“This series attempts to answer the questions ‘why are we alive?’, is there meaning and purpose to our lives, the problem of sin and selfishness, where our security comes from. The 10 minute talks will establish our uniqueness as God’s children by arguing for God’s existence, order and design in the universe, historicity of the Bible, Jesus’ divinity and resurrection. This is the groundwork for all of reality which ultimately enables us to find true happiness, security and redemption through God’s individual love for each of us.”
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Being a Slave to Circumstances -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Being a Slave to Circumstances
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question that we’re discussing on this broadcast. And we have been
doing that for, I suppose about 190 broadcasts. And we’re trying to talk about it from a realistic viewpoint.
That is, from the basis of our own experiences, and on the basis of our own intellectual understanding of what
caused this earth to come into existence in the first place. And you who have followed the broadcasts through
from the beginning of the year, know that we concluded that the order and design in the universe indicated
that there must be an intelligent mind behind it.
And then, we followed through the kind of logic that guided Einstein when he said that his own religion
consisted of a great respect for the intelligent mind that was behind the universe and that produced all the
details of which we were just a little conscious. We concluded that there has to be a personable being behind
the universe in order to make us persons. Then, you remember, we studied history to see if there were any
indications that that person had communicated with us.
And of course we examined the ancient religions: Buddhism and Confucianism and Zoroastrianism and Hinduism and
the other religions that have claimed to tell us what the Maker of the world had in mind when He made us. And
we concluded they all suffered the same limitation. They had never been off the earth themselves, the great
leaders of these religions. They had never left the world and come back to tell us what was beyond the
furthest star. Indeed, only one had done that and that was the man that lived in the first century and is
known to us, of course, as Jesus of Nazareth.
We examined the documentary evidence and the manuscripts that are in the British Museum that lie behind the
history of his life and his death and his resurrection from the dead. And we concluded that it was the most
reliable history of that time that we possess. And that we would have to throw out Caesar, and Thucydides and
Lucretius and Plato and all the other ancient writers if we were going to throw out the history of his life
and his death and the most clearly established fact of ancient history: his resurrection from the dead.
And so we concluded that this man actually was the Son of the Maker of the world and what he said about the
meaning of life was the only authoritative opinion that really mattered. And we’ve been following through what
he has been explaining to us about our lives and you remember we’ve reached the point where we’ve found he has
explained to us that we have decided to depend, not on his Father who sent us here with a purpose in mind and
who has a special plan for each of our lives(and He has; He has an actual plan for your life) but we
determined not to depend on Him, but, in fact, to get what we wanted ourselves from, not Him, but from the
And so, we immediately experienced a great sense of insecurity when we separated ourselves from a kind of
inner dependence on Him. It’s very easy to experience that insecurity. You only have to look around yourself
and see the four billion of us that are thrashing around here trying to get our share of the food, shelter and
clothing in the world and it’s easy to realize that a person would feel insecure. And so, we have. And most of
us have spent our lives being driven by that insecurity.
That’s the reason why most of us go out to work in the morning. Not because we like work, not because we feel
it is the thing we were made to do — though a few of us do — but most of us go out to work because we need
the money. And we need the money to get the food to keep us alive so that we can keep our bodies warm with
nice clothing and then so we can have roofs over our head to keep the rain off us. And of course not only do
we find ourselves concerned with security, but we also realize that there are four billion people in the world
who think they’re just as unique as we know we are.
And yet, they have no time to notice us. So, we spend a lot of our time trying to establish our own
significance and our own self esteem and self worth in everybody else’s eyes. And so, whatever time we have
left over from trying to establish our financial and material security, we give to establishing our
significance in others’ eyes. So, we often don’t just buy a coat, but we buy a different kind of coat that
will really make us stand out in a crowd. We often don’t buy just a car, but we buy the best car we can
possibly afford so that other people will think we are really worth something.
And so, we find ourselves increasingly enslaved to meeting these needs of ours and increasingly enslaved to
just the world itself; to depending on things; to depending on people; to depending on happy circumstances to
make us happy until many of us have reached the point in our lives where it’s just all feeling very, very old.
Very old. And indeed, we’re feeling old. And we feel there’s something that is gone grey inside that used to
be full of green life and we wonder where it is.
And we at times think maybe we were different. Maybe, there was something we had to do here on earth that
nobody else could do but we’ve lost the ability to find anybody inside our heads or our hearts that knows
anything about that. We seem to have become just automatons. And we don’t know how to get life coming into us
again and we don’t really know how to find ourselves again. And that’s of course what this man, Jesus, said.
He said, “Look, you’ve died. You’ve died. You’re dead. Your spirit, the very essence of you, the thing that
makes you you has died.” And that’s your problem.
That’s the trouble. You appear to be alive because your physical body is alive and your mind works in some
fashion and your emotions and your will, but really the inside part of you, your spirit, has died. You,
yourself, are dead now and there’s no one who can make you alive here on earth. The only one who can make you
alive inside is the one who gave you that life in the first place, your Maker. And He is able to make you
alive again inside. You are able to be born all over again inside.
You’re able to come alive, that part of you that used to be, that part of you that Wordsworth talked about ï¿½
that you ï¿½came as a child trailing clouds of glory behind you.ï¿½ You came with some sense of the bright and
the clean; and some sense of what you should do here on earth. That part of you can come alive again. And it
doesn’t matter how old or how cynical or how skeptical you are. The Maker of the world is able to make you
And of course what we did, you remember a few days ago, was quote an old verse that was spoken about 2000
years ago, a few words that were spoken to a man called Ezekiel and you actually find it in the Bible. If you
have a Bible at home, you should maybe look it up. It’s Ezekiel, chapter 36 and verse 26. And it’s a statement
by the Maker of the universe to us. He says, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within
you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
And many of us feel our hearts have become pretty hard and pretty stony. And this is a direct statement by the
Maker who made you that He is able to give you a new spirit. Now, if you say, “Ah, well, that might be — but
I’m not very religious.” Well, this isn’t religion we are talking about. It’s reality. This is what has
happened to you. You know it fine well. I know it fine well. And the Maker of the universe has said through
His Son — whom admittedly we have made into a kind of religious cult figure — He has said that He will do
this for you and He is able to do it.
And of course, we know He must be if He made us from the beginning out of nothing. And He is able to do it.
But the first step of course in your experiencing it, is to begin to believe that this man Jesus is His Son,
and that what He is explaining to us about our lives is true. And that’s the first step. And you could take
that today, just on the basis of the evidence. And if you want to find out more about Him, read that Bible.
Read Mark. It’s one of the books in the New Testament. Just read it and find out what this man said and the
kind of life He lived.
We Need to be Born Again -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We Need to be Born Again
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the general title under which we’ve begun to discuss a great many topics
during this year on this broadcast at this time. And we’ve reached the point where we’re discussing
particularly the problem that many of us face in modern life, regarding the motives for which we do things and
the reasons behind our actions, and behind the jobs that we do, and the vacations that we have.
We’re beginning to realize that many of these activities are dictated, not by a real, free desire inside
ourselves, but by necessity; by outward compulsions and constraints that force these things upon us. For
instance, many of us are realizing that we don’t work because we like work, or because we like the work that
we do. Many of us get out to work each morning simply because we need the pay packet. And we’ve realized that
we need the pay packet because of course we need the food to keep us alive and we need the clothing to keep us
protected from the elements.
And then we’ve realized that many of us also work to pay the mortgage because we want a roof over our heads to
keep the rain off. And so, we realize that much of our day (because it’s usually about eight hours for each of
us every day, and about forty hours of the week) is spent trying to meet the needs for physical security in
regard to food and clothing and shelter that we have. And then we realize that many of the extras that we buy
are connected up with another need that we have — not this time for security, but for some sense of value.
We want to feel of some value to somebody. We want to feel that we matter to somebody, that somebody cares
whether we exist or not. And we’ve found so often that the only way to get that kind of care or that kind of
interest from other people is to be either useful to them in some way, or in some way outstanding, or
different, or better. And so, we have realized that often we buy the nice car or the nice house not so much
because we really think we should buy it, but because it’ll perhaps gain us some prestige, or some value, or
some sense of esteem so that we stand out a little from the crowd and at least are noticed by the rest of the
people in the world.
And so, we have discovered that many of us live our lives driven by these needs that we have; these needs for
security, and needs for significance or self esteem, and needs, actually, for happiness. Because often we find
we’re driven by a drive that makes us feel, “You should be happy. You should be happy so try to get happy
circumstances in the things that happen to you to make you happy.” And so we study how to have a nice vacation
that supposedly makes us happy or how to get exciting weekends that will make us happy.
But all the time we’re becoming driven people. And many of us have realized that we have become like little
puppets or marionettes that are pulled by strings that are in the hands of other people. We realize that we do
things to please our teachers, to please our professor, to please our parents, to please our boss, to please
our wife, to please our children, or to please our peers. And we’re always trying to please people, or we’re
afraid of displeasing people and we do things because of fear of our teachers, fear of our professors, fear of
our parents, fear of our wives, fear of our children, or fear of our peers.
And so, we find that we are driven men and women and do not actually act freely from inside. We remember
vaguely a time in our lives when we were children when we used to be actual people; when we had an attitude or
a spirit inside us that was free. We would think of ourselves as free spirits and individualists. And we had
little ideas of things that we would do in life or things that we would be. And many of us remember those
vaguely, those days. But it’s a bit like Wordsworth said in his poem, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy. At
length a man perceives it die away and fade into the light of common day.”
And most of us have come to the point in later years where we doubt if there’s anybody inside us at all. We
have become the result of our heredity plus our environment and there doesn’t seem much we can do about it.
And yet, this is utterly untrue and a travesty of what was meant to be because what we have been saying is
that a remarkable man came to the earth in the first century and He was different from all the other religious
He lived what He taught first of all, and then when they died like dogs and were buried like the rest of us,
He died, but He came back to life again and showed He had power over life and death and proved to us by the
ethical life that He lived and by His remarkable character and power over sickness and over powers of nature
that He was really the son of the Maker of our universe. And He explained to us that we had got to this point
where we felt we had died inside simply because we had started to live depending on the world of people and
things and circumstances instead of depending in our hearts on the one who made us and put us here: His
Father, the Maker of the universe.
And He said that’s why you’ve died inside. You’re actually dead inside. And that’s why you have so much
trouble finding yourself. Because there’s nothing inside that is real anymore. It’s all dead and what you are
is just a bundle of reflexes and reactions to people and circumstances and things. He also said that it was
possible to discover yourself all over again. And it was possible for His Father, the Maker of the universe,
to make you alive again inside — the bit of you that had died. He called it your spirit.
The very spirit of a person is the very essence of the person, the person themselves — before they
accumulated all these accretions of peer pressures and social needs; the person themselves inside, as they
were when they were first created. This man, Jesus, said you could be reborn again, could start all over
again. And that His Father, the Maker of the universe, was able actually to bring that about in your own life.
And He said the first thing that was needed was that you would actually believe what He was saying, and that
you would examine His life and examine His death and examine His power to come back from the dead and see that
He was really the son of the Maker of the universe.
And that’s what He said. It’s very important for you to come alive inside. It’s very important that you
believe that what I say is true; that it’s reality. And obviously, that’s the case. I mean, if this is going
to become true in your life or become real in you, then there’s no possibility of it unless you, yourself
believe it. Obviously, if you think this is just a lot of religious stuff you’ll just turn it off immediately
and nothing more will happen. The first step is to believe that these things are true. So I do ask you to
examine them and analyze them, and think about them.
And please don’t just in a blind kind of non-intellectual, obscurantist way lay the stuff aside as stupid.
Please do examine it and be intellectual about it. Don’t be a miserable fundamentalist in the sense that you
just believe what you believe and you won’t examine anything new at all. Be real about it and examine the
thing and see if it’s true and then believe it and begin to listen to Him. And of course, the first thing
you’ll hear Him saying is that the first step towards this is to stop depending on the world and to start
depending on your God.
That’s the first step towards the Maker of the universe beginning to make you come alive inside, so that you
can at last find out who you are and begin to live the magnificent, original, creative life that you were
intended to and that you once dreamed of.
Life Only Has Meaning in Christ -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
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
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
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.
Repentance and New Birth -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Repentance and New Birth
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question we’re discussing on this broadcast. And this is about the
194th time we’ve talked about it. And you may remember, those of you who’ve been following it through the days
Monday to Friday, know that we’ve reached the point in our discussion where we’re examining the explanation of
the meaning of life that has been given by that remarkable human being that lived in the first century of our
era. The man has shown himself to be different from every other human being, because he was able to overcome
death, and come through the experience of death as often as he chose. And that is the man known as Jesus of
And He has explained to us that the problem with our lives is that we’re not living it in dependence upon the
One who produced the world. In other words, it is obvious to all of us that there had to be some intelligent
mind that produced a world that has as much order and design as ours has. One has only to look at the chaos
that follows drops in the stock market to see that it is usually us human beings that create the chaos in the
world. The world itself has great order in it. The seasons provide a framework of order for us and for the
farmers to operate.
The rising and setting of the sun provides some of the only stability that many of us have to our day. The
world itself has design and order everywhere. The Maker of that universe has to be an intelligent Being, who
is at least as personable as ourselves.(cid:9)And this man Jesus explained that the Maker of the universe created us
and created the world so that we would get to know Him. That was why we were created; so that we’d get to know
Him, become His friends, and begin to actually love Him. Because He actually loves us. And that’s why He made
you — because He treasures your friendship.
You are invaluable to Him. If you don’t begin to get to know Him, there’ll be something that He will miss
forever, and there’ll be something of course, that you will miss forever. But Jesus explained that the reason
for our creation, therefore, was to become His friends. And we would become that through simply dealing with
Him as He is, treating Him for real; respecting Him, taking the appropriate attitude that we would take to the
One who had made us.
