What’s the point?

What’s the point?
What is the meaning, the purpose, the point in this crazy, crazy world of ours? 

Ah, such a big question. 

Before we get there, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Let’s back up for a moment…

What’s wrong with this world… this crazy, crazy, messed up world? 
Tell me… What would make this world a better place?  What would make our lives better? 
Would this world be a better place if we had more control over things?  Less control?  I don’t mean a domineering control such as the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and so on…  I mean control over our daily life… control over what happens to us.
Would this world be a better place if we had more freedom in life?  Less freedom?  I’m not talking about anarchy, or totalitarianism.  I’m talking about freedom in our choices, our life, our morals, and so on.

To The Point.
Life is hard.  Life is rough on you.  Life will beat you to your knees if you let it.  Why?  What for?  Why is it so hard?  How do we break the cycle?  How do we get away from this “fallen” world?  What’s the meaning of it all?  What’s the point?  You know… Origin.  Meaning.  Morality.  Destiny.  The quintessential questions of life… 

“Maybe more success will do it.  If I could just get that one big break, everything would be great.  Maybe more money will buy me happiness.  Maybe more sex will satisfy me enough.  Maybe more drugs or alcohol will, if nothing else, help me forget about the pain of this world.  Maybe more freedom or more control will get me through it, or get me by, or make me happy…  Because happiness is what it’s all about right?  It’s my obligation in life to be happy, right?”  Or perhaps sadly for some it is, “This is my only way for me to survive and get through this evil, terrible world.” 
I could go on, but you know what I’m talking about.  Stay with me…

God or no God.
“Oh great, here he goes again,” some of you are thinking… but if that’s you, bear with me for just another minute if you could.  There are two different types of people I want to talk to…

To one:
So often people (those who are not Christian) demand that we Christians show them God, like we can show them a tiger, before they’ll commit, do, or try anything that has to do with Him.  Well, believe me, I wish it worked that way, but it doesn’t.  It doesn’t generally work that way with anything, but somehow it’s okay to demand that of God.  Let me show you…
If I am going to decide if a certain type of music is any good, I have to listen to it in order to decide.  But then there are those who say they have, but it was a bunch of hogwash, or it didn’t work for them, or what’s true for you isn’t true for me… 
Now, if I get a bad recording of that music and listen to it for the first time, my impressions of that are off from the get-go.  It’s not logical of me to draw a conclusion that this music is terrible, based on the fact that I got a potentially bad copy.  The logical thing for me to do is try a different copy, a cleaner copy, a copy that sounds like it is intended to sound, before making up my mind.  I don’t go off of what the media coverage is of this music, because it’s certainly biased, and it’s the “news,” which if you haven’t figured it out yet, generally only covers “bad stuff” on any topic… Media would never cover the good things the Red Cross does, but they will cover the Red Cross if they find something wrong with them. 
I don’t base my opinion of that music on what other friends say even.  I base it on listening to it myself, and deciding.  But I have to listen to it, not scan through 5 seconds of each song, or play it in the background while I’m watching television.

Now, so that I’m not misunderstood… “try a different copy,” in this context means that if you tried it, and you got some arrogant, legalistic, condemning fellow or environment, then try a different ‘copy.’  If you tried it and got something that looked identical to your life already, and there wasn’t anything ‘good’ about it… try a different copy.  You got a bad copy.  You get my drift?  I am not saying, try a different version of Christianity that works for you, or find a different religion that works for you (but we can have that conversation later).
My point is simply this… Try looking in to it, and see what you find.  If you have, try again, you may have gotten a bad copy, or you chose not to like what you found.  “If you seek Me, you will find Me when you seek with all your heart.”  (The book of Jeremiah 29:13)
Don’t demand that you see God before you look for Him.  It simply doesn’t work that way.  Look and you will find Him.  Then believe God, not just in God.  In the book of James chapter two it says that even the demons believe in God.
Once you do that, (and you will find Him if you look), then and only then, will you begin to put the pieces together.  Put the pieces back where they belong.  Nothing happens over night for most people.  It’s not a short-cut, quick fix, get rich, nothing bad ever happens, type of road I’m talking about.  If any Christian ever tells you that, they’re wrong.  But, it’s a good road.  It’s a better road.  It’s the best road.  Yes, it’s a narrow road, but it’s a passable road.  And it just may be your answer to most of life’s big questions… but you have to look for Him first.  It’s simple… find someone who knows already, talk to them.  If that is too much to ask, I understand… then at least sit there and talk out loud to a plausible God, who could exist, and ask Him, that if He is real, that He show you some way, somehow.  But, you must be open to that, and you must want to know, and if He is real, you’ll find out.  Perhaps not that very second, but believe me, if you are serious when you ask Him to show Himself, you’ll know it when He does. 

