In this post I will be continuing my discussion of “meaning.” In its entry on “meaning” Wikipedia lists the “big questions.” Theists will necessarily answer these questions differently from materialists. Below is my best estimate of how the questions will be answered by the two groups.
Followers of different theistic traditions will answer the questions differently. The following is from a traditional Christian perspective.
1. What is the meaning of life? In the Christian tradition this question is perhaps best answered by the Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q1. What is the chief end of man? A1. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
2. What’s it all about? See 1.
3. Who are we? We are creatures created in the image of God and therefore endowed with unlimited worth. We are partially spirit and partially material.
4. Why are we here? See 1.
5. What are we here for? See 1.
6. What is the origin of life? God created life.
7. What is the nature of life? Life is created and sustained in being by the creator.
8. What is the nature of reality? God created and sustains in being all things
9. What is the purpose of life? See 1.
10. What is the purpose of one’s life? See 1.
11. What is the significance of life? Each life is a gift from God, and we live our lives in the context of our relationship with God. We exist to fulfill a purpose, and our actions have eternal consequences with respect to that purpose. Our every act and thought either advances or impedes that purpose.
12. What is meaningful and valuable in life? See 11.
13. What is the value of life? Since we are created in the image of God, life has infinite inestimable worth.
14. What is the reason to live? See 1.
15. What are we living for? See 1.
1. What is the meaning of life? There is none.
2. What’s it all about? Nothing.
3. Who are we? We are a bag of molecules that believes falsely that it is conscious.
4. Why are we here? We are a cosmic accident. There is no reason.
5. What are we here for? Nothing.
6. What is the origin of life? Blind unguided natural forces combined with chance and acting in deep time are responsible for all things, including life.
7. What is the nature of life? Life has no intrinsic nature. Living things have no inherent value. A living body has no more worth than an inanimate bag of chemicals. Our false belief in our consciousness does not endow us with worth.
8. What is the nature of reality? Everything can be explained by the interaction of particles in motion.
9. What is the purpose of life? There is none.
10. What is the purpose of one’s life? There is none.
11. What is the significance of life? There is none.
12. What is meaningful and valuable in life? There is no ultimate meaning or value in life. We make up stories to the contrary, but we know those stories are false.
13. What is the value of life? There is no value of life.
14. What is the reason to live? There is no reason to live unless one count’s our subjective desire not to die as a reason.
15. What are we living for? We have no purpose.