S. Lewis put it this way, “Consequently, this Rule of right and wrong, or law of human nature, or whatever you call it, must somehow or other be a real thing – a thing that is really there, not made up by ourselves…It begins to look as if we shall have to admit that there is more than one kind of reality; that, in this particular case, there is something above and beyond the ordinary facts of men’s behavior, and yet quite definitely real – a real law, which none of use made, but which we find pressing on us.”5

Navabi mistakenly claims that there is no objective meaning to life, but in his next breath tells us we can set worthwhile goals such as, “…working to improve the lives of those around us, enjoying our time on earth, making connections to other humans and loving our families.” How can they be worthwhile if they are simply an opinion, like a favorite flavor of ice cream?

Sadists enjoy hurting others. They find satisfaction, pleasure, in worsening people’s lives, not improving them. They enjoy their time on earth by connecting with others and making them suffer. Not only that, they actually will make the extra effort, extra work, to ruin the lives of those around them. Two studies at the University of British of Columbia by Erin Buckels found, “People who score high on a measure of sadism seem to derive pleasure from behaviors that hurt others, and are even willing to expend extra effort to make someone else suffer.”6

Making people suffer is a worthwhile goal for sadists. It give them meaning to live, even a desire. Without an objective moral standard, a banner we can all rally to, then the meaning of life is nothing more than an opinion on what is meaningful to the individual. Everyone can say, ‘That is just your opinion’, and what you, I, or anyone else, thinks of their opinion, does not matter.

Atheist Sam Harris wrote in his book, Waking Up – A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, “Sometime around her third birthday, my daughter asked, ‘Where does gravity come from?’ After talking about objects that attract each other – and wisely ignoring the curvature of space-time – my wife and I arrived at our deepest and most honest answer: ‘We don’t know. Gravity is a mystery. People are still trying to figure it out.’”7

Harris is correct, science is still trying to figure out gravity, but there is something else about gravity that is significant in this post I will share. Gravity is true for you and true for me. You may stand on the edge of Shanghai Tower, (2nd tallest building in the world, most use the 1st) and say that gravity is a subjective reality, but the truth is, gravity is true for me and true for you, because if you jump off without a chute, you will find out how wrong you are. Gravity is an objective truth, not a flavor of ice cream. It is true for everyone no matter what they say, no matter what they believe.

Claiming that you can make your own meaning in life is like claiming that you can make your own gravity, or even dispense yourself of it. This view of truth is a Post-modern view of truth. David Noebel wrote in his book, Understanding The Times, “For Postmodernists, since there is no universal Truth (capital ‘T’), there are only ‘truths’ (small ‘t’) that are particular to a society or group of people and limited to individual perception. Written or verbal statements can reflect only a particular localized culture or individual point of view. A well-worn catchphrase we hear in this regard is, ‘That may be true for you, but not for me.’”8

Small t’s or small ‘truths’ have not only invaded our culture, but the church.

Christians everywhere are unwilling to engage on issues such as abortion because it has become a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. A personal small ‘t’ truth choice. Yet, when you see a friend who is pregnant, do you ever ask her, “How is your body?” No, we all ask, “How is the baby?”

Christians everywhere are unwilling to engage on the issue of homosexuality because sexual orientation is a personal, small t ‘truth’. Yet it is obvious to everyone that as a rule, as a group, and by nature, heterosexual’s produce the next generation. It should come as no surprise that governments, until recent years, provided incentives toward heterosexual couples, and not same sex couples.

Christians everywhere are unwilling to engage on the issue of tolerance toward other religions because religion is a small t ‘truth’. Christianity may be true for you, but not for me. All roads lead to Rome. All path’s lead to God. There is no one ‘correct’ religion. Yet, with only a moment’s consideration, we realize that Jesus either was the Son of God or He was not. There is no middle option. Christianity is true or false, just like every other religious view the world has seen.

Christians have been unwilling or unable to address post-modern views, but with a little effort in the area of apologetics, (defending the faith), they can give thoughtful comments to some of the most pressing issues in our culture today.

 

Sources:

1. Navabi, Armin. Why There Is No God. Atheist Republic, 2014. Print.
2. Ibid
3. Ibid
4. “Fun Facts.” Baskin Robbins. Baskinrobbins.com, n.d. Web. 30 August 2015
5. Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 1952. Print.
6. “Everyday Sadists Take Pleasure In Others’ Pain.” Association For Psychological Science. Psychologicalscience.org, 12 September 2013. Web. 2 September 2015.
7. Harris, Sam. Waking Up A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. Print.
8. Noebel, David A. Understanding The Times. Manitou Springs: Summit Press, 2006. Print.

 

 

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Sex or Shelter by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog/.

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