To the other:
I could give you a hundred examples, but let me just give two, and then to the point…
In Daniel chapter three, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego choose to obey God, and refuse to have any other god’s before them in spite of King Nebuchadnezzar’s command to worship his god.  The King finds out they did not and vows to kill them if they do not obey him. They refuse. In Ch3 v17-18 “if it be so… our God is able to deliver us… but even if He does not… we are not going to worship your gods…”
In short, the King threw them into a blazing furnace… the death penalty.  God delivered them, and they walked out unscathed. 
The point: many times God shows Himself to us, (when we think He is so far away, or not there at all), after we act in faith.

Another example is in Genesis chapter 22.  God tests Abraham and tells him to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.  Abraham is provided for after he obeys God’s command, and not before.  God provides by stopping him just before he is to sacrifice Isaac, and provides a lamb for him instead, and God says to him, “…because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you…” 
The point:  The blessing came after he listened to what God was telling him.

Seek God, obey God, and life gets a just a little bit easier.  At least you have the strength to get through it, because He gives you that strength.  You stop spinning your wheels so much at the monetary things, and focus on the more eternal things. 

We so often sit there and want God to act before we make any moves…  Sometimes He’s telling us to move, and then He will act.  Think about it.

Your Friend,
 

“You are free in our time to say that God does not exist; you are free to say that He exists and is evil; you are free to say like Renan that He would like to exist if He could. You may talk of God as a metaphor or a mystification; you may water Him down with gallons of long words, or boil Him to the rags of metaphysics; and it is not merely that nobody punishes, but nobody protests. But if you speak of God as a fact, as a thing like a tiger, as a reason for changing one’s conduct, then the modern world will stop you somehow if it can. We are long past talking about whether an unbeliever should be punished for being irreverent. It is now thought irreverent to be a believer.”  G.K. Chesterton


 

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8 comments to “What’s the point?”
  1. Why would anyone want to follow a God who would ask you to harm yourself and/or your family? I, myself, would never and could never willing harm myself or my family because God told me too. I don’t care what kind of faith you have. Because even that chance (and with faith comes that chance) that harm could come to me or my family, is not a chance I am willing or able to take for anyone or anything. And to be quite frank, anyone that would or could do that to anyone, especially his own family, sure the hell shouldn’t be blessed for it. I don’t know about you, but I would never look at my father with any kind of love or respect after watching him tie me up and then stare down the blade of the knife he is about to murder me with. I don’t care who told him to do it. “Love you too Dad… hey… want to go fishin’ now that you’re done trying to kill me and all…. huh?!” Anyone else have a problem with this, or is it just me…
    Troy

  2. I understand where you’re coming from Troy, and that this story of Abraham about to sacrifice his son is hard to swallow. I can’t imagine what it would be like if it were me in Abraham’s shoes. One thing to emphasis in the story however, is that Abraham did not believe his son would remain dead if he were to go ahead and sacrifice him. God had already promised that he would make him a great nation through this specific child Isaac. It is important to note then in this story, that Abraham seemed confused about why God would ask him to do this, but he reasoned that God could raise people from the dead…which he assumed God would do with Isaac because God had promised Abraham that he would make him a great nation through his son Isaac. How then, could God follow through with that promise with Isaac dead? The point here is that Abraham believed God was going to follow through with his promise, and in order for that to happen, Isaac would have to be alive. With this information, if you were in Abraham’s shoes would you not see the whole situation quite differently? Why make it out to be an act of murder? Abraham believed God, he trusted him, he obeyed him and acted out of faith, believing that God would follow through with his promise with Isaac…in which he absolutely did!! I imagine it would have been hard for a child to understand this, and I know it would definitely trouble a child to know that his father was about to murder him, but surely God had prepared his heart and redeemed the entire situation. Surely God had used it all for good and blessed them both. I don’t know how, but I don’t believe God would have left Isaac with a bitterness toward his dad. Perhaps God gave him incredible understanding, to see the situation for what it really was. Knowing God’s nature and the purpose of his request to Abraham, it gives me confidence that God must have somehow worked it out in both of their hearts to move forward without bitterness. In fact, I am apt to believe that Isaac was better for it, that he benefited from it, as crazy as that may sound to you!! Witnessing his father’s incredible faith and God’s rewarding hand must have really made an impression on him. I truly don’t believe God would have left the two of them with a shattered, broken, and un-restorable relationship.