But, instead of doing that, we have determined that we will try to get from the world of people the sense of
self-esteem and worth that you really get when you begin to believe seriously that there is a Creator who has
made you, and has counted the hairs of your head, and wants you as His friend, as His son or as His daughter.
There is no sense of self-esteem or self-worth that will even compete with that!
And instead of beginning to live like that in regard to the Maker of the world, we have, of course, tried to
substitute the good opinions of our boss, the approval of our teachers, the praise of our friends, the respect
of our peers, the acknowledgment of our parents. And because we have done that, we have become little puppets
that will do anything to please them, or to get their praise, or to get their approval. And as we have done
that, we have turned more and more into little robots, or little performing monkeys or marionettes.
It’s the same, this man Jesus explained, with our desire for security. All of us have a great desire for
security. And you know that we don’t just want old, boring security. We want happiness as well. And so we want
security and stability from having the right food, and the right shelter and the right clothing. But we also
want excitement in our lives. And so we try to get “both-and”. And the only way we can do it is to become
almost slaves to the company. “Our souls have been sold to the company store”, as the song said.
And we will do anything to hold onto our jobs. And if we lose our jobs, our heart sinks, and our whole
security goes through the floor. If we find that our investments have turned sour, our sense of security
absolutely departs from us. And we become slaves to the companies, or to the jobs, or to the money, or to the
bank accounts that provide us with the food, and the shelter and clothing that gives us the sense of security.
And Jesus said that that results in us becoming a little robot, a little R2D2. And you know yourself that
often your life has become just a rat race, just a treadmill.
You blast into the office every day, not because you love to be in the office, but because you need the old
shekels. And you need the dollars or the pounds, in order to give you a sense of security so that you can
sleep at night. And so you find yourself often on a treadmill — not a treadmill that gives you much happiness
— just a treadmill that seems to keep away the fear of the wolf from the door. And so you become a little
pre-programmed robot, that does what it has to do, and has very little freedom in its life.
And there come times when you say, “Yes, yes, that’s right! I do feel that! I feel so old at times. I feel as
if I’m worn out, just doing what everybody wants! Doing what the boss wants me to do, doing what my wife wants
me to do, doing what my parents want me to do. Yes, I do feel that! I DO feel that often the bank runs me. The
bank OWNS me, body and soul. Often I feel I’ll do anything for more nuts, like a little monkey. But I don’t
know what to do about it.”
“I’ve looked inside to see if there was any of that fresh, young mind that I used to be years ago. But it’s as
if I’ve disappeared. It’s as if when I knock on the door of my heart, I find nobody in. I can’t find myself
the way I used to.”
And this man Jesus said, “Of course you can’t. That’s because you’re dead.” And we hate that thought! But He
said, “Yes, even though you’re alive, you’re dead inside. You’ve died inside. Your spirit is dead.” Your
spirit, you know, is the essence of you. The spirit of Churchill was the essence of the man. Your spirit is
the essence of you, the very essence of you: you yourself. Apart from your heredity, apart from your
environment, there’s a you. There is, believe it or not! Your soul, your mind and emotions are often formed by
your heredity and influenced by your environment. So is your body. But there’s a part of you that isn’t.
There’s a part of you that actually is eternal, and that’s the part of you that is you. That’s the “you”
inside.(cid:9)And you can’t find that you because it’s died. Why has it died? It’s died because instead of looking
to the Maker of the universe for the things that you need and for the happiness that you need, you’ve looked
to everything else, so that you’ve ceased to operate. You’ve actually ceased to exercise yourself. You have.
You’ve ceased to exercise yourself.
And that spirit, you yourself, is dead inside. And of course, Jesus explained once to a Jewish scholar in the
first century, He explained, “Actually you have to be born all over again. You have to be recreated inside.”
And the scholar said, “How can I do that? Can I enter again into my mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus said,
“No, no. You’re born from above.” And this man was Nicodemus. If you ever have a Bible near you, you should
look it up in the New Testament. It’s in a book called “John”, the Gospel of John, and it’s chapter three.
And this man Nicodemus said, “How? How can that be?” And Jesus said, “The first step is, believe me. Believe
what I’m saying to you.” And that actually is the first step. You know, if you’re in that position and you
can’t find yourself anymore and you don’t know how to bring yourself alive, believe that: that the only One
who can bring you alive is the One who made you alive in the first place.
There is a God. There is a Maker or a Creator. There is. And He actually knows you. And He actually loves you,
believe it or not. He loves you. He thinks the world of you. He thinks something of you, far more than
anybody else does. And He is able to make you alive inside again, if you believe this, if you believe it. And
then Jesus said there’s one other thing you have to do, if you’re going to come alive inside. And I’d like to
share that tomorrow. Let’s talk a little more about it tomorrow.
We Need to be Changed Within -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We Need to be Changed Within
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question that we’re discussing on this program each day. And we’ve
reached the point in our conversation where we have determined that the One who is able to give us the best
explanation of the meaning of life has to be someone who has been off this world. That is, has been off it and
has been far enough off it to get beyond the furthest planet that we are able to perceive with our radio
telescopes and has gone beyond the end of infinity, and has got to the point where He is able to communicate
with the Creator, or the Maker, or the Supreme Being that produced the world and produced you and me.
And we have concluded, of course, that there’s only one candidate for that, and that is the incredible human
being that lived in the first century of our era, and showed that He was able to break through death and come
back through the barrier whenever He chose. That is that Person that we all look to as an example of an
ethical life, the man Jesus of Nazareth. And we’ve been listening or studying His explanation of the meaning
of life. And you remember how we’ve shared that our present situation or our present condition is one that He
gives a very reasonable explanation of.
Our present condition of course, is your own condition. It’s your own state at this time. And you’re probably
the same as the rest of us. You depend utterly for your sense of security in this world on what you can get of
the food, and the shelter and the clothing in the world for yourself by your own efforts. That’s why most of
us try to get a good education, so that we can get a good job, so that we can get the money that will provide
us with the food we need to keep alive, and the clothing that we need to keep us warm, and the shelter of a
home or an apartment that we need to keep the rain off our heads.
And we depend usually for that security that we have, that physical security; we depend on the money that we
earn at our jobs. Or, if we’re children, we depend on our parents. If we’re employees, we eventually come to
depend on the company and usually on the boss, or on the person that we have to please to keep our jobs. And
so, most of us have found that our lives end up being very dependent on the people that we ourselves depend on
to get the money we need to establish our physical and material security. The result, of course, is that most
of us have become little robots.
We will do anything to please the people that give us the money. We like to say, “No! No, we’re not!” We’re
very proud, actually. We’re very independent people. But deep down, when the stock market totters, we see
where our security lies. And if the job is about to be lost, it’s amazing how our great convictions tumble so
fast and all our personal dignity is willing to be bartered for, well, I suppose that old “mess of potage”.
Because we say, “Well, without the mess of potage I won’t be here to barter at all, so what does it matter?”
And so often, we’re utterly dependent for our security, on the people that give us the money and so we will do
anything to satisfy and please them. So most of us are the same in regard to another great need we have. And
that is the need for some kind of self-esteem. Most of us feel we’re unique. We don’t know why we feel we’re
unique but we do feel unique, and yet nobody else notices it. And so, we try to establish our uniqueness in
all kinds of other eyes. We try to do it in our wife’s eyes by being a good provider, in our children’s eyes
by being an outstanding father and by seeming to be the source of all wisdom and knowledge.
And we try to be it in our peers’ eyes by achieving something that they will admire, or that they will look up
to. And so most of us have come to the point where we’ll do anything to get attention. We’ll do anything to
please. We’ll do anything to get somebody to think we’re worth something. If we’re standing often in a bar or
in a restaurant, we’ll somehow find a way to turn the conversation round to something that we’re quite
brilliant at, so that we’ll be able to receive a few compliments.
And most of us feel the superficiality of our lives, and the bluffness of our lives. And sometimes we go home
at night and almost can’t stand the look of ourselves. We’ve become such little performing monkeys. In fact,
we feel, “Is there any me there?” We seem to be just a shell. There’s hardly anything inside. And sometimes we
determine, “We must stop this! We must stop depending on people just because they give us money. We must stop
depending on the company just because it provides the security we need. We must stop depending on the bank
account or getting worried every time it goes down. We must stop trying to please people just to get
satisfaction. We must be ourselves.”
And often, we say, “I’m going to be myself tomorrow.” And then we find that there’s no self any longer in
there. There’s a selfishness, but there’s no me. It seems as if I’ve lost the sense of who I used to be.(cid:9)And
that’s what Jesus said would happen to us. That’s why I say He speaks to our condition. He speaks exactly to
the problem we have. He said, “No wonder – you’ve tried to depend on everybody but the only One who’s
interested in you being yourself.” None of the rest are interested in you being yourself. They’re all
interested in you doing what they want you to do.
There’s only One who really cares about you in a deep way, and who really wants you to be yourself. That’s the
One who made you. That’s why He made you different from everybody else. And that’s why He has a vested
interest in your staying different from everybody else. So He’s the only one who’s really interested in your
really being yourself. And He’s the only one that can do anything about the fact that you’re now dead, because
that’s what you are. You’ve died inside, and you’ve become a shell of what you were meant to be. You’ve become
You’ve become conformed to the image of the rest of the world. And the only way to come alive again inside is
to ask Him to make you alive inside. That is, to recreate you as He originally made you; to enable you, kind
of, as it were, to be “born again.” And of course, what we’ve said is, Jesus was once explaining this to a
Jewish scholar in the first century, and the Jewish scholar said, “What? Do you mean I have to enter into my
mother’s womb and be born over again?” And Jesus said, “No, no! You can’t do that!”
But He said it and you might want to look it up sometime. It’s in the Bible, in the New Testament. And it’s in
a book called the Gospel of John, and it’s chapter three. And He said to him, “No, no you can’t do that! You
have to be born from above. It has to be an invisible thing that the Maker of the universe does in you.” And
of course, He can do all kinds of invisible things. There’s nothing to do with visibility to determine that a
thing is real. Many things are real that are invisible. Love is real and is invisible. The wind is real and
you can only see the effects of it on trees or on things that it blows around.
So He is invisible, but He is able to do an invisible thing inside you. He is able to make you alive inside.
He is able to make your spirit come alive. Your spirit is the real you. It’s you as you really are. And He’s
able to make you alive inside if you will first of all, believe that what Jesus explains to us about it is
true. And that’s the first thing He said. He said to this guy, Nicodemus, “Look, you first have to believe
that this is the situation.” And of course, you agree. It’s not hard to believe it when we follow through with
how we’ve come to this point, where we’ve become hollow men or empty shells or robots. That’s the first step.
Then Jesus said that the second thing is you have to change your whole way of living. Your whole mind has to
be changed. You have to change your mind about whose opinion really matters. Is it your boss’s, or is it the
One who made you? Is it your parents’, or is it the One who made you? Is it somebody who will die maybe before
you do, or is it the One who will be alive until the end of time? You have to change your mind about whose
opinion really counts. You have to change your mind about who you depend on for security.
Is it your boss, or is it the Man who made your boss? Is it your company, or the One who made your company?
Jesus said, first of all you have to change your mind. That’s what the Greek word mean: “metanoia”. It’s
“meta”…turn and “noia”… is mind. It’s “change your mind”. So, you have to believe what He said, and then
you have to change your mind, and change the way you’re living. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow,
to see if we can help each other to understand it and perhaps to begin to change our minds. Let’s talk about
Have You Ever Repented? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Have You Ever Repented?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the general topic under which we’re discussing particularly the problem
that many of us face today. And that is the problem of not being able to find ourselves. I don’t know if you
have felt that yourself, but I think many of us have become robots today. We read “1984”. We’re glad that it’s
passed, but we have a sneaking suspicion that it really did come true. Because many of us seem to have become
robots that do what the invisible authorities want us to do, without even knowing it.
And we suspect that we have become the victims of “double-think”. We think we’re really doing what we want to
do, but actually we’re just doing what our bosses want us to do, or what our parents want us to do, or what
our friends want us to do, or what our children want us to do.(cid:9)And of course, we have been explaining that as
being the basis of much of our life from day to day. We like to think that we’re our own people. We like to
think that we’re individualists. We like to think we’re independent. We like to feel we’re really doing what
our free will wants us to do.
But often we know fine well that we go to work every day because we need the money. Not because we want to,
but because we need the money. And indeed, that’s the reason why many of us put up with the colleagues we
have. We put up with them because we need the job and we need the work. And we smile at the boss, not because
we like him or because we approve of him, but because that will keep us our job and that will enable the money
to keep rolling in. And that will enable us to buy food and clothes and to stay alive. And of course, we
justify it on the basis of our need for security, but the fact remains that we are not ourselves.
We are, in fact, what somebody else wants us to be.(cid:9)And many of us say, of course, “Well, that’s what life is,
you know. That’s what it is. It’s pleasing whoever needs to be pleased so that you stay alive. Go along to get
along. That’s what it’s all about.” And yet, deep down inside, we wonder if it could be better than that. And
we often look back with nostalgia to the days when we were five or six or seven or eight years old, and we had
a freshness about us, and we had a little sense that we could do something in life.
And long ago that has faded away and been lost in the treadmill of compulsions that we experience from our
jobs, our bosses, our companies, even the very circumstances around us. Because many of us feel, “Well, if I
could only have a little happiness. That’s what I need — just a little happiness.” So, we try to make happy
things happen to us. And we find again that we become the victim or plaything of those circumstances. We
discover that if it’s a bright sunny day, we’re full of smiles. If it’s a bad, old, dark, rainy, gloomy,
drizzly day, we’re full of sadness and depression. If the stock market is up, we’re just elated. If the stock
market is down, we’re depressed, and sad, and anxious.
