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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lame Purpose Driven Project

I read somewhere in a list of New Year's resolutions that one skeptic was going to make a point of reading a book he did not, in any way, agree with. I thought that was a great idea, so I figured that I'd pick up Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. Once I came to my senses, I realized that I belong to and get an audiobook every month - that way I don't have a hard copy lying around to make me look like a homophobic, retarded christian assmonkey.

Ok, but this book sold crazy numbers so obviously people are getting something from it. I'd like to see what's so good about it, if anything, so I'm going to give it a listen and I'm going to try to be fair about it. Now, I'm a pretty hard skeptic, so it's going to be rough-going and there are forty chapters that you're supposed to read one at a time, one per day. I'll attempt to do this to follow Warren's instructions. Today I listened to the introduction and chapter one. These are my thoughts and notes on the former with the latter to come tomorrow (see, that way I'll be always a day ahead in my jottings and scribblings):

Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life, because it is written by "America's pastor", assumes that the Christian god is real and there's no question about it. He really glosses over some of the Old Testament's horror stories to make a point about how "forty days" is an important amount of time for God to test people. Take Noah, for example. Warren says, "Noah was transformed by forty days of rain." I don't think I'd say that Noah was the "transformed" one - maybe the millions of other people and animals and fish and plant life that all were murdered by God just because he was "displeased". Remind me, though, if we ever discover proof that God exists, to apologize profusely.

Warren also mentions that, "David was transformed by Goliath's forty-day challenge." Sort of makes it sound like P90X, doesn't it? Warren fails to mention that after David kills Goliath with the stone (or sword, depending on the verse you prefer), he cuts the giant's head off like a jihadi with a Sony handycam. Pretty harsh material....

Rick says that people don't ponder what they read:
We rush to the next truth without reflecting on what we've learned.
Now, when a guy who thinks that talking donkeys are real starts preaching about "truths", I usually just tune out, but here we are trying to be all professional and such, so I plodded onwards.

Warren tries to sell some of his related "purpose driven" merch here such as the "Purpose Driven Life Scripture and Affirmation Pak". I spell it "pak" because I'm very street and it gives me more cred' with my peeps, k? K. Also, the "Purpose Driven Life Companion Book/Journal", just in case you ran out of the loose-leaf they sell at Wal-Mart or your local small-business stationary store.

Warren makes it clear that the Bible is God's word, His instruction book. Warren also says that he has essentially paraphrased some quotes to make them "more accessible" to the lay audience who just might miss the message (or "purpose", if you will) if they read quickly and gloss over words like an over-worked university student at three in the morning before exam day - like they always do, those assholes.

Rick wants you to sign an actual agreement saying that you'll read a chapter a day for forty days. It's like a contract with yourself, much like that time you promised yourself that you'd stay off YouPorn for two weeks, but eventually (ok, a day and a half) you caved and rubbed one out. Basically this "contract" is to get lazy people to actually read this so-far-pointless tripe.

This is going to be difficult. Tomorrow is chapter one - maybe I'll find my purpose and that'll be that. I wonder if it happens that easily for some people? "Hmmm...I wonder what my ultimate purpose in life is? Oh, I bet it's knowing how to make a nice mac'n'cheese and supplying any and all pot-luck family gatherings with a tray of the stuff. Alright, done!"

Until tomorrow, fine readers.

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