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Old 10-10-2007, 11:37 AM
luckyme luckyme is offline
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Default The Myth of Meaning

Of all the parts of theistic claims that baffle me, the concept that believing I am the love toy of a powerful being and somehow that adds "meaning" to my life is one of the tougher. Since we don't have evidence of that being the case, that seems the correct way to state it, but I'd go even farther.
If there were 100% proof that baptists, say, are correct, I cannot see how knowing I am the love toy of an powerful being adds meaning.
If being loved adds meaning, then I'm wallowing in it already. Does being loved by a president add 'more' meaning. By Alexander the Great? By Allah or Jehovah?
Surely it is the 'being' loved that is what they are talking about, not just the timeline ( or we are just talking about a fear of death). Theists seem to agree with that, "what matters is that god loves you".

Theist or atheist thoughts on this claim would be helpful. I'm not trying to convert, just to get a better view.

luckyme
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Old 10-10-2007, 11:49 AM
kurto kurto is offline
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Default Re: The Myth of Meaning

Yeah... I don't really get it either. My take is that followers can feel better about the hardships of this life if they know that, by being a good follower, they will have a have a longer and nicer afterlife. The 'meaning' of this life is fullfilling the requirements to get into 1st class afterlife.

I think its just a human intellectual desire to try to ascribe meaning to things. That, of course, doesn't mean things actually have to have a deep meaning. But by creating a meaning, no matter how arbitrary, it makes some feel better.

Christianity seems quite simple-- it appeals to the selfish side of everyone. Describe life as an insignicant period in a longer 'spiritual' life. Define a set of rules that, if followed, means your infinite life will be spent in the clouds strumming harps and being super happy (to what purpose and for what meaning, I doubt anyone concerns themselves with that much)... break the rules and you're tormented for eternity.

Its a great method of social control as well as it gives people structure. I suspect we can all agree that structure and goals make our lives better. Religion fills in those blanks. It fills in the void for those looking for meaning.

The next question might be... what is the meaning of the afterlife?
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2007, 12:38 PM
luckyme luckyme is offline
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Default Re: The Myth of Meaning

[ QUOTE ]
Yeah... I don't really get it either.

[/ QUOTE ]

That's encouraging.
I'm used to the theist claim, THAT it adds meaning, and for the sake of this thread I'm taking that as a premise. So it's the "how does it" that I'd like to hear about.

Since none of the theists are dashing in saying, "well jeez luckyme, it's a simple concept .. yadda, yadda." gives me hope that it isn't a simple concept and there still are only 20M or so earthlings smarter than I am.

You mention the afterlife issue and at this stage that's the aspect that I tie it to ( fear of death), which at least gives a underlying psychological reason for their general beliefs. But one can be theist ( not american likely) and not believe in an afterlife, at least there seems no conflict.

luckyme
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:56 PM
Splendour Splendour is offline
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Default Re: The Myth of Meaning

Can't speak for other theistic groups but a lot of Christians see themselves as the "children of god" not as a "love toy". Children have to be trained and taught right from wrong and reminded constantly. Children also like to throw tantrums and rebel against authority. But if you can approach God like a child you can accept God more easily since your mind hasn't been filled with preconceived notions, prejudices and biases.

"He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of Godó 13children born not of natural descent,[c] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." John 1:1:10


1 John 3
1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,[a]we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

7Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. 9No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

Love one another
11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2007, 01:17 PM
luckyme luckyme is offline
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Default Re: The Myth of Meaning

[ QUOTE ]
Can't speak for other theistic groups but a lot of Christians see themselves as the "children of god" not as a "love toy".

[/ QUOTE ]

I granted that in the OP ( call it what you want).
There seems no conflict to accepting/understanding one is a 'child of god' yet it adds no meaning, just another fact.
Let's say I wake up in a field with amnesia. Caretakers tell me ...
"That earthworm loves you."
hrmmmph.
"that sparrow loves you"
hi, pretty bird.
"Sally loves you."
Walhhl, she's purdy.
"Your mother loves you"
mom? mom? is that you.
"President Bush loves you"
hail to the chief.
"America loves you."
Oh, say, can...
"All the heads of state love you"
ok, travel,travel.
"god loves you"
ok, uh, ok, I guess.
that's help in the future no doubt.
"john the butcher loves you"
hey, now yer talkin

