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10 October, 2013


A new study from the University of Pennsylvania suggests that people who strongly believe in God are more likely to reject the notion that life has no purpose than people who believe less strongly in God. Even so, most people who believe less strongly in God still rejected the notion, challenging the assumption that God is necessary to give life purpose. We must then ask ourselves: if God does not necessarily give life purpose, what does?

Respondents were asked whether they believed in God without a doubt, or whether they did not believe or were unsure. They were then asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “In my opinion, life does not serve any purpose”. Of those who believed in God without a doubt, 33% mildly disagreed with the statement, and 61% of them strongly disagreed with it (for a total of 94%). Of those who did not believe or were unsure, 42% mildly disagreed, and only 49% strongly disagreed (for a total of 91%).

What the figures show is that most people in general reject the notion that life has no purpose, but strong believers slightly outnumber non-believers and weak believers in their rejection of it. Most importantly, although the level of general disagreement was similar between the two groups, a significantly greater number of people who believed in God with certainty disagreed strongly with the notion. That is, strong disagreement with the statement correlated with strong belief in God.

The fact that most atheists and agnostics still have a sense of purpose in life without a rock-solid belief in God means they have to derive their sense of purpose elsewhere. Perhaps the purpose of life is to practice compassion, and this life purpose is determined by ethical reasoning. In other words, helping the sick and needy is meaningful in and of itself because it alleviates suffering.

Most people seem to believe that life has a sense of purpose, but not everyone agrees that this purpose is rooted in the existence of God. Whatever our belief, hopefully we can all agree that doing good is its own reward. At the same time we as Christians cannot afford, by ignorance and apathy, to quit the field and give ground. If we do, this entire culture will pay the price when those with no Biblical foundation are left to determine the the aforementioned "ethical" standards of future generations.

Just think, where would we be today were it not for the biblical "Ten Commandments" passed down to us, generation to generation?  Something for all of us to ponder as the proverbial handcart to hell awaits.

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