Recently I received a page like invite on Facebook for something called Real 2021, I looked at it and found that it was a Christian thing. Being non-religious I contacted the invite sender to explain why I wouldn’t be following the page.
However, I was curious about these Christians. I wanted to see how preachy a Facebook page could be. I get bored a lot these days and life doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere, I have no purpose and don’t believe in anything strongly enough for it to give me drive or devotion. I satisfied my curiosity and while shooting psychos on Borderlands 2 listened to a forty-five minute chat that they’d had about identity.
This lack of purpose that I feel does leave me feeling a little lost sometimes, like I don’t belong. Listening to these Christians talk logically about how having a belief to identify you – even in a new situation – was interesting, your beliefs make you what you are. Then they started talking about God and I did zone out a bit but I admire, maybe even envy their sense of identity through faith, it gives them purpose as their purpose is to believe.
Applying realistic, non-religious logic to the belief that God gives them purpose can come in three ways as I see it:
- The Divine Plan which says everything happens because that’s what this ultimate being has decided, removing God from this leaves you with destiny which just means life is like a movie and everything is set or predetermined from the word go. You don’t have to believe in anything because if something is already set it will just happen, your purpose will come or it won’t.
- The Small God which if you’ve read the Discworld book Small Gods you’ll know that without belief Gods die or shrink in power until they can only manifest as something small like a tortoise, imagine how we see Zeus or Thor these days. The once great Greek and Norse gods are just story characters now but were once as great as science for how they were seen. Therefore a religious person has the purpose of believing so their god stays powerful enough to help them when they need it and it’s a two way exchange (I vaguely remember a story about footprints in the sand). For a non-religious person maybe self belief with your brain being the “God” figure in the situation, give it the motivation and it will carry you through everything.
- The Inferior Creature Idea which seems to rely on random luck. My friend suggested this one and it’s that if we say God created trees which have the purpose of sustaining the planets ability to hold life the each of us is created with a purpose, we won’t know what it is but we might eventually realise what our purpose is, either individually or as a collective species. If you build it they will come in simple terms. I am therefore I do, which means just being here gives potential for purpose in both a religious and non-religious sense.
Of the above I like the Inferior Creature Idea the best as it works for everyone and it’s encouraging to know that we can enjoy life at our own pace, sort of like a video game with choices or the trousers of time (another thing from the Discworld). We don’t need on demand knowledge of purpose as we’ll find our way.
Purpose gives hope to many, hope is what drives people to go on in the hardest of times. Hoping for a purpose can drive us mad. But knowing that the future will still happen leaves room for hope even without knowing your purpose and it’s nice to think that we can live free, with belief or without it and eventually it’ll turn out fine as we’re going to the end of the line.
I thank my friend as this thought process has actually made me feel a bit happier, playing with logic might be what I do believe in.