    “Abraham was as good as dead, yet from this one man came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” Hebrews 11:12

    “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered Isaac-he who had received the promises was about to offer his unique son in sacrifice, about whom it had been said, “It is through Isaac that descendants will be named for you.” Abraham was certain that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did get Isaac back in this way.” Hebrews 11:17-19

  3. “Why would anyone want to follow a God who would ask you to harm yourself and/or your family?”(Troy)

    I’m interested in knowing what the ‘god’ your comfortable following looks like…
    If we are really comfortable in serving God, is He really God or just a religious fabrication and crutch that philosophers have vilified “Christians” as following. Too often, though history, religious institutions have propagated a god they are comfortable following and outlining what this god looks like…(now I’m wading in deep)ie. Catholicism, Islam, and in other instances contemporary ‘christianity’.
    Personally, I’m not interested in serving a God I can explain or am comfortable with. While I could spend massive amounts of time and dialogue doing an exegeses of the scripture in order to explain why God would act in a certain way, it is primarily helpful to deepen personal faith and understanding rather than use as a tool to argue theology.
    I would encourage everyone to search the scriptures and ask that God would reveal himself to you in a genuine way.
    God has promised us in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and you will find me when you seek with all your heart.”

  4. to everyone…. i don’t understand why you always use bible scriptures to prove anything or tell me to use it to research god…. obviously, the bible, the book of christianity, is going to say that christianity and god is true…. if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a very good book of christianity… and this goes for every religion out there that has it’s own book….. so it really doesn’t matter what it says in the bible to a non believer of that or any religion…. they have books out there about evolution, for example… many people believe them to be true and if one of them just told you that it says so in the book, Evolution is the Only Truth (i just made that name up… i have no idea if its a real book or not), would you just say okay… since ‘your’ book says so? and i still think its pretty jacked up to ask someone to kill his family to prove his faith and even more jacked up that the dude was willing to do it… thats where i’m at…. it would seem that i’m just comfortable following no god at all… i think i’ll just go about my day to day business and just be happy the way it is because i am the sort of person that wants and needs to understand… i guess we’ll all find out the truth when we die…. if we even find it out then…. we shall see, i suppose….

  5. Except that the Bible was written by over 40 different authors and over the span of 1,500 years…not by one or two men in the span of just a few years. The scriptures in Hebrews were not written by the same person, nor during the same time as those in Genesis. Just something to chew on.
    Personally, I don’t see why it would be “fun” or even interesting to follow no god at all. The God I follow is an exciting God that seems to even have a sense of humor. My own life feels empty and depressed when I do not spend time with him. You can find so many reasons not to follow him…but until you have experienced a true relationship with him, you will not experience a truly fulfilling life and the joy that comes in following God.

  6. -It doesn’t matter if the bible was written over a span of 10,000 years by 457 different authors, my point still remains the same, you can’t use the ‘book of christianity’ to prove christianity.
    -We get to have our own varying opinions, we get to follow whatever god we like, and we even get to follow no god at all. You say that I will not experience a truly fulfilling life, and there I strongly disagree. Who are you to tell me that I am not or will not experience a truly fulfilling life? Is your life more fulfilling than my life because you follow god and I don’t? I don’t think so… You said that YOUR life feels empty and depressed when YOU do not spend time with god and that is great for YOU that spending time with god has made YOUR life fulfilling….
    Only we as individuals can decide what is truly fulfilling in our own lives…. You can tell me how god has fulfilled your life and that’s all well and good, but you absolutely can not tell me that my life will never be truly fulfilled, and expect me to think twice about anything else you say… just as I absolutely can not tell you the same about your life…
    What truly fulfills and brings joy to one, does not always truly fulfill and bring joy to another…

  7. If I may interject here…
    Troy – while I might agree with your first point, (using Bible to prove Christianity), no one on this conversation actually said that “the Bible said it, therefore it’s true”, if I’m not mistaken… I think the point is, on this matter at least, is that if I’m going to want to learn about Science, I pick up a book on Science… if I’m going to learn about How To Be A Clown, I’m going to pick up a book or read something on ‘how to be a clown’… If I’m going to learn anything about Christianity… where better to learn it from than the Bible?
    Now, this is our main source to learn about Christianity, how to live as Christians, and on and on… So, in effect, the argument here, in this context, on using the Bible to prove Christianity is sort of a smoke screen and misguided or at best misunderstood… If we want to discuss whether the Bible is legitimate or not, let’s do that… if we want to discuss whether Christianity is valid or not, let’s do that.

    Point 2 of yours: “We get to have our own varying opinions…” you stated. True. Opinions. My opinion clearly differs from your, and your differs from Bridgets here, and so forth… No one is arguing that.
    Experience for Christians generally (w/o getting in to symantecs) aligns with what the Bible says… (Not the Christianity of your favorite Westboro Baptist Church, or Jeremiah Wright, or the health and wealth folks etc…)
    Just to try to clear up a possible misinterpretations for you… I think the point Bridget was trying to make was that Christianity offers a fulfilling life. (Atheism does not, in my opinion.) Christianity speaks to the quintessential questions of life: Origin, Meaning, Morality, Destiny. Where did I come from, why am I here, what determins right/wrong, where am I going?