And so we discover again that even there, in relationship to circumstances, we aren’t our own people. We have
become the plaything of the circumstances that occur in our lives. And we wonder at times, “Is there any
possibility of ever finding ourselves again? Ever the possibility of finding anything real inside?” And at
times we determine, “We will! We will! I will be myself! I will be myself! I will say what I think, whatever
effect it has on my future, or whatever effect it has on my prospects. I will say and do what I think.”
But, of course, as the years go by, we find it more and more difficult to discover what we do think, or to
find out if there’s anybody there to think anything. And we eventually realize that no, there isn’t. And the
reason why we keep on on the old treadmill is, we don’t really think there’s anything inside, anyway.(cid:9)And
that’s what this man Jesus of Nazareth said. He said, “You’re dead. You’re dead! Even though you look alive,
you’re actually dead. You’ve died long ago. The you that is real has died years ago. And you’re no longer
And that’s why you feel such emptiness inside. That’s why you feel you don’t know yourself or you can’t find
yourself. There’s something you can’t get a grip on. You can’t find any longer the freshness that used to be
there; it’s because you’ve died. He said, you have an “outside”, a body. Inside that you have a soul: mind,
emotions and will. And those are both programmed, to a certain extent, by heredity and environment. You get
the body that is more or less like your dad’s or your mum’s.
You have a mind and emotions that are more or less like theirs. Even your will is often like theirs, but deep
down inside there’s a spirit and that’s the real “you”. That’s the “you” that’s eternal. That’s the “you” that
is essentially you — different from everybody else. It’s the spirit of Churchill that made Churchill
Churchill. It’s the spirit of you that makes you “you”. That’s what has died. And of course, He then explained
that there’s only One that can make that alive. You can’t make it alive yourself. It’s died and it’s beyond
recall. But he said His Father, the Maker of the universe, is really the only One that is finally interested
in you being you. He is, you know.
All the rest of us tend to want to use you, or make you what we want you to be. We want to make you in our
image. But He is the only One, actually, that made you in His image. And His image is that of a self-existent,
free-willed agent. And He made you to be that. And He alone is able to make you all over again. And that’s
what His Son Jesus said. His Father is able to make you all over again inside. He’s able to bring alive inside
you that fine, delicate spirit that used to be you. He is able to do it, because He made it in the first
But Jesus said, the only way that that that will happen is, first of all, if you believe that this is the
situation. And that’s the first thing you have to do. If you say to me, “Well, yes, I agree with that. I
believe that that is the explanation of why I am as I am.” Then the first step is, believe what this man Jesus
said was the situation.(cid:9)Start believing it. I mean, don’t believe it because I say it. Go back to that old
book. Stop being put off by the fact that it’s called the Bible.
“Ta Biblia” is the Greek word — it means “the books”. That’s all it is. Don’t think of it as something that
your grandmother read, or something that somebody else hands the Queen when she is given the crown. Realize
that it’s history. It’s “the books”. It’s “the books” that tell about this man. First of all, believe what is
in those books. First of all, believe it. Examine it intellectually! Don’t just believe it because I said it.
Examine it intellectually. Get a book like F. F. Bruce’s “Are the New Testament Documents Reliable?” or the
little one that I’ve written, “Is the Bible History or Myth?”. And read it and think through it.
And then come on the basis of the intellectual evidence to the point where you believe it. But, first of all,
you have to start believing something. That’s the beginning of finding yourself again. Start believing
something! Establish a philosophy of life that is based on the reality that this man who is the Son of the
Maker of the universe explained to us. First believe.
The second step is … change your mind. That’s what the Greek word “metanoia” means. That’s what this man
Jesus said you needed to do. “Metanoia” – meta — turn; noia — your mind. Change your mind.
Change your whole mind about the way you’re living your life. Change your mind about depending on people for
your security, about depending on people for your good opinion of yourself, or your self-esteem, about
depending on circumstances for your happiness, and see that the only One who can really affect your security
or your happiness, or your self-esteem, is the One who made all these things.(cid:9)Stop depending on secondary
causes. Stop depending on the people that He has made for their opinion. That doesn’t matter. They’ll die
probably before you will.
His opinion is what counts. Change your mind about that. And metanoia means, of course, not only “change your
mind”, but change the way you’re living. Stop depending on the world of people and circumstances, and things,
for your security, your significance and your happiness. And start depending on the Maker of the universe,
which is very reasonable, isn’t it? Because He’s the only One who can possibly hold this sphere in space and
roll it through space at hundreds of miles an hour without any visible means of support. Finally, we’re
dependent on Him anyway.
So what Jesus says is, “Face reality. Believe it, and start living in accordance with it. And then the Maker
of the universe will begin to bring you alive again inside.” Let’s talk some more about this tomorrow.
We’re Slaves to Others Opinions -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We’re Slaves to Others’ Opinions
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the general topic we’ve been discussing on this broadcast now for about I
think is the one hundred and ninety seventh broadcast. And we’ve come to the point where, having examined the
reasons for believing that there is an intelligent Being behind the origin of the universe, we’ve reached the
point where we have decided that the One who knows best what that intelligent Being had in mind for our lives
and for the meaning of our lives is not Buddha, not Zoroaster, not Confucius – all of whom were ordinary human
beings and died like the rest of us and were buried and never seen again; but it’s the remarkable man called
Jesus of Nazareth, who lived in the first century of our era.
And we have examined his life and the historicity of His life, and His claims to be the Son of the Maker of
the universe. And we’ve concluded, on an intellectual basis, that He is in fact that. And that the best one
therefore to tell us what the meaning of life is, is this man. And we’ve started to examine now His
explanation of the meaning of our lives. And in that connection we’ve been dealing with a kind of problem that
most of us meet eventually as the years pass by. You may have remembered reference to it yourself by grownups
when you were young at school.
And they would say, “Of course, oh well, it’s all right for you now — you’re young and you have all your life
ahead of you and you’re full of ideals and full of plans. But when you get to my age you’ll find that life is
not what you thought it was going to be.” And if you are like me, I rebelled against that whole attitude. I
thought, oh it’s old, it’s sick, it’s boring, it’s depressing. It’s just everything that’s unexciting and
unadventurous. And yet, isn’t it true that many of us, as the years have passed, have reached the same point
of oldness and grayness about our own lives.
And if you press me and say, “Well, yes, that’s right, we have and I suppose we’re saying the same thing to
young people now. We’re saying, oh yes, it’s all right for you; you’re young and full of ideals but wait until
you find out what life’s about in the big wide world. Then you’ll change your tune.” And the reason many of us
say it is because we have found life rather a disappointment. We’ve discovered that it is not a bowl of
cherries. It is not a wonderful oyster in which we find our pearls.
But we have found that it is rather boring. It is rather like a rat race. We find ourselves getting up in the
morning, not because we’re filled with life and enthusiasm but simply because we have to get to work by nine
o’clock or nine-thirty or eight o’clock or seven-thirty in order to avoid losing our jobs. And we need our
jobs, because we need money to get the food that we require to keep us alive, and to buy clothes and even to
buy a few little things that might give us a little happiness in this short life.
And we find also that when we get to work we discover that it isn’t a wonderful place where we can express all
our magnificent abilities, but it’s rather a dog-eat-dog kind of world, where people vie with each other for
the approval of the one significant other in the company or in the shop or in the factory. And really we don’t
have too much freedom there. We find that we all kind of have a pecking order. You know, you peck me and I
peck somebody else and somebody else pecks somebody else. And really it’s all rather robotic and stereotyped
We find we’re bent on trying to keep each other’s good opinion. Even our conversations at lunchtime are rather
boring because they follow the same trend. We make the same jokes, we use the same comments as our parents
did. And we’re bent on trying to get the same little bit of approval from each other, so that often we go home
after a conversation with even our best friend and we wonder why? Why? Why do I say these things that drain or
squeeze little compliments out of my friend, to me? Why do I always talk about stamp collecting or skiing down
the Swiss mountains just because I’m good at stamp collecting or skiing down the Swiss mountains?
And I know they’ll make me some compliments. Why do I love to get into a little confidential huddle with them
and talk about the other person, so that the two of us have something special between us? Why do I do that?
Why am I so anxious to get a good opinion from anybody just so that I will feel better and feel worth more and
feel some self esteem? What we’ve been seeing is that many of us are caught in this old, grey attitude to life
where we seem not to have any spontaneity left inside us. We have become rather preprogrammed puppets or
marionettes or R2D2’s — you know, robots, like the guy in Star Wars – that just do what they’re supposed to
“Hollow men”, T.S. Elliot called us. And in old “1984” — old Orwell, you know described us: we would be men
and women who responded as we had been programmed to respond to external stimuli, much as Pavlov’s dogs and
really we couldn’t do anything of our own free will any longer. And I’m afraid many of us find that out, don’t
we? And so we give that discouraging information to young people. “Oh, it’s not like you thought it was going
What we have been saying is of course, it can be. It can be what you thought it was going to be. But you’re
dead right if you say in response, “Oh no, not with me as I am. I’ve tried. I’ve tried to find some
spontaneity in myself. I’ve tried to look down and see what I used to be when I was young but I can’t find it.
In fact I can hardly find myself. It’s as if there’s nobody there anymore. I’m just a bundle of planned
preprogrammed responses. And I can’t find myself anymore. I can’t find out who I am. If you ask me now what I
would really like to do, you know what you’d like to be. “Oh, I’d like to be an engine driver” or whatever.
If I was asked that question I don’t know what I would like to be. I can’t even dream of what I am or who I am
or what I like to do. It’s so long since I tried to do what I think I should do that I’ve almost forgotten
what I wanted to do. I can hardly find myself any longer. And that’s what this man Jesus said. He said, if you
keep on going the way you’re going, believing that there’s no Creator, there’s no Maker in the universe —
then you’re bound to depend on your job, and your money, and your boss for security. And you’re bound to end
up becoming a slave to him in a nice way.
And it’s the same with your own self-esteem and self-worth. If you don’t believe there’s a Maker, then you’re
just one of four billion of us and you’re going to try to get approval from everybody you can. And you’re just
going to become enslaved to what people think of you. You’re going to be afraid of their disapproval and
anxious for their approval. And you will do that so much that you will lose the sense of who you are. In fact,
you’ll go dead inside. Your spirit will die. Your spirit is the very essence of you. You as you really are.
And Jesus said you’re going to die inside.
And yet He held out hope. He said that there is only One who can ever make you alive and that is my Father,
the Maker of the universe. He originally made you different from everybody else — that’s why you think that
you’re unique, because you are unique. But none of the rest of us will recognize it. But your Maker is
interested in your uniqueness and He’s interested in bringing it to life again. He is able to make your spirit
alive inside. He’s able to get you to be kind of born all over again, and start all over again.
And of course, He explained to us how to experience that. And He said the first step is to believe that what I
am explaining to you is true. And the second step is to change your mind about the way you’re living. In other
words, stop living depending on everybody else for your security, and your significance and your happiness —
and start depending on the Maker of the universe, who alone can guarantee those things. So, really, the first
step is to believe this and the second step is to begin to act in accordance with that belief. Let’s talk a
little more about what that means tomorrow.
The Need for Direction in our Lives -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
The Need for Direction in our Lives
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Under that general topic, we’ve come to the point in our conversation where we’re
discussing the whole question of how to find yourself. And I remember someone, who was teaching on the same
grammar school staff as me years ago, saying about a younger member of staff, “Well, he just hasn’t found
himself yet. He needs to find himself.” And that’s the question that we’re talking about. How do you find
yourself? What I believe that older person meant was that this young man had not discovered his own
In other words, he was like so many of us. He was encouraged by getting a star in Junior Infants school for
reading. To read well — but not only to read well but to please the teacher of Junior Infants. Similarly,
when he got onto the football team and his father praised him, and took him out for a treat, he not only
realized that getting onto the football team was a good thing, but also pleasing his father was a good thing.
And then, of course, he went to school and perhaps eventually to university or to technical school.
And there he found that it was a very good thing to receive the approval of your peers, the other people in
your class. And if you did some clever things or told funny jokes or could hold your mouth up in a special
way, or were very good at simultaneous equations or at Latin or at Greek — then you might gain their
approval. Or perhaps you were just very good at gambling or very good at smoking and you’d gain their approval
that way but somehow many of us gradually got the idea that it was good to get the approval of as many people
And in our desire to receive the praise and approval of other people, we gradually developed into a strange
conglomeration of the things that other people wanted us to be. We didn’t develop into what we were made to be
necessarily, or what we even wanted to be. We became a chameleon that often changed its color to suit its
environment. And many of us turned into robots, trying to be what everybody else wanted us to be, so that we
would have some sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Which was, admittedly, utterly dependent on them because
if they withdrew their approval, suddenly we’d have no self-esteem or self-worth.
And so, we eventually found ourselves in the position where we had lost ourselves. That is, we had lost the
sense of who we were. We had lost any consciousness of what we really were ourselves, or what we wanted to be
or what we thought. We had become so much what everybody else wanted us to be or what they thought. And I
think that’s what people mean when they say that, “Oh, he just has to find himself.” The tragedy is that today
few people ever say that. We have all lost ourselves, but often to such an extent that we don’t think that
there’s any way of finding ourselves.
We have become such little robots and such little preprogrammed monkeys. We doubt if there’s any way to find
ourselves. And you probably feel some of that, however individualistic you are. You probably have some sense
that you’re not what you really are. You’re not being what you really are. You’re often being what your boss
wants you to be, what your secretary wants you to be, what your mum wants you to be, what your brothers want
you to be, what your friends want you to be. But, so often, you’ve lost the sense of what you are or who you
are. And you hardly know how to find yourself again.