Iow, you haven't answered the question, just repeated it, but thanks for at least trying.

luckyme
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2007, 01:39 PM
pokervintage pokervintage is offline
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Default Re: The Myth of Meaning

[ QUOTE ]
the concept that believing I am the love toy of a powerful being and somehow that adds "meaning" to my life is one of the tougher

[/ QUOTE ]
Suppose that you did in fact believe in god. Would it not bring you comfort to know that God loves you? Would it not influence you to be loyal to a God that loves you in somewhat the same manner that you are loyal to your parents? Assuming they love you and you love them back. We humans are social animals and have needs. It can be agrued that "love", however you define it, is one of those needs.

Religion does not say that you are a "love toy" of God just as you are not a "love toy" of your parents. Most just say that God loves you. They do not give a reason other than that you are his child.

Have you never asked yourself "Why am I here"? Religion attempts to answer that question by claiming that there is an almighty creator that made you. Red Skelton, an old time famous comedian used to do skit around Christmas time about a Pine Tree that comes to life and ask the question "What is my purpose?" He finally decides that his purpose was to help people celebrate their god at Chritmas Time when he decorated and placed in the living room of a loving chritian family at christmas. The movie "Becket" with Richard Burton is about a callous man that unknowingly seeks meaning to his life and finds it in God when he is accidently thrust into the position of Archbishop of Cantebury by his friend the King of England. Man seeks meaning to his life. Being loved by an all powerful loving God for "His" own reasons can be a comforting and meanigful thought for some. For some "meaning" is not a myth.

pokervintage
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  #7  
Old 10-10-2007, 01:41 PM
Pokerlogist Pokerlogist is offline
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Default Re: The Myth of Meaning

Splendor's quotes explain it. "God loves you" simply means that God watches over you like a parent does for a child. He will help us in our life on earth and give us a chance at heaven. Believing that that helps prevent despair when things go wrong for us. It will keep us from going on tilt whe we hit a downswing. How else can you explain Jerry Yang winning $8m? [img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Disclaimer. I do not adhere to any Christian religion.
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2007, 01:53 PM
Jamougha Jamougha is offline
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Default Re: The Myth of Meaning

There is a neurological basis for this. Our minds are predisposed to See connections between things. There is a specific module of the brain responsible for this. In paranoid schizophrenics it's overactive, and their paranoia comes from seeing negative connections between things that are unrelated. In manic individuals it's also overactive and they tend to see positive omens everywhere and believe that the universe has a plan involving them.

If the area is underactive, however, the result is usually depression. For some reason if we are not continually drawing connections and finding reasons for things then we seem to become unhappy.

For religious people finding meaning is easy. They can always pull out the 'god has a plan' or 'it's god's will' reasons. So it makes sense that religion makes their lives seem meaningful.
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2007, 01:56 PM
tame_deuces tame_deuces is offline
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Default Re: The Myth of Meaning


Naw, love isn't some ultimate meaning of life. It's nice and sweet, and it can make us happy and on top of the world - and there is no reason not to seek it.

But life isn't some hollywood chick flick where the world is pink and right when love prevails in the end, and end titles come up and they all live happily ever after.
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  #10  
Old 10-10-2007, 01:57 PM
luckyme luckyme is offline
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Default Re: The Myth of Meaning

[ QUOTE ]
Believing that that helps prevent despair when things go wrong for us.

[/ QUOTE ]

It's not the believing I am trying to get at because believing anything does not make it a fact.
I'm trying to delve into the factual claim by theists that I really don't get. If there were conclusive evidence ( so no reliance of 'belief' in the theistic sense) that god did in fact love me .. I am granting this in the OP
HOW does that add meaning?
Sure it might give we a warm-fuzzy, like when mommy tapes my knee and hugs me, but if that doesn't add meaning then how does having god tape both my knees and a hug and kiss once a week for a long time add meaning.

The only sense I can make out of it is the 'meaning' is something I put into the situation. A sociopath wouldn't get the meaning from the relationships I do, but it's me that gives them meaning. Finding out my stalker loves me or my kidnapper who's holding me for his pleasure loves me doesn't "add meaning".

luckyme
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