Meaningless or Meaningful?

Posted: April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized
The news is constantly full of horrific acts of violence against apparently innocent people. Young kids  shot in schools, movie theater mass murder, little kids kidnapped and brutalized, human sex trafficking, make us ask the question, “what is wrong with our world?”. There are many philosophical roads to take when contemplating the messed up stuff that goes on around us. Some people turn to nihilism. The idea that everything is ultimately pointless. There is no hope other than making your life tolerable one day at a time. There are no moral obligations, no objective truths, and no definitive meanings. The German nihilist philosopher stated it this way:

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote,“All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.”

The problem with this view is that it ultimately makes no logical sense. If everything is meaningless then so is the statement that everything is meaningless. Therefore everything may very well be totally meaningful. If truth is relative then the statement, “truth is relative”, may very well be false thus negating itself. Nihilism is a philosophy that rejects philosophy. Taken to its ultimate conclusion it makes no sense to say that “nothing has meaning, purpose or value” because that statement clearly does have all three of those properties. Its like telling someone that you are unable to speak even though you just did. Nihilists are quick to point out the virtues of skepticism and questioning all philosophical and theological systems, yet they offer nothing other than what they don’t believe. It’s not enough for most people to be left with nothing when we observe the amazing universe around us. Science constantly theorizes, then attempts to prove the causes of the observable effects all around us, yet a nihilist can merely dismiss all such attempts to explain the ultimate questions of why and how we exist at all. For me this is an intellectual cop-out. It is too dismissive of the very inquisitive nature we human beings thrive on. I am always saddened when I see students and even adults who seem to have bailed out of the process of intellectual curiosity especially when it involves the big questions: Where did we come from? Where are we going? Why am I here? What is my purpose? I see kids all the time who mark and cut themselves to seemingly express their very contempt for life itself. Many people medicate rather than cogitate. It is easier to dull the senses than to revel in them. It is better to forget than to confront. It is easier to turn off the world than to explore it.
I love what Rev. Martin Luther King said, “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”
Unlike the nihilist who sees no hope,

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Have a great, purpose-filled, meaningful, and joy-filled day!

Pastor Dan


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