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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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How do you give your life a sense of meaning? (and me venting some thoughts and asking for help) - June 14th 2012, 07:26 PM

This may sound a little existential, if so, I apologize.

I am curious how everyone gets their sense of purpose or meaning and life, and to those who currently have one, what is it?

I have seen in my life, the redundancy of life. Coming from various perspective (I didn't always profess to believe in G-D.), I've never saw a point to anything. Currently, I am going through a dry spell. That is to say, I am lacking a lot of motivation and losing interest in a lot.

My life used to be more defined by religion, but I saw faults in this. So, I've strayed away from organized religion. I also allowed music, literature, and such to mold me into who I am. That is, my life revolved around poetry, short stories, and music. However, I've lost all interest in these things. While I would say to a degree that I am religious, I feel my faith wavering. Not only due to reason, but because if (I say if because of course no one can truly know -- which I've always expressed, even as a dogmatic religious Christian) G-D exists, He has been ignoring me.

I've heard the reasons why this may be, and it doesn't add up. I've heard I don't ask with faith, I don't ask with the right motives, G-D will answer in His own time, G-D may not answer the way you think.

Well, I've found redundancies, and almost out right lies in some of these statements. As I mature, my mind has been taking an interest in science, while I may not have said so out right, or maybe it was assumed based on more recent posts, this is the case. In fact, my major at University has changed to reflect this.

I know some Christians may be put of assuming that science conflicts with faith, or whatever, I don't really find this the case, so I don't find my lack of faith having any correlation to science.

If anyone is wondering where I classify myself on the religious spectrum, currently, I consider myself more of an Ignostic Christian. In that, I think I believe in a G-D, and it would be the Christian G-D, but I don't know how I would define Him or express Him.

To some I hope they won't view me as an apostate, but only being intellectually honest with myself. The only reason I have a measure of faith left in me, perhaps the size of a mustard seed, is because there are people I've known who have been cured from paralysis, blindness, and such (multiple people), and have been cured for many years. I've had experiences with what I would claim to be demons, and my wife has had contact with various spirits. I do realize that perhaps these can be explained, but, right now, they're the only thing maintaining my faith. That and the fact I've indoctrinated myself for the past 4 years now.

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."
- Carl Sagan
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Re: How do you give your life a sense of meaning? (and me venting some thoughts and asking for help) - June 14th 2012, 08:36 PM

I think what you're describing is something that anyone who contemplates these things goes through. I suggest you look at what it truly is that gives you fulfillment and some semblance of happiness. When I embraced a fully atheist mindset, I had to deal with this thought process as well: what am I working towards? What is it that's going to validate what I do in life?

I gave it some thought, I read some, and then I slept. What I came to was that there were still ways I could lead a fulfilling, ethical life. A turning point was this debate, which I highly recommend you watch:

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Re: How do you give your life a sense of meaning? (and me venting some thoughts and asking for help) - June 15th 2012, 12:22 AM

My sense of purpose (insofar as what I think life is meant to be and how it should be lived), whilst quite cynical, seems to represent your pre-religious phase. I don't really find much purpose in anything, considering the vastness of the Universe. There's a multitude of questions that could be asked when searching for such purpose, but I don't think any answer can qualify or exhaustively explain exactly what is the sole purpose of life. I don't think it's necessary to delve into these questions here, considering you asked for a subjective description on what the purpose of life is.

For me, life isn't supposed to be oriented on a purpose. Rather, life should be given meaning and premised on some sort of conditional reason to live. In fact, life should be spent finding a form of meaning that is acceptable, covers the basic goods of human society (see 'Natural Law and Natural Rights' by John Finnis) and is a reason to better humanity, ourselves or others. In this sense, maybe the purpose of (at least my) existence is to find a meaning for existing. Once I have given my existing meaning, I can be satisfied that I fulfilled some form of purpose.
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Re: How do you give your life a sense of meaning? (and me venting some thoughts and asking for help) - June 20th 2012, 04:33 PM

I think we're probably here by coincidence, so there is no set meaning to life. It's a set of random events and that's just how it goes.

