The Purpose-Devoid Life, Part 2
This week I will continue criticism of the “What on Earth Am I Here For?” booklet, which contains the first section of The Purpose-Driven Life.
Chapter 2: “You Are Not an Accident.” The second day begins with describing how, no matter the conditions of your birth, you are part of God’s plan. The author has still not given reasons why it is reasonable to believe that God exists, but that doesn’t stop him from writing in great detail about God’s motives and abilities. I don’t even see what makes people think this chapter has a positive message:
Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. … Most amazingly, God decided how you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you. It doesn’t matter whether your parents were good, bad, or indifferent. God knew that those two individuals possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom “you” he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you.
In other words, God planned in advance that while one child would be born healthy into a double-parent Christian home, another was to be born prematurely to a drug addict. Another was planned to die of breathing complications shortly after birth. Another was planned to starve in a poverty-stricken country. Another child born of a carrier mother was given “exactly the right genetic makeup” for muscular dystrophy. God also decides to increase the rate of Down syndrome in children born to older women. I wonder why he does that.
If God controls the time, genetics, and other circumstances of the birth of all children, it logically follows that parents do not have control over the conception of children. Then why should we scorn unwed teenage mothers? God plans when children are born, and he plans for some to be born when their mothers 16 and younger. Why should we punish rapists that impregnate their victims? They simply create children according to God’s plan. Why is incest wrong? God planned incest even before he created the world! Also, where does free will fit into all this? If God chooses your birth, death, biology, and environment, what is left to choice? There is nothing left. If the universe is designed by God, everything that happens is causally determined by that design.
In any case, what is the great purpose the author says we are here for? “God’s motive for creating you is his love.” Wow! All this time I thought that making my life and my community better was my purpose. Now I know that my purpose is to sit around and be automatically loved until I die, where I will continue to be automatically loved forever. Fantastic. I feel so driven now. The author then tries to make the same point as in the previous chapter:
If there were no God, we would all be “accidents,” the result of astronomical random chance in the universe. You could stop reading this right now, because life would have no purpose or significance. There would be no right or wrong, no good or evil, and no hope beyond your brief years on earth. Life would be a meaningless existence, and death would be the end.
I do agree with the author about one thing: if there is no God, you should stop reading his books. Read Individual Valuism instead. It will show you that purpose is not something that exists objectively or externally. It will show you that right and wrong do not depend on a supernatural viewpoint. It will show you that you don’t need mystic love or a promise of eternal life to know meaning.