That’s the subject that we’re discussing in these present weeks, and, of course, the only answer that has any
reasoning or intelligence to it is the answer that is given by that remarkable man, Jesus of Nazareth. You
remember how we examined His life and established that He had to be the Son of the Maker of the universe,
because of his power over death and his remarkable ethical behavior and his power over sickness and disease.
And because the words on His lips did not sound like those of a madman or a lunatic when He said that He was
the son of the Maker of the universe. And we’ve concluded that He is that, in fact.
And He gives the explanation that the reason we lose ourselves is because we die inside as we begin to try to
please everybody from the Junior Infants teacher up to the coach of the football team. We die inside. We don’t
live the way we were meant to live from the inside out. That is, from what we really believe we should do. But
we live according to everybody else’s idea of what we should do. And so, we actually die inside. There’s part
of us that dies.
He explained, “You know you have a body that has five senses by which you relate to the outside world of
people and circumstances and things. Inside that you have a soul, or a psychological nature or personality —
made up of mind, emotions and will — by which you relate to yourself. It’s the self-conscious part of you.
But inside that again, you have a spirit and that’s the real you. That’s you as you really are. And that’s the
bit that goes dead as the years pass. And you keep on pleasing everybody else and not doing what that part
really directs you to do.
And He explained that that part is the part that connects up with His Father, the Maker of the universe. And
the Maker of the universe has put you in the world to do something that only you can do. And the only way He
can let you know that is by Him having a real relationship with you. The tragedy is that you’ve died inside
and there’s no you any longer to have a relationship with. And so it’s impossible for Him to share with you
what He has put you here to do. And that’s why we’re so lost and why we have such trouble finding ourselves.
And of course, Jesus explained that the only way to find yourself is if the Maker of the universe is able to
do another creation inside you. That is, if He is able to do, as we say in the computer world, a data
retrieval exercise; if He is able to retrieve the data that has been lost once the disc crashed; if He is able
to retrieve what you used to be and recreate it. And it’s incredible the way we’re able to do that even on a
one hundred and thirty megabyte hard disc. We’re able to recreate and retrieve, by a great deal of care and
trouble, data that is sometimes lost, when our file allocation table is destroyed or when something happens
mechanically to the disc.
And the amazing thing that Jesus said is that the Maker of the universe is able to do that with you. He’s able
to put you together again inside the way you used to be. He’s able to bring you together again and recreate
your personality so that you begin to have an “I” again that can relate to Him and can begin to share from Him
what you were meant to do and to be. And if you say, well how, how, how? This way: Jesus said, first of all
you have to believe what He has said. Believe that Good News. Believe the Good News that you can find yourself
again, that you can come alive again inside. That you can begin to be a person again, inside. Believe that
That’s the first thing. And by all means you know, read His life, read it in that old book, the Bible. Read
it in John — the gospel of John for instance. Or in Mark. Read what He says and believe what He says. And
believe that what He says is true. That’s the first step. The second step is: change your mind. He uses a
Greek word “metanoia” which means change your mind. Change your mind about the way you’re living. Stop
depending on everybody else for their opinion. Stop trying to establish your self-worth in everybody’s else’s
eyes. After all, it won’t last beyond when they die. Start trying to please your Maker. Start living to please
Start trying to gain His approval. Why? Because He has a vested interest in you being who you are. He will not
make a monkey out of you. He will not make a puppet of you. The whole reason He gave us free will was to
preserve us as He made us to be in His image. And He Himself is a self-existent and a self-willing individual
and He wants to preserve you as He made you. So, begin to start trying to please Him, and not pleasing
everybody else. Begin to live your life to please Him.
And then, He will start working inside in your spirit, and you’ll gradually commence to sense that there is a
“you” inside that has come alive. And that there are new directions coming from deeper than you can even
understand. And you’re starting to receive some kind of signals from outer space. But really, signals from the
Maker of the world. And then, you begin life — really.
Recreated by God -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Recreated by God
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That is, why are we here? Why are you here? Why has existence taken place? Why
was the earth brought into being? Or was it brought into being? That’s the question, or the topic, that we’re
discussing this year on this program. And we’ve probably reached about the 199th broadcast in that discussion
today. And we’re zeroing in now on the problem that many of us experience in our grown up lives; the problem
of discovering our selves again. That is, finding out who we originally were.
So many of us have become just shadows of what we used to be. We were born into the world as little
spontaneous, fresh individuals who had ideas of their own. And who found some excitement in the world. After
twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years or more, we turn into grey ghosts of what we used to be, who are more like
robots — that live to please everybody else or to get what we need from the world so that we can die a decent
death. And when we try to find out who we originally were or what we were meant to do, we are unable to do it.
And we have, of course, been following through the explanation of why that is so that is given by the
remarkable man Jesus who lived in the first century.(cid:9)And we believe that He is the Son of the Maker of the
universe. And He explained that if we insisted on believing that there was no God and there was no Maker of
the universe, then life would become a tale told by an idiot to us. It would make no sense. And so, we would
look around and decide that we had to therefore, ensure our own food supply as best we could and our own
clothing supply so that at least we could stay alive to think about it a little longer.
And in doing that, we would become utterly dependent on the companies that we work for or the banks or the
money or the job or the people that we had to please. He said also that we would feel very lost and
insignificant in the midst of four billion people because we were really made to be loved and to be recognized
by the Maker of the universe. That’s why He made us. He made us so that He could love us. He really is our
Father. And He really actually loves you. But when you don’t believe in Him, and you don’t recognize that He’s
there, then you end up with a great sense of emptiness, because there is no one that loves you like He does.
And so you try to fill that emptiness by getting the approval of your wife or your peers or your friends or
anybody who will approve and give you recognition. Just so long as you get some sense of self-esteem and
self-worth. And Jesus explained that that’s what we would do, until we became utterly dependent on people for
that sense of approval. And we became utterly dependent on things for our security and our shelter and our
food and our clothing. And so, we would actually end up shells of what we used to be, who were simply the
playthings of the things that we depended on — really, the world itself — for what we should have got from
the Maker of the universe.
And Jesus explained that’s because the world actually doesn’t care too much about preserving you as you are.
It isn’t too anxious to preserve your individuality. In fact, it’s anxious for the other. It’s anxious for the
opposite: that you’ll conform to its image and become like the rest of the stereotyped individuals who are
depending upon it. And so, there is a sense in which the world, when you depend on it, turns you into a shell
or a robot that satisfies it, that pleases it.
And so Jesus explained that the only way you could ever find yourself, even after years and years of this kind
of living, was if you believed what He said. That is, if you believed that He really was the Son of the Maker
of the universe, and you believed His explanation of what went wrong, and you believed that you did not only
have a body with the five senses by which you communicate with the world of people and circumstances and
things around you. You did not only have a soul, with which you were able to perceive what you felt and what
you thought though your mind and emotions and will. But also had a spirit; that there was a real you inside
all those shells. That there was something that was essentially you, that was different from everybody else in
And there was a spirit. That’s what He called it. He said
it’s your spirit. The very spirit of you is “you” and you must first believe that I am really the Son of the
Maker of the universe. Then you have to believe that that spirit is there. If you don’t believe that, there’s
no way to find it. But you have a spirit. And believe that it’s there. And then, you have to believe that His
Father, the Maker of the universe, is able to make that come alive again inside you. He’s able to make your
spirit come into existence again. He’s able to recreate you as you originally were.
He’s able to bring alive you, as an individual, the very essence of you. The “you” as probably your mother
first saw you; an individual, on your own, who is here for a set purpose, planned by the Maker of the universe
and that you can fulfill. And that’s the third thing you need to believe. And then He said you need to believe
that the Maker of the universe is more than willing to make that spirit inside you come alive. He’s able to
get you to almost as if it were be born all over again. He’s able to bring that alive inside.
And then, He said that there’s one other need that you have in order to let the Maker of the world do that.
And that is the need to change your whole mind. “Metanoia” is the Greek word — change your mind about the way
you’re living. Change your mind. Change it from depending on your friends for your self-esteem. Stop that!
That’s dumb. Just stop doing it. Who cares what they think of you? Many of them will die before you will.
Anyway, they have no power over your destiny. And if you say, oh well my boss has — well he only has it as
much as the Creator of the universe allows him to have it.
The Maker of the universe is able to make a path for you despite all the other people in your life. He is the
one Significant Other. They are only the bluffed, deceived significant others. But He is the one that really
matters. He is the “top banana”. He is the one that matters above all else. And believe that Jesus said that
His approval is the one that counts. And believe that it’s not the money that gives you the security. He makes
the money. Sometimes the federal, the Fed, make the money. Sometimes the Bank of England makes the money.
But the One who really produces the power that enables your bills to be paid is the One who originally made
the “whole show”. And start trusting Him. Start believing in Him. Jesus said, “Look, don’t be anxious about
what you’ll eat, or what you’ll drink, or what you’ll put on. Look at the birds of the field; they do not toil
nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much more value than
they?” And so He said, listen, My Father has a vested interest in you. He made you in His own image. He wants
you to be His friend. He wants you to love Him, and He wants to love you. So, don’t you see that He has a
vested interest in taking care of you?
So, stop depending on the bank or the money or the job or the employer or the salary. By all means God might
use all those to produce the stuff for you but it’s Him that does it. He is the original first cause. These
are all secondary causes that are dependent on Him. So start being sensible. Stop believing that the milk
comes from the milkman. It doesn’t. It comes from a cow. Believe that these things originally come from the
Maker of the universe, and that it’s Him that you really ought to be grateful to. And start having that
attitude to Him. That’s what is called faith. Start having that attitude to Him.
Start having your faith in the One who has really produced these things. I mean who makes the sun shine?
Telecom? ICI? IBM? No. Who makes the food that feeds your body? The Maker of the universe. Jesus said, change
your mind. Stop believing the lie that you’ve been believing which is absolutely unintelligible — that you
depend on everybody else for these things — and start depending on the Maker of the universe.
And He said as you start having that attitude to Him, an attitude of faith, He will begin to make you alive
inside and you’ll start to sense that there is a real “you” deep down. And you’ll begin to sense what He
wants you to do with your life and as you begin to do that, you begin to speak the things He guides you to
speak, so you’ll start to sense a direction in your life and a reality that you’ve never had before. Well,
would you try it? That’s what I’m saying. Will you try it? Will you start today? Start today. Let’s talk a
little more tomorrow.
Insecurity and Anxiety -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Insecurity and Anxiety
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Why are you here? What’s the point of it all? What is the purpose of it? Is there
any purpose? That’s the topic we’ve been discussing now I think for 199 broadcasts, and I think this is the
200th this year. And you remember we’ve tried to follow the question through from the intellectual basis that
we’ve laid in connection with the question, “Is there any Supreme Being behind the universe?” And we have
progressed to the point now where we’re trying to deal with the problem that is so prevalent today — the
problem of trying to block out all that we see around us.
And you know that that’s what we’re doing. We used to try to do it just with the old, I suppose martini in the
States and the double whiskey here in England and we try to block it out a little with the nicotine before
that and now of course we’re big boys and big girls and we’re trying to block it out with the crack or with
the heroin or the cocaine. And then, of course, there are various middle ways to do it, such as the blasting
music that we love to have with our stereo earphones or our stereo speakers. And wherever you go, if it’s a
really modern store, you ought not to be able to hear yourself think.
The big aim is the same as the aim in concerts of famous stars — to try to block out things by the sheer
hypnosis of the beat drumming through our ears so that we can somehow eliminate the consciousness of life or
of the world around us and fade into some kind of coma that brings us a little of the ease and the respite and
the relaxation of a hypnotic trance. And so, many of us have come to that point in life where the nearest we
can get to happiness is to just block it all out. And that’s why, of course, we talk so sophisticatedly, we
think, or we talk in such a sophisticated way about the weekend – or especially Christmas.
You remember how much we enjoy implying to each other in very cultured tones how we absolutely were blotted
out completely — I mean we were just knocked dead. You know and we talk about how much alcohol we have downed
or how many drugs we have taken. And the aim is to blot it all out. And that, so often, is the problem today
— that happiness for many of us is just blotting out the miserable life that we have around us. And what we
have been talking about is the explanation given for that by the man called Jesus, who lived in the first
century, who was really a very original and individualistic human being. And of course, as you know, we
believe intellectually he was the Son of the Maker of the universe.
And He explained that we were bound to come to that if we did NOT believe there was a God. If we refused to
believe that there was a Maker, and if we refused to believe that He was really our Father, and that He really
made you in order to be a friend to you and for you to be His friend and to enjoy a love relationship with Him
and to be His son or His daughter. If you refused to believe that, then you would conclude that the universe
is not only unfriendly but that it is meaningless and that eventually, you’d have to blot it out.
Because that drives you crazy, simply because deep down inside, you’re still made in His image, and you still
have a sense that you are unique and that there is some reason for your existence. And yet, as you look around
at the universe you sense that there seems to be no meaning, and no purpose for your existence. And so, Jesus
said you’ll want to blot it out because the sheer contradiction of what you sense inside, will contradict so
plainly what you experience on the outside,that you’ll just want to blot it all out.
And He explained that the reason is because you’ve lived in such dependence on the world of people and that’s
what you have to do. You know if you are without the affection or the love or the recognition or the approval
of the Maker of the universe, you have to get the approval or the affection from somebody, and usually we all
try to get it from our mum or dad or our friends or our peers. And Jesus said if you try to do that, you’ll
find yourself continually frustrated because none of them can give you the complete love that the Maker of the
universe can give you. None of them are able to.