What gives me a sense of purpose, a reason to get up every day and do something, takes longer to explain but is very simple. I love my family, my friends, learning, and new experiences. Sometimes I wake up in the morning to spend time with people. Other times it's to learn or experience something new. Usually, it's for all of those reasons. I believe in doing the best I can in life, making positive changes in other people's lives, and enjoying what I am lucky to have.

If a benevolent creator exists, he/she/it would not punish me for that. If he/she/it would, that wouldn't be so benevolent.

"How dare I? Because it is the truth." -Jane Eyre

"You do what you love, and f#%* the rest." -Little Miss Sunshine
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Re: How do you give your life a sense of meaning? (and me venting some thoughts and asking for help) - June 20th 2012, 05:30 PM

I don't know if this will answer your question or not, but here's what I'm thinking:

I was always raised non-religious and I think my parents are agnostic, I developed a belief in God on my own, but it doesn't really fit any specific religion because as I looked at the different ones I realized I had at least one problem with every one of them. Either they were unbelieveable or I couldn't go along with some of the major beliefs or values(like conversion and using scripture to discriminate against people). I know God exists because I've experienced things that prove it for me although they probably wouldn't prove it for everyone.

I eventually came up with the belief (that still makes sense) that God sends us here with certain lessons that we need to learn and other ones that we need to teach others. Our purpose is to learn our missing lessons from others and teach the ones we have/pass on what we've learned. Once you've learned and taught everything, your purpose is complete. I just feel like I'm meant to help people, I've always felt that way, so I will teach/learn as a counselor. So I guess I get my sense of purpose from what I've always felt I was meant to do.

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Re: How do you give your life a sense of meaning? (and me venting some thoughts and asking for help) - June 26th 2012, 03:57 PM

I am not religious, although I was once. Following my loss of faith, I had a bit of a crisis looking for meaning, until I realised...
There is no meaning to my life but that I ascribe to it.
I get to pick my own meaning.
Existence precedes essence, in the words of Sartre.
Anyway, the meaning I choose to give my life is... well, Carl Sagan said that we're made of star stuff: we are a way for the universe to know itself. As such, I figure the best thing to do with my life is to make as many people as possible as happy as possible, and to teach the universe as much about itself as I can. Sure, the idea of meaning without the constant I found in faith is somewhat transitory at best, since I rather cynically do subscribe to the idea that everything is ultimately pointless in the long run. That doesn't mean, though, that I can't find joy and meaning in living my life in the way that benefits everyone else as much as possible.

It's no surprise that you'll soon forget about me
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Re: How do you give your life a sense of meaning? (and me venting some thoughts and asking for help) - June 26th 2012, 09:06 PM

i'm still searching for a sense of purpose too. but there's usually two constants i see with people.

people give purpose because they find something they're incredibly passionate about. they have an unbelievable drive for some political cause, art, music, their family, or anything like that. i haven't found this, but i hope to one day.

as for now, i'd say what kinda keeps me going is the connections i have, even though they are few. i want to be remembered fondly, i want to give a lasting impression to the people i care about or my kids if i have them later.

i don't mean i want people to remember Lugez specifically forever. i'm very much aware i'll eventually be forgotten as time goes on. but i hope that in ways i can affect the people i care/will care about in a positive way, so then they can pass those things down.

hope that was clear because i kinda suck at explaining these things. it's a bit idealistic, but it keeps me going.
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Re: How do you give your life a sense of meaning? (and me venting some thoughts and asking for help) - July 3rd 2012, 03:37 AM

Existential meaning doesn't have to be associated with religious or spiritual beliefs...

And unfortunately (or fortunately), if I've learned anything in life, it's that things like this are not necessary sought out or even searchable - they awaken in us when we are able to open ourselves up and touch something beyond what can be expressed with words.

"If limitations exist, it is because we have erased the possibility of potential."

Feel free to PM me if you ever need anything.
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