What is the Meaning of Life
Life Only Has Meaning in Christ
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 193 Life Only Has Meaning in Christ by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the subject that we’re discussing each day on this program. I think this is probably about the 193rd broadcast this year. I would like to thank those of you who listen so regularly. I really appreciate, more than I could express on this broadcast, the letters that you write and most of all the honesty and the integrity with which you communicate to me your own thoughts and your own feelings. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. It is beyond words to express how satisfying it is to know that some of you out there are thinking the same things as I am thinking and feeling the same things as a lot of us here in this world.
I really don’t want to say more. I think those of you who write to me know the reality of the feeling that I’m expressing at this moment. And I really don’t want to become maudlin or become emotional about it, but I thank you with all my heart for reciprocating my own attempt to be honest and to be open. Thank you. It means very, very much to me. And I feel very privileged to have you as a friend. Thank you very much. Thank you.
To those of you who heard that little bit, and wonder what I’m involved in, we’re trying to talk in a semi-intelligent way, I hope, about the whole reason for our existence. That is, why are you here? Why am I here? Why are you doing the things that you’re doing? If you’re sitting in a car at this moment, why do you sit in a car, day after day? If you’re at home, why do you go home and eat supper? Why were you born? Why do you work? We’re discussing that kind of thing– basic (what we call) cosmic questions that even our educational system in the West admits it is not addressing any longer.
And of course, it admits that that is the reason why so many of us want to stop living, because we really don’t understand the point of it any longer. We just don’t see why we’re here. And that’s what we’re trying to discuss on this program, and trying to make it as much a two-way conversation as possible. And so I do encourage you, if you’re listening and have thoughts about it to please write to me. And there’ll be an address given at the end of the broadcast. And I do assure you that I will read the letters. And I will look at them and think of them, and I will seriously respect your communications.
So that’s what we’re discussing. What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? And way at the beginning of this year, we tried to establish some intellectual basis for our belief that there was an intelligent mind behind the universe. On the basis of the order and design that we could perceive in ourselves, in the DNA molecule, in the chart of the elements, in the way the seasons fall, we decided that there had to be an intelligent mind that created this. It did not come about by time plus chance. If it came about by an evolutionary process, then it was an evolutionary process that had a built-in plan or design.
It was not an evolutionary process that came out of time plus chance. It had to have a mind behind it. We concluded this, because we have known ourselves what happens when a bomb explodes. A “big bang” does not create order; it creates chaos. We have known also what happens when we try to run things by the roulette wheel of chance. It normally doesn’t bring much order. It usually brings increasing entropy and dissolution into the life. And so, we decided it has to be an intelligent mind. We thought also that it has to be a personal mind, because we are persons.
And so, we took the position of theists, that is, people who believe that there is a Supreme Being behind the universe, intelligent and personable, and able to understand us.(cid:9)Then we began to search the history books to see if that Mind had revealed itself or communicated itself to us at any time during the history of the world.
We found all kinds of people like Buddha and the Hindu prophets; people like Confucius and Zoroaster, who claimed to be able to tell us what the Being behind the universe thought of when He created us.
But we realized that all of them were like us. They were just human beings who died like us and never were able to overcome death. They were in the same limited world as we were. We had no assurance that they had left the world at any time, even as an astronaut; that they had left the world at any time, and gone beyond the furthest physical star we can see, and had reached the place where the intelligent Mind behind the universe dwells, and then had come back to tell us what He thought. We had no confidence of that at all.
Normally, we were able to dig up their bones, dig up their bodies and find them. Except for one man! He lived in the first century of our era. And He died, but He came to life again, and seemed to be able to break through death whenever he chose. And as we examined His life in the history books, we discovered, first of all, that His historicity is more substantiated, better substantiated than that of Julius Caesar, than that of Plato, than that of Lucretius, than that of any of the ancient characters that lived at that time.
And that is because we have remarkable documentary evidence. We have incredibly early manuscripts that reinforce our belief that the history of this man’s life is among the most reliable history of mankind that we possess. And of course, that was the man Jesus of Nazareth. And I ask you not to turn the broadcast off at this moment, please! Examine the thing yourself. Think about it. Don’t be fundamentalist in your antagonism to this name. Examine and see — did this Man really live? Was He a real person? Did He really say and do the things that He did and said? And in the light of that, what do we conclude?
Well, we have concluded something, having examined the fact that He was able to overcome death and go through death and come back whenever He chose. And in the light of the fact that He had power over disease and nature, and that He lived the most ethical life that any man has ever lived, we concluded that He was speaking the truth when He said that He was the Son of the Maker of the world, and that He existed with His Father before the world was ever created.
And so we decided that the only one who could give us an authoritative answer to the question, “Why are we alive?” was this man. And that is why we began to listen to His explanation.(cid:9)And as we listened to Him, of course, He pointed out that most of us were living utterly dependent on the world of things and people and circumstances, for our security, our sense of self-esteem, our significance, and our happiness — instead of living depending on the one who stood behind the world, that is, His Father. And He pointed out that it was foolish. Not only foolish, but it was wrong.
And it was disrespect for that Maker to depend on the sky that He had made rather than on Him Himself; to depend on the people that He had made for our sense of self-esteem, rather than His opinion of us. To depend on the money that He had made rather than to depend on Him for our security. It was just wrong. It was stupid. It was unintelligent. But most of all, it was an absolute declaration to Him that we did not want to depend on Him.
And because of that, Jesus explained to us, we had become twisted, perverted personalities, because we’ve become utterly dependent on things and people and circumstances, so that we had actually lost a sense of who we were ourselves. We’ve lost a sense of our own identity. And many of us admit that we have done that. We look inside and we can hardly find out who we are.
We’ve become such men pleasers. We’ve become such little puppets that do what the boss says or do what our teacher says, or what somebody else says, that we cannot find out who we are ourselves. And so we determined that part of our problem today is that we cannot find any “me” inside! And we don’t quite know how to discover
that “me”, how to see it come alive again. That’s what we’d like to discuss a little further tomorrow.