It’s the same with your security. You’ll try to get your security from everybody else. Actually, God Himself
made you to do a certain job in this world, and He has the economy so arranged that if you do that and take
care of that, you’ll have all that you need to keep you alive until you actually go into the real world (that
will begin after this world is over). But of course, if you don’t do that, you have a great sense of
insecurity. And so you become dependent on your job and your money and your boss and your company.
And Jesus said as you do that, you will die inside. You’ll lose the sense of who you are, you’ll lose the
sense of direction in your life. And all you’ll want to do is blot the whole thing out. And He said there is
another way: that His Father still loves you, and however lost you are and however unconscious of anything
being alive inside you, that is really you, the Maker of the universe originally made you and He is able to
remake you. He’s able to make you come alive inside, even if you’ve absolutely blotted out your individuality.
Even if you absolutely destroyed “you” as you really are, He is able to gather the bits up again and recreate
you, simply because He created the whole world and the universe out of nothing. So, even though it seems to
you that there’s no “you” left — Jesus called it your spirit — even if you think there’s no spirit left to
be able to contact the Maker of the universe — and that’s what many of us find. We hear somebody saying, oh
the Maker of the universe knows what you’re meant to do but you say to yourself, yeah but I can’t find Him. I
can’t contact Him.
The reason you can’t is that you yourself have died. You’ve gone dead inside. He is able to make you alive
inside. He’s able to bring your spirit into life again so that you are able to communicate with Him, and to
begin to sense why He put you in the world, what He wants you to do and how He wants you to do it. And if you
say, well, how? How? And that’s what you remember that man Nicodemus asked in, it’s recorded in the New
Testament part of the Bible. And it’s in John and chapter three and he said, “How can you do that? Can you
enter into your mother’s womb a second time and be born?” And Jesus said no,no. You have to be born from
above. My Father is able to make you alive inside, –invisibly — if you believe that.
If you believe that there is a Maker of the universe, if you believe that He is your Father and that He does
know you, and He has counted the hairs of your head, and He will look after you, and He has put you here for a
purpose and He really does love you, and He wants you to know Him and to love Him. If you believe that, that’s
the first step in enabling the Maker of the universe to bring you alive inside.
Then Jesus said the second step is to change the way you’re living; stop trying to blot everything out. Stop
trying to please everybody and start trying to please the One that really counts: the Maker of the universe.
If you say, oh how do I do that? It’s not hard. Just look up at the sky as you’re walking along and say, “God,
I really believe that you must be there somewhere, and I want to please you. I don’t know how to do it, I
don’t want to be religious but I want to please you. So, will you show me what I’ve to do to start pleasing
you? You’re what I care about. I care about your approval. I don’t care about the approval of all these other
people, but I care about your approval.”
And Jesus said start living as if He really is looking after you, as if it’s the Maker of the universe that
supplies the food for you, as if it’s the Maker of the universe that arranges your accounts payable and
accounts receivable, as if it’s the Maker of the universe that actually is behind the salary that you get. And
look up to Him and just say, “God, I believe that everything that I need comes from you, so I’m going to start
depending on you and having that attitude of dependence on you.” That’s what faith is.
And as you begin to live like that, you’ll find that the Maker of the universe starts bringing you alive
inside, and you begin to have a real sense of being again the person that you used to be at the very
beginning. And you’ll begin to sense a direction in your life that comes to you from the one who, above all
others, is your friend: the Creator, the Maker, the God who loves you and made you. Would you begin? You can
do it today. Do. Make a start today.
What are we Living For – Ourselves? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
What are we Living For – Ourselves?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? What do you think is the meaning of it? What does the whole thing mean? This
business of getting up every day, dressing and eating and going out to work, driving that car you’re in day
after day and coming back with whatever money you’re able to earn, and then trying to save a little, then
eventually trying to provide for your own retirement? What do you think it all means?
And if you’re like me and many of us out here you probably answer, “Well, I don’t know what it means. I can’t
see, to be honest with you, much reason in it. I just do what I’m doing because there doesn’t seem much else
to do. Maybe there’s a Man upstairs somewhere. And maybe there’s some sense in it all, but if there is, it’s
not very obvious from the way the world is going today. So, what is the Meaning of Life? I don’t know what the
meaning of it is. I suppose you’ve to leave the world a better place than you found it, or you’ve to be kind
to your neighbor, or do all the things that we’re taught to do when we’re small. I don’t know what the meaning
of it is.”
Many of us probably would answer that way. What we have been saying over really the past year is that there is
indication of meaning in life, even in the very nature of the life that we live, and in the nature of the
world in which we live it. We’ve been saying that there is order obviously in the orbiting of the planets.
They aren’t just running around there by chance. They aren’t colliding with each other every other day. Even
our world, however unreliable it is in so many ways, is very reliable in others.
The sun does rise at the appropriate time every day. And we actually time our own watches by it. And we make
our rocket shots into space on the basis of the fact that certain planets will be in a certain position at a
certain time and lo and behold they are. We plant our seeds each year believing that the seasons will occur
more or less as regularly as they did last year and they do. We actually carry on our everyday life on the
assumption that our blood will keep circulation over miles and miles of arteries and it does. We assume that
this old heart, this muscle, will keep pumping day after day, week after week, month after month, and it does.
So, there are many indications of order in our world, and you remember that early on in our discussion this
year we came to the conclusion that there was enough evidence, there were enough instances of order to take
the position that Albert Einstein did, that there must be an intelligent mind behind the universe. And we
concluded of course that He must be a personal mind, because it takes a person at least as personable as us to
make us persons. A dog couldn’t make us. An inanimate object couldn’t make us. A lower form of life can’t
create a higher form of life than itself. So, we concluded that there had to be a Personal Mind somewhere in
the back of it all.
We did agree that there were many strange attempts and claims to tell us about that Personal Mind. And we
examined the lives of people like Buddha, and Zoroaster and Confucius and we looked at the manifold Hindu
prophets that there are. And we came to the conclusion that they were just like us. They were human beings who
died like we did and were buried and their bones could be dug up. And there was no indication that they knew
anything more about what was beyond the sky than we ourselves did — until the birth of a remarkable human
being at the beginning of our era. As we examined His life, we saw that He was not an ordinary human being.
That He in fact had power to destroy death. And He did do that.
We examined the documentary evidence, such as the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Alexandrinus in the British
Museum. We examined the documentary evidence that lay behind the history of His life and we discovered that of
course there were far more manuscripts lying behind His life, than lying behind the life of a man like Julius
Caesar or Plato. And we discovered that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, undoubtedly lived as the history books
said He lived and did and said the things they said He did and said.
And we came to the conclusion that He was in fact what He said He was. He was related to the Creator, the
Maker of the universe, in a unique way — in a way that neither you nor I have been — in that He existed with
Him before anything was created. In other words, He was preexistent. And He appeared here in about 4 or 5 BC
and lived until about 29 AD when He was executed. And He showed that He had power to overcome sickness and to
control the powers of nature and to actually raise people from being dead. And He Himself rose from being dead
and lived on our earth for more than a month after He had been executed.
And we came to the conclusion that He was really the Son, the unique Son of the Maker of our world. And He, of
course, explained to His followers and through them to us what the meaning of life is. He made it very clear
to us that His Father, the Maker of the world, made you, by deliberate choice of His will, for one reason. He
wanted you to be His child, His son or His daughter. That is, your earthly father or your earthly mother are
just shadows or are just pointers to a relationship that He made you to have with Himself. And that’s why He
And He made you like Himself. He gave you a mind and emotions as He has. He gave you a will as He has. He gave
you a body as He has in a sense, though it’s not a physical body and He gave you a spirit, an inside heart of
you that is particularly you. And that’s what His spirit is. It’s the very essence of Him Himself. And you
remember how often we’ve said that the spirit of Churchill is the essence of the man. And you have something
inside you that is your spirit. You can’t take it out and look at it. You can’t analyze it but it is your
It’s the thing that makes you, you. It is your very own self, the very heart of yourself. And He made us with
the same capacities that He has because He wanted us to be His children, or His friends. He wants us to live
with Him forever and to do all kinds of things in connection with the development of the huge infinite
universe that we see out there beyond the stars. And that’s why He created us. That’s why you may remember one
verse, even if you don’t read the Bible or haven’t read it a lot, you probably remember one verse that runs,
“All things work together for good to them that love God.”
It’s in a book called Romans in the New Testament and it’s chapter 8 and verse 28. And that’s the way it goes.
“All things work together for good to them that love God.” And of course we’re all used to saying, “Oh, yeah,
all things work together for good, you know, to make me happy, rich, wealthy and wise.” Well, no, the purpose
that they work together for is defined a few verses later. I think it is something like Romans 8:29. And it
says, “That they may be conformed to the image of His Son.” And that’s why we are here on earth, that we may
be conformed to the image of the Maker’s Son.
That is, that we would become people like Jesus. Now you have to clear up your mind of wild ideas that you
have about Jesus. He wasn’t the kind of dreamy mystic that everybody paints Him as being. He was a very
realistic, down to earth man, who was very kind and very tender hearted but was also very strong. And we are
here to become like Him so that we can be at home in His home, so that we can live with Him forever, so that
we can enjoy Him, so that He can enjoy us. That’s why the Maker of the world made us.
And that’s what we’ve been saying over these months. And of course, what we have mentioned is that we haven’t
really cooperated too well in that. And that’s what we’d like to talk a little more about tomorrow.
Discovering the Real You 1 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Discovering the Real You #1
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question we’ve been talking about for almost a year now. And you may
remember that we summarized a little in the early part of our discussion yesterday, by saying that we came to
the conclusion early on in the year, from the evidence of the order and design in universe, that there had to
be a personal intellectual mind of some kind behind this universe. And we examined the evidence that people
presented to us that this intellectual mind was like Buddha’s god or was like Confucius’ philosophic god or
was like the gods of the Hindus, or the god of Zoroaster.
But finally, we came to the conclusion that all these so called prophets were just men like ourselves, and had
no more qualification than we had for claiming to be able to tell us what was beyond the sky. Because none of
them had ever been off the earth that they could prove to us, and had come back to tell us what was beyond.
Except for one man. And that was that unique human being that lived in the first century of our era, that man
called Jesus of Nazareth.
And I’d ask you not to go to sleep when you hear that because we have really mutilated His character and
turned Him into some kind of religious cult figure, instead of seeing Him as He really is: a remarkable and
unique human being, who showed that He had power to overcome death and to pass through the experience of death
and come back from the dead and live in our world. And you remember He ate fish and ate breakfast with His
friends, even a month after He had been executed by the Romans in Jerusalem.
And so we concluded as we examined His life and examined the historicity of His life, that is so thoroughly
substantiated by really above 4,000 Greek manuscripts, that show that undoubtedly He did live in the first
century and in fact He did say and do the things that we believe He did — we concluded that He was really the
Son of the Maker of the universe. And He of course explained to us that the reason we were here on earth was
to become like Him. That’s what He said, “My Father has made you because He wants you to be His children. He
wants others to be like Me, who will live with Him forever, and will begin to develop the rest of the universe
And that’s why He created you. And you’re here to become like Him. Now, you may say, “Well, why put us here to
become like Him? Why not make us like Him right away?” Well, you can see why. The Maker of the universe is a
self-determining Being. That is, He’s free. He has a free will. He’s free to choose to do what He wants to do.
Free will is necessary if you’re going to have love. You can’t have love without free will. We’ve all seen
that when we’ve looked at totalitarian states. You don’t get people loving anybody in a totalitarian state,
because you are forced and made to do everything.
So the only way you can love is if you are free to love. And that’s why the Creator gave us a free will. Now
we have done all kinds of things to initiate determinism here in the world and to make it seem that we are all
the time compelled and constrained by external forces either of heredity and environment or of other things.
But in actual fact, there is still, within each one of us at the very heart of us, a free will. And the
Creator of the universe put us on this earth with a free will, to actually choose, believe it or not, to be
like Him or choose not to be like Him. That’s it.
You may say, “Ah, He’s mad.” But that was the only way He could take to have any chance of having friends who
would love Him and whom He could love, or having children whom He could love or who would love Him. And so He
put us here on earth with a free will. And we have been given the freedom to choose either to get to know the
Being that is behind the universe, or to pretend that there is no Being behind the universe, and to do just
what we want in it. And that has been the history of mankind from its creation. If you are in any doubt about
which way we have gone, it’s very obvious to any of us who look around.
It’s very obvious that we have chosen to ignore Him. We really have. We’ve chosen to live as if there is no
God. Most of us are either theoretical atheists or practical atheists. We just assume that there is nobody out
there who has any interest in us. There is no one anywhere in the universe, perhaps, that has any interest in
us. And if we’re going to survive it’s going to be by the strength of our own right arm. Indeed most of us
were brought up that way. Our mums and dads said, “If you don’t look after yourself, nobody will. You’d better
get a good job; you’d better get a good education, because you will have to provide for yourself. Nobody else
Indeed all of us like that idea, because we see so often the opposite is depending on the state, and we don’t
like depending on the state. It seems to steal our dignity from us. So we’ve been brought up all the time with
the idea that we have to provide for ourselves, because there’s nobody out there who can provide for us. And
so most of us have lived as if there is no Creator. This has brought all kinds of problems, of course, to us,
as we’ve discussed over the year. The agony of trying to ensure security for yourself drives you crazy.
Because finally you have to see that a Howard Hughes, who made better provision for himself than any of us
have probably any hope of doing, (you remember he was the American millionaire who based his success on the
Hughes tool factory and has become one of the greatest defense suppliers to the U.S. that have ever existed)
and yet you remember, he died in a hotel, I believe, in London, with Kleenex tissues stuck to his hands. And
he died an emaciated man of seventy, seventy-two. He died virtually of starvation, because he was so afraid.
He had the Kleenex stuck to his hands, because, of course, he was always afraid of germs. And yet he so abused
himself that he actually died of starvation.
