The Purpose-Devoid Life, Part 5


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. Since there is only one chapter left in the booklet, this will be the last “Purpose-Devoid Life” article unless I obtain a copy of the larger book. Of course, I refuse to buy one (I would become physically ill if I were to financially support its ideology), but I could probably find a copy somewhere. I saw one under a couch at my parents’ house the last time I visited them; maybe I’ll borrow that. Anyway, I’ll use this article to critique the seventh chapter and to summarize the booklet.


You know, I don’t give these articles the title “The Purpose-Devoid Life” just to have a cute play on words. It really is meant to describe Rick Warren’s book and religion. In Individual Valuism, purpose is not a goal that is just given to you; it is a goal that makes existence good to you. If you are doing something meaningless based on mythology, nothing good is actually happening to you. Anyway, the seventh chapter of the book starts like most of the others: only God matters, your life is meant to please him, etc. “The ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God.” Does anyone actually believe this is true? I don’t think even many Christians believe it. If they did, they would spend a lot more time glorifying God than just praying before meals and going to church once or twice a week. If they did, they wouldn’t care so much about success and comfort in the real world.


God made it all for his glory. Without God’s glory, there would be nothing.” This is the same trick the author pulled on the third day. The statement “If God’s glory does not exist, then nothing exists” is logically equivalent to “If something exists, then God’s glory exists.” You know that something exists, and the author wants you to jump to the conclusion that God exists (and is glorious.) The author goes on to say how God is creative and appreciates beauty by describing creations such as the weather, seasons, microscopic life, and the stars. Somehow he forgets to say how disease, predators, and harsh environments reflect God’s character. Next page: “None of us have given God the full glory he deserves from our lives. This is the worst sin and the biggest mistake we can commit. On the other hand, living for God’s glory is the greatest achievement we can accomplish with our lives. God says,They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory,’ so bringing glory to God ought to be the number on goal of your life.” Is that so? Well, I challenge anyone that believes it to show it. Spend every waking moment glorifying God, preaching, and doing everything else God wants you to do. How long will you last? How long will you think that doing this is purposeful?


I don’t know if the booklet deviates from the book at this point, but in the booklet the author then previews “God’s five purposes for your life.” I don’t care to go through them in detail since I would just be repeating myself. They are all pretty much what you would expect: worship God, love and serve others, preach to others, and generally act like the religion wants you to. I will make a comment about purpose #4, “You bring God glory by serving others.” It says “You were custom-designed by God with talents, gifts, skills, and abilities in order to serve God by serving others. The Bible calls this fourth purpose of serving others your ‘ministry.’ Contrary to popular opinion, God wired everyone to have a ministry, or serving niche. The way you’re ‘wired’ is not an accident.” That’s interesting. I often see differently. For example, my parents, who go to church every Sunday and have a copy of The Purpose-Driven Life under their couch, chose to spend their July holiday on a Caribbean cruise instead of a mission trip. My mother spends more time remodeling rooms in her house than she does charity work. My father, who teaches a class monthly at church and is active in the youth program, admitted to me last year that despite his façade that he is a very giving person, he would often rather stay home and watch TV. Perhaps my parents are atypical or were “wired” accidentally, but I doubt it. Next paragraph: “God didn’t give you your abilities for selfish purposes. They were given to benefit other people just as others were given abilities for your benefit.” (There’s that word “give” again.) This paragraph reminded me of communistic rhetoric: everyone is supposed to be happy serving others, but in reality nobody is free and everyone is expected to work towards unexplained goals that don’t have beneficial consequences to most.


I laughed out loud at this next part: “You may [wonder] whether you will have the strength to live for God. Don’t worry! God will give you what you need if you will just make the choice to live for him.” (See “Starting Places,” my article from last week.) Here the author is trying to get you into the deepest trap of religion. He wants you to surrender your mind so that you will accept his beliefs without question. He doesn’t even hide it. “Also, don’t feel that you must have all of your questions answered before you commit.” What would you say if a cell phone company, car salesman, or real estate agent told you to sign a contract when you had unanswered questions? You wouldn’t buy a house if you had doubts about it. Why would you accept an ideology as the basis of your thoughts and the purpose of your life when you have questions? I like the way he says it last: “Will you accept God’s offer? First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes.” Yes, he actually wrote “First, believe.” Religions love when people believe before they think. When it happens, most never start thinking and never stop believing.