The Purpose of Life (Briefly) in Religious and Non-Religious Terms

June 14, 2010
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Any religous person (assuming that they are studious) would undoubtedly reply that the purpose of life is to live faithfully by God's commandments (and if I remember correctly, the most widespread religions are Roman Catholicism/ Christianity - 1.6 billion - so let's just go with those two similar religions), so as to avoid being condemned by Jesus Christ on Judgement Day. As stated in the book of Ecclesiastes, "Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). The commandments consist of ten rules, God's own non-medicinal prescription to ensure one's living a long, healthy life. Any skeptic would argue that being a good person won't save you from developing cancer, or obtaining an antibiotic-immune strain of Tuberculosis. Those religious would then remark that those unfortunate souls should probably have made sure that they obeyed a majority of the commandments - if not all of them - because the Amendments of the U.S. Constitution (especially not the 5th one) does not apply to deceased citizens (and most lawyers go to hell first).

At first glance, the commandments seem to be written along the lines of common knowledge, maybe excluding the first one which states that we shall not have any gods before Him. The other ones should sound highly reasonable to any just, civilized person with any level of empathy and perception - two qualities that are usually givens for humans. Thou shall not steal; thou shall not envy your neighbor, thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not use God's name in vain, thou shall not bear false witness, thou shall not kill, thou shall not create a graven image, honor the Sabbath day, and you shall honor your father and mother.

There isn't anything confusing about these commandments; they mean exactly what is stated. It doesn't take a theologist or a rocket scientist to figure out that it isn't right to steal, or to let your jealousy of what other have weigh out your appreciation for what you have. To figure it is not right to lie, nor to have an affair while you are in a committed, loving relationship, nor that it's wrong to kill. By "create a graven image," the Bible means that we shouldn't have pictures or statues representing any of the divine presences in the Holy Trinity (God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) in churches or cathedrals because then we'd become inclined to worshiping those material figurines instead of God Himself. But we can interpret this as a warning not to lose yourself and your moral values in material goods. As for "Honor the Sabbath", God created the universe in six days, and rested on the seventh. Catholics and Christians are encouraged to stop labour on Sundays and go to Church for an hour of Mass, and then rest. But this sort of even goes for non-believers; tell me, who doesn't like to kick it at home and watch football on Sunday? And of course, you should always be thankful for your parents, and respect them for supporting and putting up with you.

I believe that these "rules" reflect the general moral fibers of people, religious or aethiest. Being social creatures, we are meant to live our lives developing good, honest relationships with other people and especially ourselves - one easy way to do this, is to try to abide by what the commandments say. Or, in other words, do what's right. In religious terms, knowing the Bible and the many stories it presents will save you from demons, and damnation. In non-religious (and assumedly most scientist's) terms, living along the lines of the Bible's teachings will save you from your own demons all the same - an abusive family or spouse, temptations to give into the negative affects of modern day media and society: drugs, alcohol, sex for conquests' sake, etc. "Science and Religion are merely two very different languages that are trying to tell us the same story." Despite a few very conflicting views on creation and history, moral values and ethics of those religious (based on their religion's teachings) and non-religious (based on what their conscious tells them) are more or less the same.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Asianflowers said...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 3:40 pm
A bit confusing, but an entirely different viewpoint from what I've heard. I like it! Great job :)
matt7 said...
Jun. 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm
To be honest, I dont believe that Christianity is saying similar things as the scientists do. If you agree that human beings are selfish people, telling people not to do something (even if they could get away with it) because society my be hurt, do you think they would care that much. When the scientists claim that there is no God and a murderer embraces that beleif, how much more of a reason to kill somebody if that idea is believed to be true?
Brianna.Guerrero replied...
Jun. 17, 2010 at 6:02 pm

I didn't mean to imply that the beliefs of Christians and Scientists are the same. Their beliefs and reasonings differ very much, I understand. I just meant to say that all of us as humans more or less would acknowledge the content of the Ten Commandments, regardless of the fact that it is a religious document, as reasonable moral ethic.

Just because people know an action is wrong, won't mean they won't attempt it.

Brianna.Guerrero replied...
Jun. 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm

 I mean that the content of the Ten Commandments, regardless of it's religious origin,  ideally make up a human being's moral ethics.

Of course, not everyone tends to be ethical, for their own marred perceptions and reasons.


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