And so we’ve all seen that you can do everything possible from a financial angle to provide for yourself in
the way of security. And yet finally there is no security that you can provide. Because apart from anything
else, you can always die of cancer or some incurable disease. Besides that, there’s a tremendous insecurity
comes to all of us as we think of the poor guys in Australia and wonder why they don’t fall off. And even
though we all mumble blithely about the law of gravity, we know that all we’re doing is giving a name to a
force that we don’t really understand. And we can’t tell what keeps that force in place. We can’t really be
sure that it will stay in place.
And so we realize quickly, that we’re sitting on top of a spinning spaceship that is hurtling through space at
hundreds of miles an hour and we’re not very clear who’s holding it up there. And so there is at the
foundation of our lives a great sense of being “fiddlers on a roof.” We can’t really tell where we’re going,
or where we came from, or what’s keeping us in existence at this moment. And so in all our attempts to
establish security by trying to get a little in the Abbey Building Fund, or a little stocks and shares
gathered together, or a little in the Mutual Insurance Company, we sense deep down all the time that we never
will establish security for ourselves, however much we try.
So, of course, what we do is aim for a kind of partial security. But it creates a dreadful worry and anxiety
at the heart of our lives. And of course it produces an attitude of greed often and of worry and anxiety and
of desperation and of jealousy that we cannot overcome.
It is the same with our sense of our own self-esteem, because we feel that nobody actually notices how unique
we are. And of course you are unique. You probably realize that. You are unique. There’s nobody like you. But
nobody else seems to notice it. And so you and I spend a lot of our time trying to get them to notice it,
trying to get them to give us attention and pay us attention.
And of course they don’t seem to notice that we are different, that we are unique, because they’re so busy
trying to establish their own uniqueness in everybody’s eyes. And so often we marry with a hope that maybe at
least this wife or this husband will give us the kind of attention we desire, and then we discover they don’t
really continue to regard us as so remarkable or so unique. And so we get very frustrated over our sense of
self worth. And that itself causes a problem which we should maybe talk about a little more tomorrow.
Discovering the Real You 2 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Discovering the Real You #2
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about the meaning of life — and we have been doing this for about a
year now. We’ve come to the point in our discussion where we have concluded that there is an intellectual mind
behind the universe, and indeed that that mind is personal. And because of the remarkable human being that
lived in the first century of our era and proved to us that he is able to overcome death and to do some things
that no other prophet or teacher has ever done — overcome and destroy death in other people — we have
concluded that He is in fact the son of the Maker of the universe and that he has actually been beyond the sky
and beyond the stars.
And that when He speaks about His Father He is speaking truth. And He of course has explained to us that the
meaning of life is this: His Father, the Creator of the universe, our God, made you because He wants you to be
His child. He wants you to be His son or His daughter. He wants you to be friends with Him, He wants you to
love Him, and He wants to love you. And that’s why He made you. And He made you like Himself so that you could
have friendship with Him forever and could take part with Him in the development of the rest of the universe.
And that’s why you’re here on earth.
And you’re here actually to become like Him because He wants free will agents who can love Him and that’s why
He gave you a free will. That’s why He didn’t make you like Himself by force. He made you with the same
capacities as He has, but you can choose whether you want to develop those along the lines that He wants
Himself or not. And that’s why we’re here in the world. And of course most of us, we’ve said, have chosen to
live as if there is no Supreme Being. And as a result we’ve got into grave difficulties with our sense of
We find ourselves on a spinning spaceship that has no visible means of support. And we ourselves have great
difficulty establishing a financial security that will really stick even when times are rough. And so we have
a tremendous sense of angst as we nevertheless dedicate our lives to trying to get all the food, clothing, and
shelter that we need. And usually most of us spend our lives concentrating on that. We get it, of course, by
trying to accumulate money but it seems very hard to hold the stuff — it seems to drain away so often. And
then finally, of course, many of us even if we die rich, we die.
And so, there is really finally no security that we can find. And that brings us a great sense of angst. But
another problem we have is that we feel we’re unique. And actually you are unique. There’s nobody like you,
nobody has ever been like you, there will never ever be anybody like you because the Maker of the universe has
only made one particular version of you. But nobody else notices it and you realize they don’t notice it, and
that brings great frustration to most of us.
And so, we spend a lot of our lifetime trying to establish a sense of self-esteem and self-worth because we no
longer have the sense of self-esteem that we would have if we believed that there was a Creator that really
made us and made us unique –then of course you have no trouble with self-esteem. You know that there’s only
you that is like you and that He thinks of you in a way that He thinks of nobody else in the whole world. But
when you don’t feel that way then you sense that there’s no reason for you being here, and there’s no value
that you have and no worth that you have.
And so you spend a great deal of your time trying to get people to compliment you on the way you bowl a
cricket ball or the way you pitch a baseball; or complimenting you on the way you wear your clothes or the way
you put on your lipstick. You spend a lot of life trying to get other people to appreciate you, acknowledge
you, and give you a sense of self-worth. And of course the poor souls — they’re after the same thing
themselves and they can’t spend much time giving you self-esteem because they’re trying to get self-esteem for
And so many of us find ourselves in this world trying desperately to get a sense of self-worth but failing
because nobody has the time, or the persistence, or the concentration, or the unselfish commitment to give it
It’s the same, of course, with the whole idea of happiness. We conclude that since there’s no Maker of the
universe then there’s no sense to the universe. And all we can do therefore is eat, drink, and be merry for
tomorrow we die. And therefore we spend our time looking forward to Friday and hating Monday — looking
forward to the weekend, looking forward to the next vacation.
You know the way we all do it. We all are constantly talking about the holidays. It’s so great to come up to
Christmas because of the holidays. It’s so great to come into summer because there are holidays. It’s so great
to come to anytime when you can possibly get an August bank holiday or any time off because we hope that
somehow we’ll find that tremendous happiness which we feel we were made for — a combination of the excitement
of the Arabian Nights with the serenity of Walden Pond. And somehow we never get it — we never get the
happiness that we think we were made for.
And so that brings a tremendous sense of frustration to us. What we have been saying over these past months is
that in our attempt to establish our own security and our sense of significance and some experience of
happiness we have become monsters. We have. Many of us have lost the sense of who we are. We don’t really know
any longer what we really are like. In other words there’s a part of us that has actually gone dead in all
this wild pursuit of trying to establish a sense of self-worth, some feeling of security, and experience of a
We have actually become monsters; we have become conformed to each other. It’s incredible but we who are
created unique have become like each other, so like each other that we find it difficult to tell who we are at
all. And I don’t know if you’ve ever had that feeling, but I think a lot of us have in these days. We’ve
wondered, what do I really think? If I wasn’t so out and out to please my boss, or to get a smile from my
secretary, or to get approval from my peers, what would I really be like? If I wasn’t such a little performing
monkey anxious to get “cookies” of approval and praise from my fellow students what would I really be like?
And so many of us can’t answer that question any longer. We don’t know. We don’t know.
There are odd moments in our lives when our mother dies or our father dies or something else happens, or we
lose our job, when it seems that for a moment we touch reality. It seems for a moment we touch our real selves
— that is, our spirit. There are times when we sense that our spirit is still there — it’s still half alive.
But actually it’s virtually completely dead. From time to time it expresses itself through the conscience
because the conscience is part of our spirit. And sometimes, an odd time, we do what we really think is right
and then we sense that we’re a little alive again.
But most of us do that very rarely. And most of us are in the position where we don’t any longer know who we
are and we have no idea what we really think or feel. Because the fact is we’ve virtually killed ourselves
completely. It’s what Wordsworth says, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy, shades of the prison house begin
to close around the growing boy; at length the man perceives it die away, and fade into the light of common
day.” And most of us find that our insides have gone. We look inside to see if there’s anybody at home and we
come out with the conclusion that there is nobody at home.
And that’s why we have difficulty when we’re asked what we would like to do. We usually want to do what the
television has told us we should want to do, or what all our friends want to do, or what it’s supposed to be
fashionable or swinging for people like ourselves at our particular stage in life to do. But we ourselves
aren’t too sure what we would like any longer. And that is one of the great problems that many of us face in
these days. We face the problem that we’ve lost ourselves. We can’t find ourselves anymore.
And of course nobody is too anxious for us to be found, because they’re all in the same boat and they’re not
too anxious for anybody to be in a better state than them. So actually the whole of the society is organized
to keep us pretty dead inside. If you say, well how? Is there any answer? Well that’s what we’ve been talking
about. There is actually one Being that is very anxious for you to find yourself. It’s ironic. There is only
one Being in the whole universe that is anxious for you to find yourself. He does very much want you to find
And He does very much want you to find yourself. He wants you very much to come alive inside and to be as
unique as He has made you. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
Your Spirit is Alive in You -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Your Spirit is Alive in You
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this broadcast each day under the general title of “What is the Meaning of Life?”, about the
particular personal predicament so many of us find ourselves in today. And that predicament is the one of not
really being able to find ourselves. That is, we can no longer, as they say in modern parlance, get in touch
with ourselves. We seem to have lost the sense of who we are. And many of us are in that position nowadays. We
try to do something from the heart of our own selves and we find that we do not even know who we are.
Many people, if you ask them what they would like to do with their lives, now answer “I don’t know. I don’t
really know. I’d better go to a vocation guidance counselor, or I’d better do some aptitude tests to find out
what I’m really good at.” Very many of us answer that question, “No, I don’t really know what I’d like to do.”
The tragedy is that many of us who have been in jobs and careers for years still feel that way. We wonder,
“Now what would I really like to do?” And part of the difficulty with a career choice is the difficulty we
have with other choices.
So often we go on vacation to a place that has been advertised in the Sunday Times sufficiently, or has been
talked up in some television program, or that we have seen in some movie, or that someone else has mentioned.
But increasingly in these days we find that we are almost the people that the TV commercials talk about. We
seem to be Mr. and Mrs. Jones, or Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. We are more and more becoming stereotypes of
everybody else that is presented to us in the western world. And what we have been discussing is the reason
And you may remember, those of you who have been taking part really in the conversation and the mental
journeyings over the past year, that what we said was we have been made by an intelligent Creator who wants us
to be His friends, or to be His sons and daughters. And that’s why He gave us free wills. It’s because He
Himself is a self-determining Being, and He wants people who can love Him. And the only people who can love
are people with free wills.
So He gave us free wills, gave us the same capacity as He has, and then put us on this earth so that we could
choose to get to know Him, and to become like Him, so that we could exist with Him forever and take part in
the development of the rest of the universe with Him. Or, we could reject that whole idea and live our own
lives. That is what most of us have chosen to do. We’ve chosen to take the position of a practical atheist —
that there is no God, there is no Supreme Being, and we’re here on our own to take care of ourselves as best
And therefore we’d better get all the food, shelter, and clothing that we need to give us security. We’d
better get all the praise and acknowledgment from other people that we need for a sense of self-esteem, and
we’d better grab all the happiness we can before we die. And so in pursuing those three goals that actually
all would be fulfilled if we really did accept reality â€”- that we have been made by a Creator, that we are
unique, that we’re the only version of us that he’s made, and that He really does love us, and He really will
take care of us. If we really would believe that then all those goals would be met.
But because we don’t, they all have to be met. So we set about meeting them as best we can. We try to
establish our security through getting enough things to give us security. We of course can never get enough
things. We can never get enough money to protect us from incurable disease. We can never get enough money to
protect us from the Wall Street crash. And we know that. So at the bottom of all our seeking of security there
is finally a dreadful insecurity.
And then we do our best to try to get a sense of self-esteem and self-worth because we have none. We feel
we’re a little nobody. We’re one of four billion other people in the world and nobody else realizes how unique
we are. And that’s because they’re trying to take care of their uniqueness and getting everybody to recognize
their uniqueness. And so we fall into the trap of trying to please men, or, being afraid of men.
We live our lives first to please our moms, then to please our kindergarten teachers, then to please our
grade-school teachers, then to please our high-school teachers, then to please our coaches, then to please our
professors, then to please our first employer, then to please our boss, then to please the next man up on the
totem pole, then to please the vice-president, and we hope that someday we’ll get to be president and then
we’ll end up trying to please all the people underneath us. And so we live our lives trying to please, please,
So, we’ve become performing little monkeys who go always for better cookies. And in that endless pursuit for
self-esteem we find ourselves constantly frustrated, because nobody actually is finally interested in us in
the sense that we want them to be.
It’s the same with happiness. We try to get the mixture of peace and serenity combined with excitement and
exhilaration that we regard as happiness. But however many cars we buy, however many great vacations we go on,
however many drugs we experiment with, we never seem to get the height of excitement or the calmness of peace
that we are aiming at.
And in the process of trying to get all these things we have lost ourselves. We’ve become little performers
who do what everybody else says we should do to get these things. And we get to the point — maybe at age 15,
maybe 20, maybe 25, maybe 30, maybe 35, maybe some of us not until 40, 45, or 55, maybe some of us not until
95 — eventually we get to the point where we wonder, “Where am I? What is me? Who am I?” And we find we’re a
bundle of responsibilities that we perform, of duties that we keep up, of actions and habits and recreations
that we do.
