One-Liner Wednesday — Interesting People

What do you think? Are people who don’t know what to do with their lives the most interesting? Or are they just lost?


This post is for today’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.

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Life’s Purpose

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A blogger I follow named Jayne, who posts at A Life Retired, left an interesting comment on my post titled Faith Versus Reason. She wrote, “After reading [that post] and the comments, I am left with a couple questions for all. In absence of faith, what happens after life? What was the purpose for living?”

Let me first say that I’m not in any way an authority on what happens after life or on life’s meaning or purpose. So what I’m expressing herein is nothing more than my personal opinion.

That said, one of the most common arguments I hear about disbelief in God is the idea that without God, life would seem to be utterly devoid of any real meaning or purpose.

From my perspective, a belief in God, in and of itself, is not what gives our lives purpose. We can find purpose within our own lives by achieving good relationships with our families and with other people, with our work, with the groups to which we belong, and with the deeds we do.

As to what happens when our lives end, I believe it’s the same as it was before our lives began. We didn’t exist. I believe that this life we live in this world, in the here and now, is all there is. And when it comes to an end, it’s over and out.

But rather than suggesting that our lives, therefore, have no meaning or serve no purpose, I see it differently. I believe that recognition of this inescapable fate makes our lives and the time that we do have in this world even more meaningful.

But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Faith Versus Reason

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My blogging buddy, Jim, wrote a fascinating post today entitled “Why is it So Hard to Believe in God.” In addition to being a provocative post, he managed to get in the WordPress one-word prompt, “recreate,” when he wrote, “We cannot recreate the Big Bang, so we may never understand all of this, but we can believe that we do exist.” Well done, Jim.

In response to one of the comments on his post, Jim wrote, “I believe in logic and God makes sense to me….” I found that notion to be particularly interesting. I believe in logic, reason, and rationality, and it’s because of embracing those things that God makes no sense to me.

For purposes of this post, I’m going to consider “logic” and “reason” to be synonymous, although technically they aren’t. Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information.

That said, logic (or reason) is the antithesis of faith. It takes tremendous faith to believe that an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, supernatural being created everything that exists.

So the question I have for Jim, or for anyone who cares to weigh in is this. When it comes to belief in God, can logic and reason support that belief, or must one suspend logical and rational thought  in favor of pure faith to believe in the existence of God as the creator of all things?

Please feel free to share your thoughts (or beliefs).

When I Die, You Will Cease to Exist

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“Beyond Solipsism” ©2010 Casey Kotas

I am not a solipsist.

I am not a what? What the hell is a solipsist?

According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, solipsism is a doctrine that, in principle, my existence is only that which I experience — physical objects, other people, events, and processes — anything that would commonly be regarded as a constituent of the space and time in which I coexist with others and is necessarily construed by me as part of the content of my consciousness.

For the solipsist, it is not merely the case that he believes that his or her thoughts, experiences, and emotions are the only thoughts, experiences, and emotions. Rather, the solipsist can attach no meaning to the supposition that there could be thoughts, experiences, and emotions other than his or her own.

Another interesting way of looking at solipsism is the way the Urban Dictionary, of all places, defines it:

Solipsism is the belief that the person holding the belief is the only real thing in the universe. All other persons and things are merely ornaments or impediments to his or her happiness.

Solipsism versus Nihilism

Just to be clear, solipsism is not the same as nihilism. The solipsist believes that his or her own life has meaning and value, whereas the nihilist believes that life itself, including his or her own, has no intrinsic meaning or value. It’s the belief that a single human, or even the entire human species, is insignificant, without purpose, and unlikely to change in the totality of existence.

Now that I’ve cleared that up, let’s get back to solipsism.

René Descartes proved his existence by saying “cogito, ergo, sum,” or “I think, therefore I am.” The solipsist prefers “cogito, ergo, omnia sum,” or “I think, therefore, I am everything!”

Based upon these definitions and descriptions of solipsism, I again say that I am not a solipsist. But I may be close.

I don’t deny the existence of anything else in the universe outside of myself, or claim it to be non-existent or not real except in my own mind. I know that each and every one of you who may be reading this post exists. You are real. You have your own minds, your own lives, and your own very real experiences.

I know that the couch that I’m sitting on, the iPhone that I’m typing on, the screen I’m looking at, and the WordPress app on which this post is being published all exist. You and these items are not just figments of my imagination, not mere ornaments or impediments, not constructs of my mind.

That said, if I don’t exist, neither do you. If I don’t exist, nothing exists.

Wait. What?

Okay, let me put it another way. If I didn’t exist, nothing would exist — for me. So everything that exists for me is dependent upon my existence.

From my perspective, when I die, when I cease to exist, you will all cease to exist. This couch, my iPhone, and WordPress app will no longer exist — for me. My wife, my kids, my pets, my home, my city, my country, this planet will no longer exist — for me — because I will no longer exist.

Yes, you and everything else and everyone else will continue to exist to and for each other. The sun will continue to rise and set every day. The tides will continue to ebb and flow. People will continue to go about their business.

There will continue to be strife and violence across the globe. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and forest fires will not cease. Congress will continue to be totally dysfunctional, Vladimir Putin will continue to be a total douchebag, Trump will continue to be an asshole, and people will continue to argue about whether or not God exists.

But not for me. Because I will not exist. So for me, nothing will exist.

Therefore, everything that exists is dependent upon my existence. For me. From my perspective.

Does that make me a solipsist?

Or just a little narcissistic?

Whatever Floats Your Boat

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“It sort of reminds me of a sphinx,” Dora said looking up at the cloud partially blocking the setting sun.

“To me it looks like a merry-go-round horse,” Alicia replied.

“Yeah, I can see that,” Dora said. Then wistfully, she said, “I don’t see how anyone can’t believe in God when they see something like this.”

“I don’t,” Alicia said in a matter of fact way.

Dora looked at Alicia with an expression of disbelief. “How can you look at that sky and tell me you don’t see God’s hand? The evidence of God is all around us.”

“I hear that all the time from people who believe in God,” Alicia said. “Evidence that God exists is everywhere you look, they tell me. Well, if that’s the case, why can’t I see it?

“Your walling yourself off from seeing such evidence,” Dora said. “It makes you blind to ‘The Truth’ of God’s existence.”

“I’m not walling myself off,” Alicia said. “If any definitive evidence were presented to me, I would be thrilled to change my mind about the existence of God.”

“But if God does not exist,” Dora said, “life is ultimately meaningless. If life ends in death, then it does not matter how you live.”

“You really believe that?” asked Alicia.

“I do,” said Dora. “If God does not exist, what is the point? Without God there is ultimately no hope for deliverance from the shortcomings of our finite existence.”

Alicia sighed. She looked back toward the slowly setting sun and the ever shifting shapes of the clouds. “Whatever floats your boat, Dora.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt