Sunday, April 12, 2009

What Is The Meaning of Life?

From time to time, I wonder if my life has meaning. Purpose. A reason to go on. I thank God for friends and family who quickly reassure me that my existence is important to them.

However, when I am at my worst, I find myself wondering whether my friends and family really mean what they say.

It occurred to me that the meaning of life has been a big question for millenia. People far more intelligent and educated than me have pondered the matter and have written extensively on the subject. As I was searching for some of those writings, I stumbled upon the Wikipedia article entitled Meaning of Life.  It is a marvelous compilation of many, many schools of thought on the subject.  Each of the many entries ( for example see the one on existentialism ) provides an excellent short summary of a philosophical or religious attempt to find meaning in life.  The possibility that life is meaningless (i.e. absurd) is also included.

As I read the long list of summaries, I suspected that a true follower of any one philosophy may find the summary of their thoughts to be inadequate.  However, Wikipedia is particularly helpful with broad topics like this one.  A profusion of links exist in the article that can take one to deeper and deeper explorations of any one philosophy or belief.  If public domain articles become inadequate,  there is always a nice list of links to weighty tomes that should satisfy the most voracious appetite for reading.  One could also find and enter into discourse with many fellow adherents of any given line of thought.  

I read the long list carefully.   I found the summary for Christianity to be a fine start for anyone seeking to understand that faith.  Here is a key sentence from that passage:

Under the Christian view, the main purpose in life is to live like Christ did (perfect altruism) to love God with all one's heart, soul, and mind, and to love fellow human beings as you should be loved.

I could quibble with bits of that sentence, but its heart and soul is a phrase that is repeated throughout the bible and quoted by Jesus in the New Testament:  "to love God with all one's heart, soul, and mind, and to love fellow humans as you should be loved".

I am without excuse if I fail to remember the purpose of my life. I am a christian.  Loving God means knowing and obeying God.  Knowing and obeying God means that I will grow in love for each and every person I encounter.  I can rejoice that God will help me to grow in love if I ask him to.

There is not a moment in my waking hours when I cannot turn my mind towards loving God and loving my fellow humans.  Often I can act on the thoughts.   Serving. Listening. Praying. Forgiving.   Consequently, the meaning of my life has been made abundantly clear by the God I love and serve.

 I thank God for meaning in my life.

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