We are a bundle of actions and words and thoughts. But we can’t any longer find ourselves. How on earth do you
find yourself? Well nobody else is interested in you finding yourself. Because you, as you are, are the best
instrument for them to use. You’re the best servant to their needs for security and significance and
happiness. There is only One who really wants you to find yourself and He of course has a vested interest in
it because He made you to be unique. He put within you a spirit that is your very own self. That’s you as you
There is a spirit inside you, underneath your mind and emotions and your will, underneath your body, there is
a thing called spirit. You can’t take it out and analyze it under a microscope but it’s there. The spirit of
Churchill is the very spirit of the man, the very essence of the man. That’s what you are. There’s a spirit in
you that is you and you alone. That’s what makes you unique. That’s what has died. It’s virtually dead. From
time to time it comes alive in conscience. From time to time it comes alive in some kind of intuition that you
Sometimes you think, “I should do this — I ought to do this.” Nobody else has told you to do it but you think
you should do it, and sometimes you act on it. That’s your intuition. That’s part of your spirit too. And
sometimes you act either in your conscience or your intuition. Sometimes actually at a time of death you have
a sense at last that there is a Supreme Being and you almost sense His existence. That’s communion you’re
experiencing. That’s another function of your spirit. So sometimes we sense our spirits are our real selves
beginning to wriggle into life, but usually we put the lid on pretty fast and kill them as fast as we can.
The only One who is really interested in bringing your spirit into life, in getting you back again into
existence, is the Creator of the world. He is interested because that’s precisely why He made you. He didn’t
make you so that you’d become a robot like everybody else. He didn’t make you so that you’d brush with
Ultrabrite toothpaste the same as everybody else. He didn’t make you so that you’d wear a DAKS suit like
everybody else or you’d drive a Ford Escort like everybody else. He made you because He wants you yourself as
His friend and as His child or His daughter. He wants you.
He wants you to be to Him what nobody else can be. So He has a real interest in making you alive. And that’s
the secret. The Creator of the universe alone can bring your spirit into life again, and He Himself has a
vested interest in doing it. He has a disinterested love of you that constrains Him to want to bring your
spirit into life. And that’s often what is referred to very glibly in these days in connection with being born
all over again.
But it’s better to forget all that terminology because it’s been so religiousized. But the fact is, it is
possible for you to start again and to become alive again inside. And the Maker alone can bring that about.
Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about how He may be able to do that in you.
Heavenly Security -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever wondered, “Is there any me left?” That is, is there anything real of me left inside at all?
Particularly after you’ve bowed to somebody else’s will for about the forty-fifth time, or you’ve done what
your boss asked you to do even though you didn’t believe you should, or you’ve done something to please the
wife and the children and you really didn’t think it was the best thing to do.
And you think for a moment sitting in the car, or at home in the study, is there anything left inside of who I
really am? Many of us in these days have that problem. The pressures of the media are so strong and the
organization, the tight organization of our commercial world, and even our professional academic world, is so
intense that we find ourselves, whether we like it or not, in the position of the victims in “Animal Farm” or
in Orwell’s “1984”.
And we find that we are constrained and compelled by all kinds of external pressures, external forms, the
“things to do”, the “in” things to do, the swinging things to do, the yuppie things to do, the sophisticated
things to do, the professional things to do, the domestic things to do, the things that a good husband would
do, the things that a good son would do — so many things press in upon us urging us that we ought to do this
or we ought to do that, or we ought to be this or we ought to be that, that many of us have lost all sense of
whether we really have anything inside that is uniquely us.
And of course, we’ve been saying in these discussions that we’ve been having during this year that this has
been intensified by our own attitude. Because we ourselves have in fact got ourselves into this position.
We’ve done it by taking the unrealistic viewpoint that there is no Creator. Despite the order and design
evident in the universe we’ve taken the position that the whole thing is the result of time plus chance, or of
a directionless, unprogrammed evolutionary process, and so we are left in the position where there’s nobody to
look after us but ourselves.
And indeed we’ve been encouraged to think that from our earliest days. Moreover, we see four billion other
people around who don’t realize how absolutely unique we are and we set about trying to make them realize our
uniqueness. And then of course we realize that we’re here for only a short time so we’d better make the most
of it, so we grab madly at any piece of happiness that we can find. And in the pursuit of this sense of
security that we feel we need, and this sense of self-esteem that we feel we need, and this happiness that we
can’t do without, we have actually ourselves become little robots.
We do what is supposed to bring us security. We become actually the slaves of our own drive for security. We
will do anything to hold our job or to keep the salary up or to keep from actually going down in salary. And
we’ll become any kind of little performing animal that somebody wants us to become just so we keep the shekels
It’s the same with self-esteem and self-worth. It’s incredible how much individuality we are prepared to give
up just to get the approval of other people or the esteem of our peers. And so we have contributed to this
ourselves, until many of us are at the point where we hardly know whether there is anybody at home or not.
We don’t really know who we are. What we’ve been saying is part of us has died — not our mind, not our
emotions, not our will– they’re all alive — not our body, it’s all alive — but our spirit. The spirit is
the very unique thing that is you yourself. It’s the very essence of you. It’s you that is different from
everybody else that ever has been in the universe, everybody that will ever be in the universe, and everybody
that is in the universe now. Your spirit is the you that is unique and different. And what we’ve been sharing
is of course that the One that made you, the Maker Himself, made you unique.
He made you unique. Because He wants to have a relationship with you of love. He wants you actually to be His
friend and His child — His son or His daughter. He wants to love you and He wants you to love Him and that’s
why He made you unique. You’re the only version — He doesn’t want a whole lot of the “sames”, He wants
friends, He wants people who are real and different. And He made you to be like Himself in a unique way and
that’s why you’re on earth. And so He has a vested interest in getting you back to what you used to be.
And you remember Wordsworth’s poem, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy, shades of the prison house begin to
close around the growing boy.” In fact when you’re a little child there is something that is alive and unique
in you. You don’t know any better, you don’t know enough to suppress your own beliefs or your own ideas to
please somebody else. You just are yourself. You’re just spontaneously you. That’s what Wordsworth meant. At
the very beginning it’s as if our little spirits are somehow alive — actually they’re not very alive, that’s
the reality of it. They’re not very alive.
But the Creator allows something of the uniqueness that the spirit used to have to be in you as a child so
that you sense there is some wonderful, innocent, spontaneous, joyous life that you can enter into. And that’s
His plan for you. And so most of us have more a sense of our spirits when we’re children than at any other
time. But throughout our lives we do sense at times, through our conscience, that we ought to do something and
we do it and we find a little life coming up inside. Sometimes we have intuition that we should do something
and we do it and we find there’s a little life inside.
Sometimes we sense that there is a Creator, and we sense as we walk by a pond a great sense of a Presence with
us — and that’s communion. And it’s our spirits wriggling a little, trying to push up into life. But usually
our spirits are absolutely dead and suppressed and our minds and emotions go blindly on, doing what they’ve
been programmed to do, copying everybody else day after day. Usually, in fact, they don’t direct us very much
— it’s our body that directs us. We’re usually little animals.
We do everything according to what piece of clothing we want to buy to cover our bodies or what food we want
to get. That’s why most of us live from a little of breakfast treat to a little bit of lunch treat to a little
bit of dinner treat. And we’re governed primarily by what happens to our bodies. But the Creator Himself has a
vested interest in bringing our spirits to life. And the first condition He needs us to fulfill for that to
happen — and it can happen in you — is for you to believe. That’s the first thing. That’s what His Son Jesus
He said first of all believe this. Believe that what I say is true. Believe that all I’ve told you about My
Father and Him making you so that you could be His child as I am — believe that that’s true. Believe that
there is a God, believe there’s a Creator; believe not only that but He’s intelligent and He’s personal, and
not only that but He actually loves you and He wants you to be His friend and He wants you to love Him and to
trust Him. Believe that. Begin to believe that.
Stop believing the lie that there is no Creator. Stop believing the lie that evolution occurred just by
itself. If there was an evolutionary process there has to be somebody who determined that it would evolve from
simple to complex. There has to be some mind behind it. So stop believing that there’s nothing out there and
start believing that there is a God. That’s the first step.
I don’t know if you’ve ever taken that step. I don’t know if you’ve just taken the attitude that most of us
have that it’s old-fashioned, that it’s out of date, that it’s religious, that it’s evangelical, that it’s mad
American, that it’s wild Catholic, it’s something ecclesiastical or Episcopal to believe.
I don’t know what you think, but throw all that out of the window and believe! Begin to examine the life of
this Man, Jesus of Nazareth. Go to the British Museum — see the Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Sinaiticus. See
that the documentary evidence that gives us the record of His life is far better than what we have for Caesar
or for Plato or for Lucretius, and believe that He is actually the Son of the Maker of the world.
And then believe what He says is true — that there is up there — if you look up at this moment , you know if
you can see the sky, I don’t know if you can, but if you can see the sky, believe that behind that there is a
dear Creator who made you and who actually loves you and who wants you to be His friend, and who wants you to
be His son or daughter and to live with Him forever, and to help Him to develop the rest of this universe
after this life is over. The first step is believe.
That’s the first step in enabling Him to begin to bring your spirit alive, because He won’t bring you alive
unless you want to become alive. See that. He wants you to have free will. He wants you to have it the way you
want it because you’re of no use to Him unless you have free will and have the dignity of a free person who
can love freely. So the first step is to believe.
Why don’t you begin today? It’s as easy to believe as not. Why not take that first step today? And let’s talk
about the second one tomorrow.
How can a Person be Born Again 1 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
How Can a Person be Born Again #1
by Ernest O’Neill
Many of us today have great difficulty finding out who we are. I know that sounds strange and a little insane,
but I think it’s true. Many of us today have great trouble getting in touch with ourselves or finding
ourselves. We seem to have become the sum total of the reflexes and responses that are necessary to the myriad
peers and superiors and authority figures that we have to deal with. And so often we respond to these
employers or bosses or fellow students or husbands or wives or children in ways that have become stereotyped
and are not really an expression of what we ourselves are.
But we have done this so long now that we no longer even know what we would do if we had the freedom to do it.
And so we find ourselves having lived through 1984 but feeling that in a strange way we are living in Orwell’s
“1984”. That is, we are not so much programmed by the big brother of government as by the big brother of all
the obligations we have in this life. And so when we come to decide where we want to go on holiday or what we
want to do for a vocation we have great trouble deciding. And we usually resort to what are now the crutches
of this lame humanity — the aptitude tests or the multiphasic tests that are supposed to show us what we
would be good at.
Again, we feel that it’s just what we would be good at. We don’t really have any confidence that it’s really
ourselves what we should do and want to do. In fact many of us see no hope of doing what we really want to do
and so we gave that up years ago and have become people who have no inside at all –people that are described
by T.S. Elliot in “The Hollow Men”, you remember, “We are the hollow men, headpiece stuffed with straw,” as if
we have no individuality at all inside.
And many of us know that and are frustrated by it and yet don’t see how to come alive inside again. We try
from time to time to do something that is uniquely us, but usually it comes off with an extreme
over-correction that makes a caricature of what we really are. That’s what we’ve been talking about. The
problem that many of us have of the inner space inside where our spirit used to be. Because that’s what your
spirit is — it’s the real you. It’s you as you really are. It’s the unique person that is you.
And what we have been saying over this past year on this program is that we — most of us — have become
caricatures of what we were meant to be and caricatures of what we really were. We did not develop into the
individuals that we were made to be. And we’ve been sharing, you remember, how it is obvious that the order
and design of the universe necessitates the premise of an intelligent personal mind behind it all. And you
remember we went through the examination of the historical records of the lives of different people who claim
to be able to tell us what that Creator was and we concluded that the only One that was at all believable was
the man Jesus of Nazareth.
And of course, He explained to us that His Father, the Creator, had made us so that we would have a
relationship of love and trust in Him. That’s why He made us. And so He made us unique. He made us
individuals. But most of us do not depend, of course, on that kind of invisible being at all. We have begun to
depend utterly on the world itself for what we need. And we’ve tried to get from the world the food, shelter
and clothing that will provide us with the security that we sense we need and we’ve tried to get from things
therefore the sense of material safety that we need, the sense that we can continue to exist in this world.
And we’ve looked to people and tried to look at the people in the world and get them to provide us with the
self-esteem and the self-worth that we need. And then of course, we’ve looked at circumstances and we’ve tried
to manipulate them to create the sense of happiness, the sense of peace and exhilaration that we need. And we
now find that we have really in a way given our souls away as “sordid boon”– that’s the way Wordsworth puts
it, you remember, in his sonnet, “The World is too much with Us.” “Late and soon, getting and spending, we lay
waste our days. Little we see in nature that is ours. We have given our souls away a sordid boon.”
And most of us find that. We’ve either sold our souls to the company store or we have somehow given away the
one thing that was vital in us, the one thing that was individual and unique. We have become slaves to the
world of people and things and circumstances for the security and the significance and happiness that we can
squeeze out of them. But in the process we have become a robot. And we sense that, and we don’t know how to
get out of it and we don’t really know how to come alive inside.
And what we have been sharing the past few days is that there is only One Being that is actually interested in
us becoming alive inside and becoming individuals again, and that is the One who made us, the Creator. He’s
really the only one. Because it was His plan in the first place to make you the only version of you that
exists in the whole universe, and that will ever exist, and that has ever existed. And it’s His own interest
that you will develop as an individual. He wants you to come to Him as an individual, as your own person who
will love Him freely and will enjoy Him and whom He can enjoy.
And so He has a great interest in you becoming yourself, the real you deep down. Because of course most of us
think that becoming ourselves means just wanting what we want, but in fact even that has been programmed into
us and becoming ourselves is something different from that. There is a spirit of you that was created by the
Creator at the beginning of the world and that is what you are meant to be. And only He can bring that about.
No one else has a vested interest in that. They’re all trying to get you to serve them and they need you as a
pliable, submissive non-willed person.
That’s what most of the businesses need. “We will give you the right to a little initiative but we don’t want
you to take too much. And we’re certainly not too interested in who you are yourself.” But the Creator Himself
is. How on earth, or how in heaven, do you come alive again? Well, the first step that Jesus said you have to
take is to believe. Start believing these things — that’s the first step. Stop believing that you’re part of
a mindless evolutionary process. Stop believing that.