    Can you honestly, totally brutally honestly, sit there and tell me that YOUR life is fulfilled. You have total fulfillment in your life right now? I can’t sit there and say you do not, because I’m not you, but if you were honest with yourself, are you?
    “What truly fulfills and brings joy to one, does not always truly fulfill and bring joy to another…” – you stated… Here we have an entire problem of defining the terms, then, which will lead us down an entirely different path… so, if we want to discuss this, by all means [I’ll start another blog topic. 🙂 ]

    So back to the original point in your first comment you stated… “even that chance (and with faith comes that chance) that harm could come to me or my family, is not a chance I am willing or able to take for anyone or anything…” — You seem to have already decided, in words, that you are the central figure of your life, and anyone or anything will not interfere with this… With this decision comes much responsibility… so if you have total control over your life, buddy you go ahead and plow through life. You’ve made up your mind.

    One example and I’ll finish: Oscar Wilde, (author more famous for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray), was a hedonist. He tried to live a life of wanton pleasure, seeking any way he pleased. He believed that pleasure was the point of living. Pleasure was the ultimate goal. You can even see it in his book The Picture of Dorian Gray… but, find me someone who has lived even this life who is fulfilled and truly happy in the end…
    I’ll leave you with one quote: “…Mr. Pearce believes there was a deeper reason: ‘The warring paradox at the center of his psyche was that he was emotionally attracted to faith but temperamentally tempted to doubt.‘ In other words, his heart said yes, but his head no. Surely there was another cause too: Wilde knew that any serious submission to (Christianity) would require him to give up his (lifestyle).*

    Could it be, that many times the reason for such hostility towards Christianity from people is not so much that they can’t figure it out in their heads, but rather being afraid of the inconvenience of having a changed life, a New life, if this Jesus is who He says He is?

  8. Troy, it seems like everybody is ganging up on you, sorry about that…I’m really enjoying our dialogue. I really appreciate your sincere questions and doubt. I was reading and reflecting on your original post…
    You stated, “I don’t know about you, but I would never look at my father with any kind of love or respect after watching him tie me up and then stare down the blade of the knife he is about to murder me with. I don’t care who told him to do it. “Love you too Dad… hey… want to go fishin’ now that you’re done trying to kill me and all…. huh?!” Anyone else have a problem with this, or is it just me…”

    Here’s the crazy thing, God actually did this to His own son. The whole purpose of the Old Testament and what God was up to was foreshadowing what He was going to do through His own son Jesus. What’s crazier still is, His son said, “I’ll do it.” I’ll take the punishment of sin, so they don’t have to.
    What’s crazier still is that Jesus told his followers that they should be willing to die the same way He was going to; and crazier still is they did! Sort of ironic answer to your statement, “I, myself, would never and could never willing harm myself or my family because God told me too. I don’t care what kind of faith you have. Because even that chance (and with faith comes that chance) that harm could come to me or my family, is not a chance I am willing or able to take for anyone or anything. And to be quite frank, anyone that would or could do that to anyone, especially his own family, sure the hell shouldn’t be blessed for it.”
    I believe William Wallace sums it up best when he says, “Everyone dies, not everyone truly lives.” I want to live the most amazing life possible. I’ve tried it without God, doing it on my own. Thing is I’m not the kind of person who is satisfied with settling for a pretty good life. So…in the exact opposite context of mental state as you, I am exploring the possibility of moving to the Philippines with my family (including 2 boys under the age of 2 years old); with an amazingly high risk of placing them at risk, not only to disease, but physical danger. Pretty exciting stuff, huh? That’s the kind of faith I have, not only that God would ask me to do this, but that’s He’s a big enough God to take care of us too. Not that’s living a fun life, not sitting back waiting for what bad thing could happen around the corner of life
    So you might say, that’s not a good argument, and I totally agree, not trying to argue, just pointing out some amazing irony, and giving you more ammo to have a problem with God. Here’s the cool thing, God’s okay with that and He loves you more than you realize. He made you and loves you as his own, and there’s nothing you can do to make Him stop loving you.
    You have the freedom to do your own thing. You can choose to be independent of Him, to live separate of His love. You might ask, “why would a “loving” God condemn a person to hell? I would ask, Why would a loving God force a person who doesn’t want anything to do with Him, live for eternity in His presence? Wouldn’t that be hell?
    Sorry if this seems like weird rationale…I just enjoy asking tough questions.
    PS. a great read that doesn’t use the Bible as a picture of God is “The Shack” #1 bestseller right now.

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