The older I get, the more often I wonder about whether or not life has a purpose, or more specifically, if my life has a purpose.
While religions vary on what the purpose of our existence might be, there seems to be a general consensus — at least among the Big Three — that our purpose is to believe in and to love god. In essence, god created us to love him.
That idea sounds strange to me right from the get-go simply because of what the nature of god is purported to be: an all-knowing, omniscient being who exists outside of space and time. It’s certainly hard to imagine something of that magnitude and power needing the love and admiration from what amounts to worms writhing in the mud. But yet, that’s what we’re supposed to believe.
Another possibility I’ve heard is that life is a test. We were born (not by choice) in order to go through a test we didn’t ask to take to hopefully pass and enter an eternal paradise.
In my mind at least, it’s like dropping a rat into a maze with the notion that it’ll either find its way through to the food or starve in the process. Of course, in the case of god, he already knows before dropping that rat into the maze what the outcome will be, which raises the question: why go through it if there’s nothing to be learned?
I can sympathize with a scientist making an animal jump through hoops, and even causing it to undergo certain tortures, in order to gain insight into its behavior and thus a greater understanding of nature itself. It’s the argument for the greater good.
However, if the scientist knows what the outcome will be, and goes ahead with the process, what does that say about him, his character, and his compassion for those creatures under his power? Are they reduced to nothing more than playthings? Entertainment? Pawns?
This brings us back to life’s purpose.
Theists accuse atheists of believing that life is random and without a cosmic meaning; that we’re nothing more than the result of the luck of the draw. I admit, it sounds bleak and passionless when put in that context.
But what about the other belief? If you believe that there is a creator who knows everything past, present and future, then you have to believe that your life — and to a greater extent your afterlife — were decided long ago. You have to believe that every decision you make was known beforehand, and that you’re basically going to be in the dark as to where you’ll spend eternity until the time comes. You may think you know, but you can’t really ever know.
“Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.” So it was with Emperor Palpatine, so it is with god.
The way I see it — at least right now — is that there’s more futility in the life of a believer than in that of a non-believer, because a believer is simply operating ‘on the rails’ so to speak.
What do you think? Can there purpose in a life decided before it has begun?