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“Is Life Meaningless?” What’s behind the question?

I was in a debate with Ben Rae of the UWA Christian Union this week, and the topic was “Is Life Meaningless?”

I’ll have a bit to say about this, and I think there may even be video (though I hope not — I have a condition that makes me curl into a ball of pain when seeing myself on film). But I wanted to post an idea that occurred to me as I was passing the staircase.

The way the event went down, there was a lot of Ben saying that life was meaningless without Jesus, and a lot of me saying that, no, life had meaning, atheists have the ability to create meaning in life, and that even Christians have to construct it.

But why would a Christian want to assert that life is meaningless without a god? In a word: marketing. You have to sell the problem before you can sell the solution, and what we saw was Ben selling a lot of problem. There’s really nothing that a religion can offer someone who’s happy and well-adjusted. They do awfully well with miserable people, though.

It would make sense, then, for religions to try to increase human misery in an effort to sell their system, which in fact, they do. It could be considered their chief enterprise.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Daniel,
    nice blog, I'm enjoying it:)
    You may see the following as a quibble over a minor detail, but I think it's important.

    I see what you're saying, Ben was promoting Christianity, by highlighting one of the issues faced by Atheists. I think this is quite different from marketing and selling a problem. Ben was not trying to bring in the dollars for himself, he was lovingly trying to bring to people's attention the conundrum that they're facing. I think that he and most Christians would, as I do find your comment that he is trying to increase human misery unreasonable.

    On an anecdotal basis, I also disagree with you when you say that "There's really nothing that a religion can offer someone who's happy and well-adjusted. They do awfully well with miserable people, though."
    At one level, it's very true that Christianity offers healing and peace to miserable people. However, at another level, I have several friends who come from well-educated, comfortable, happy families, and were and are happy individuals who have converted to Christianity because they are convinced that it is true. They didn't run to Christianity due to being in a state of misery (as many have done), but realised that it's true, and then converted.

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