Purpose Driven Thing - Day 1
Alright, let's get into this. Rick Warren's book starts out, obviously, assuming that there is a God. He's a preacher in 'Merica, so of course, there's a God. He gives a couple of quotes to start, one of which is aimed to poke at a very misunderstood atheist position:
Unless you assume a God, the question of life's purpose is meaningless. Bertrand RussellGood thing he didn't quote the teapot argument. To address this point, however, sure, I'll grant that cosmically, universally, life is purposeless and meaningless. Personally, however, life's purpose is what you make of it. Jackass.
The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness.So if you decide that your life's purpose (although you don't decide, do you Rick...) is pain and suffering, so be it. Warren would see this as a moot point because SkyDaddy decides your life's purpose for you, no input required. He says:
You were born by His (God's) purpose, and for His purpose.So suck it.
The point here was to stop being "self-centred" and to start being "God-centred." Warren points out that his is not a "self help" book and then says that because you didn't create yourself, you can't tell what purpose you were created for; only your creator can do that. So, evidently, we have to have a little chat with God.
The small hitch in this plan is that you might as well have a chat with the flying, six-legged, green buffalo on Venus. There's the same chance that they exist as God. This also misses the point of using items created for one purpose for quite another use altogether. Think of women who use the handles of perfectly good hair brushes to...well...let's just say for a more pleasurable use than brushing their hair. Or those thin, cylindrical mousse cannisters. You know what I'm talkin' about, ladies.
Warren relates a story about getting lost and that when on one side of a mountain, he asked directions to get to a point on the other side. The gomers he found told him that, "You can't get there from here." He had to start from the other side of the mountain.
I'm not sure if a man as religious as Warren just can't follow a logical point, but if you're on a mountain and you got from point A to point B, then you can get back. It's really not a hard equation. It might be a long way from A to B, but it's certainly do-able. Perhaps that's just a difficult transition to make; from water into wine and folks floating bodily up to Heaven (whatever that means) to a point by point logical train.
Rick Says: "You were made by God, for God." Great, so what about the poor fella who gets made to scoop up the donkey poop? I mean, someone's gotta do it. Or the fellas who have to clean out the latrines and septic tanks? Seriously? That's your purpose in life according to God? That blows.
Also: (paraphrased) God uses you for His purpose, not you using God for yours.
Ok, so we're done, right? Your life really has no purpose, just what God wants. You have no say whatsoever. So shut up and pick that cotton. Or, more tragically, shut up and starve to death in Sudan while you watch your young children do the same and likely die in your arms. Awesome, God, you're the best. I'd drop to my knees but I've already collapsed to them due to malnutrition and muscle wasting.
Rick Asks: How, then, do we discover the purpose you were created for? Even the wisest philosophers are just guessing.
Again, this means that we're done here, right? I can stop reading this tripe? No? Ok, only 39 more days....
We know what our life's purpose is through revelation, says Rick. "We can turn to what God has revealed about life in his word." Ok, but my question would then be, how the eff do we know that that's authentic? If I'm basing my entire life's purpose on this, I'm going to have to see some proo...oh, wait. Warren is religious. Dammit, "proof" will get you nothing.
See, all you have to do to know your purpose is to ask God, like as if he were your wacky neighbor with the nice TV and the big hot tub. This is because, "God is not just the starting point of your life, He's the source of it." And here I thought my mom and dad had marital relations. I'm just a big silly-head.
This was a great quote from Mr. Warren:
To discover your purpose in life, you must turn to God's Word, not the world's wisdom.Yeah, screw all that acquired knowledge, that's just leading you down the primrose path towards being all sciency and non-religious and heathenous and immoral. You, "...must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success, motivation, or inspirational stories."
Um, aren't most religious tales just a combination of these things? Isn't the damn bible just a collection of what religious people (not me or other skeptics, of course) would term "inspiration stories"? Things that make you go "hm."
Fun point! Apparently, God has a purpose in mind for you before you're born! Oh, wait, crap...ok, awkward moment here...um...so what about spontaneous abortions aka "miscarriages"? It seems like God is responsible for around 25 - 50% of aborted pregnancies. Does that mean God is an abortion doctor? Why are the christians so goddamned against abortions if their God is such a proponent? ...Awkward....
To end the chapter, Warren has some more atheist-bashing quotes and a story about Andrei Bitov who lived in Communist, atheist Russia where "life is crushing and has no meaning." Eff that idiotic sterotype. I thought Warren was better than this.
The "Question to Consider" at the end of chapter one is this:
In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?To end as I began, *sigh*. This really is written in a crappy condescending manner and has no real thought-provoking ideas yet. I hope in subsequent chapters I might be able to at least gain some appreciation of why so many people thought this book was the bomb or why 665 people on Amazon gave it a five star rating. So far, to me, it's terrible...but tomorrow's another day!