Believe in evolution if you want, but see that there has to be some mind behind evolution that gives it
direction. Otherwise it would result in the way that all big bangs or all mindless things result in: chaos and
anarchy. So first of all believe that there is a Creator — that there is Someone behind the sky, there’s
Someone beyond the stars that has created all this. And then believe that this man Jesus is His Son.
And by all means you should examine the manuscript evidence. You should begin to look at the Bible — not as
an old religious book, not as a book of fairy tales or superstitions –but begin to read, particularly the
last part of it, the New Testament part. Begin to read Matthew or Mark or Luke or John — some of those books
that give the history of this man Jesus. And just read about his life and examine it, and see; is this man
insane, is he imbalanced, is he a dupe, or is he a con man, or is he really the Son of the Maker of the
Examine the evidence for His resurrection from the dead. Read books like “Runaway World” by Michael Green.
Read books like “Are the New Testament Documents Reliable?” by F.F. Bruce. Read books like that that discuss
these things in an intelligent way. And begin to believe that this man Jesus really did exist, that he
therefore does exist now — because if he can overcome death once he can overcome it as often as he wants. And
then believe what he said: that you are unique, that your Maker knows you, that He has numbered even the
hairs of your head.
And He knows you, and He knows every thought that goes through your head, and He has a personal interest in
you coming alive and becoming a real person again. First of all believe those things. The second step is of
course to change your mind about the way you’re living at present — to stop living that way and to start
living as if the Creator of the world is in existence. So let’s talk a little more about that second step
How can a Person be Born Again 2 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
How Can a Person be Born Again #2
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever stood on an escalator going down the underground and looked at the person in front of you and
wondered, “What are they thinking?”, or sat in a bus and looked across at someone else and thought, “I wonder
are they feeling the same way as I am? I wonder, do they think they’re as different from everybody else as I
think I am?” And often as we see crowds of other people, we reflect on whether they think the way we think, or
whether they feel as different from everybody else as we do.
And often we pass on in our thinking very quickly, because we have to get off the escalator, we have to get
off the bus, and we don’t dwell upon it any longer. But yet there are those moments, aren’t there, when you
look at some of the other four billion people in the world and you wonder if they think they’re as different
from everybody else as you think you are. And yet as you look at them, too, there comes another thought into
your mind that you’re very like them and they’re very like you.
And then often there is rather a depressing thought that occurs to you that you’re becoming more and more like
them and they’re becoming more like you every day. And indeed, there isn’t perhaps very much difference
between you. And that, of course, is a miserable thought that there isn’t very much difference between you and
the other four billion people. Because of course you do feel different. And yet, it is true that as the years
go by you do more and more what all the rest of the people do. And often you seem to think the way they do
also and respond the way they do.
Because we are all being stimulated by the same external events and the same circumstances. And more and more
we’re all responding in the same way. And of course, you’ve only to watch the TV commercials to realize that
the media and the mass merchandisers treat us as if we are all the same. And often we don’t mind that, except
that we have the growing suspicion that we are very much the same. And yet there is something inside us, isn’t
there, that keeps on saying, “Yes, but you’re different. You’re different. You may wear the same hat as a
thousand other people. You may drive the same car as a million other people, but you are different. You do do
And yet part of the problem is nobody else seems to really realize how absolutely unique you are. And of
course, you have to try to get them to realize that. And that’s where we all seem to stick our elbows out and
show our idiosyncrasies as bluntly and as awkwardly as we can to make sure that we aren’t missed. And though
we look with amusement at the little child that shows off when visitors come, we often feel that we ourselves
“show off” when the visitors come because we don’t want to be missed in the crowd.
And yet as we approach the time when we will be lowered into a hole in the ground, or maybe we will be burned
in cremation, we sense that we seem to end up very much the same as everybody else. And we walk among the
gravestones at times, and think that, “Well, we may as well all be buried the way the soldiers are, under a
plain cross, because we are all the same. And yet there’s something in us that still rebels against that and
says, “Yes, but we are different. We are different.” And the truth is you are different.
You are unique. You’re absolutely different from everybody else in the world today. And you’re different from
anybody that has ever lived, and you’re different from anybody who ever will live. And you may say, “Well,
why? Why do you say that so confidently?” Well, for one thing you feel it, don’t you? Even if you are an
identical twin, you’re still vitally different from that identical twin. There’s some way in which the
combination of personal psychological traits and emotional tendencies in you is different from him.
But the other reason we say that is because in our discussion of these matters over the past year, we’ve come
to the conclusion that there is an intelligent personal mind behind the universe. That whether we were created
through a process of evolution or not, there has to have been, as Einstein said, an intelligent mind that was
responsible for programming into whatever process caused our existence, there has to have been an intelligent
mind that programmed into that process a direction and purpose that would lead to a development of the complex
from the simple, or would lead to a development of order as opposed to chaos.
And He had, in fact, power to leave this world and to go where His Father, the Creator, was and to come back
and tell us what His Father had intended in our creation. And actually He said that the Creator of the world
made you unique. There’s only one of you. And He made you for a certain purpose. That was to become His
friend, to be His child, His son or His daughter and to come to love Him. Because He in fact loved you, and
that’s why He made you.
He made you so that He could have a relationship with you, and so that together you could develop the universe
that is so infinite, after this world is over. And that’s why you were made. And that’s why you still keep
thinking you are unique, because, in fact you are unique.
But, of course, the tragedy is, that most of us have not believed that at all. We have disappointed our Maker.
We have rejected any belief in Him as sane or sensible, and we have lived as practical atheists. And have
become, in turn, dependent people — dependent on all the other people in the world to give us a sense of self
worth, dependent on all the other things in the world to give us a sense of security, dependent on the happy
circumstances in the world to give us a sense of happiness.
Instead of really taking the Creator for real and treating Him as our Father we have ignored Him, and we have
had to try to substitute for Him the attention of other people. And of course, they never give us enough
attention, and they never give us enough acknowledgment or recognition. And so we have become little robot
slaves to them to try to get that attention. And that’s why we sense there’s something in us that is beginning
to die. That sense of uniqueness in us is beginning to die day after day, because we are subjecting ourselves
to all kinds of habits and practices that will please other people or that will get us more security. And in
the doing of it we are losing our own spirits.
That’s the unique part of you, your spirit. That’s the part that really makes you, you. And that part of you
is dying day after day after day. And of course, our Creator, His own attitude is one of grave disappointment
as He sees us become more and more like little machines, like little computers, instead of the original
individualistic human beings that He had made us. What we have been saying is that He, therefore, is the only
one that is really vitally interested in us finding ourselves again.
He’s the only one that is interested in our spirits coming alive. He’s the only one interested in us starting
life again, and beginning again, and being born all over again and coming alive again. And He is able to make
us alive. He is able to bring that spirit of yours into life again. But it does mean that you have to believe
Him. You have to start believing that He is really real, and that these things are true. And then you have to
start living the way you would if He were your Maker and if He were your Father.
In other words you have to change your mind, or, it’s put this way by Jesus of Nazareth, “You have to repent.”
You have to express some sorrow to your Maker for the way you have become a little robot, depending on
everybody but Him. And you have to change your way of going. Instead of depending on all of us to give you a
sense of self-esteem and self worth, instead of depending on your boss or your father, on your mother, your
husband, your teacher, your professors — to begin to depend on Him. And to begin to treat Him as somebody who
will begin to be real in you in your thoughts, and will begin to come through you in your thoughts. And He
He will begin to feed the thoughts into you and feed His sense of what you should do in your life into your
spirit. And you’ll begin to sense direction in your life. But you need to do those two things: believe that
He is really there, and then begin to live in dependence on Him instead of in dependence on all the rest of
us. And in that way you’ll begin to come alive again inside.
Repentance and Belief -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Repentance and Belief
by Ernest O’Neill
During the Second World War, we used to wear identity discs as children. And I suppose it’s like the dog tags
in the U.S. army. They were little discs with our name and address on them so that, I suppose, if we were lost
in an air-raid people would know, at least, who we were. And many of us today wish, at times, we had identity
discs. That is, at times we have difficulty with our own identity. We know that to the husband we’re a wife.
And to the children we’re a mother. To one we’re a mistress or a housekeeper, to the other we’re a kind of
nursemaid and teacher.
To our boss we may be a typist or we may be an engineer. To our friends we may be a football player or rugby
player. To the man in the bus we may be just another fare that he collects. And so we find ourselves
fulfilling all kinds of functions in society, and in a sense being a chameleon in that we turn into what we
are expected to be. The problem with many of us now in these days is, we have turned into so many things, and
we have become such chameleons that turn into the color of the environment in which it finds itself, that many
of us have difficulty in telling who we really are.
You may think that’s ridiculous, but great numbers of us nowadays are so busy pleasing other people and doing
what others expect us to do and, indeed, doing what we think we have to do to ensure our own safety and
security, and our own financial futures, that we have ceased to be ourselves, and some of us, shortly after we
get out of school or get out of university, find ourselves in the position where we have lost the sense of who
we are. And we don’t any longer know who we are or what we would really like to do.
We have spent so much time pleasing our peers, our pals, our friends, the boys at the local, the guys at the
pub, the friends we play football with, that we no longer know who we really are inside. And we often would
like an identity disc hung round our wrist, if by that we could easily again be the people that we once knew
when, perhaps, we were little children and were more innocently ourselves. So, we have been discussing that
problem on this program for the past year.
And we have pointed out that the reason we have become such stereotyped robots, and lost the sense of our own
identity and individuality is precisely the reason that we mentioned earlier on: that we have come to depend
on people and what they think of us to provide our sense of self-worth. And we have come to depend on the
stocks and shares, if we have them, or the insurance policy, or the old shekels that come from the job, or the
welfare state, or the social security system to provide us with a sense of security.
And we have depended on these things and these people so much now that we are almost slaves to please them.
And we have therefore lost the sense of what we would really like to do or what we really think ourselves. We
have so long acted in response to the audience’s applause. We look at famous people. And we look at people who
are in the public eye and are sorry for them, because they always have to be on show. And they always have to
say the right thing to their photographers or the reporters. And we think how good that we are not in that
position, but really, we know we are.
We have become strange performers that try to please everybody, and have little time to find out what we
ourselves actually do think or do feel. Such is the state for the majority of us in the twentieth century that
we have given up all hope of finding out ourselves or discovering ourselves. And we cynically say, “Well,
that’s what growing up is all about, you know. You can’t just do what you think. You can’t just say what you
believe all the time. You have to keep your mouth closed at times.” The problem is that we have kept our mouth
closed so often and so long that we’ve forgotten what we really do think and we feel empty inside.
And that has come about because of our dreadful need to get security from the things around us, and to get a
sense of self-worth from the people around us. We, of course, have done that because we have taken a most
unrealistic attitude to the existence of the world. We’ve concluded that the world has come about by blind
chance; by an undirected evolutionary process that has come out of the clear blue sky. We know that that’s
utterly illogical. We know that even if there is an evolutionary process, there had to be someone to program
it to progress from the simple to the complex.
We know that, but we take the utterly unrealistic attitude of practical atheism. And we say, “Well, yes, we
know there must be somebody back there. But we don’t know who it is, and we can’t do much about it, and nobody
else seems to care too much.” So we live as if there is nobody there and therefore, we are our own keeper, and
we have to look after ourselves. And that’s how we get into this paradoxical situation, where we try to be our
own gods. We try to take care of ourselves, and we end up being subject and slave to everybody else for the
things that we get or for the people that approve of us.
There is a way to discover ourselves. There is someone who is actually interested in us finding ourselves.
There is somebody who is interested in us coming alive inside again. And you have a spirit inside you that is
really you. That’s what your spirit is. It’s the real you. You have a mind and emotions that you have like the
rest of us. It’s a reasonable mind or an unreasonable mind, balanced emotions or unbalanced emotions. You have
a body that is reasonable, too. But we all share that in common.
But your spirit is just yours. And there is One Person who is interested in bringing that spirit alive, and
that is the One who originally gave it to you, the Maker of the world. Because He actually wants you to be His
friend. And He wants you to be yourself. And He is able to make that come alive inside you again. However
deeply buried it is under all the mess of obligations and habits and customs, and ruts that you have got
yourself into in your thinking and your feeling, He is able to dig down into the middle of all that and to
make your spirit alive again.
But He does require some things from you. First of all, that you just believe this. You need to start
believing that this is so. If you don’t believe that it’s so, He cannot act inside you. He will not act inside
you, because He will not force you against your will to come alive. But if you will begin to believe that He
is real, and that He is a Person who loves you and cares about you, and knows you, and wants you to be
yourself, and to come alive inside, He is able to bring your spirit alive inside, to make it start all over
again, to give you a completely new life.
It’s like starting life again. It’s like starting it fresh with all the old customs and the old habits
destroyed immediately. And it’s like a whole new fresh life. It’s like becoming a little child again. In fact,
that’s what His Son said. He said, “Unless you become as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of
heaven.” And it’s true. Unless you get back to becoming just a little child, to starting life all over again,
you cannot enter into that freshness that you once had. So first of all you have to believe.
The second thing is you have to repent. That means, in Greek (the word is “metanoia”) change your mind. Turn
your mind around. Stop thinking that there is no Creator. Stop thinking that you’re dependent on your peers
for your sense of self-esteem. Stop thinking that you are dependent on your stocks and shares for your
financial security. And start believing that the Creator, who looks after the stars and the birds and all the
animals, also looks after you and will take care of you if you will begin to do what He has put you here to
do, on this earth. And that’s what it takes. It takes a real attitude of belief in Him, and a real attitude of
changing the way you live; no longer depending on people, and beginning to depend on Him. And then you begin
to come alive inside.