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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)


It is not self-evident that the world, or the individuals in it, have a purpose.

  1. Prima facie, due to the cyclical nature of certain physical processes (eg. the seasons, birth & death), the world would not seem to be purposeful, at least for the individual. This is recognised in the Book of Ecclesiastes.
  2. The expectations of the ultimate fate of the universe, based on current scientific evidence & cosmological theory, would seem to consign even evolutionary progress to ultimate futility.
  3. It is, however, important to note that the world is supremely capable of producing stable complexity1 which includes, on Earth, the development of multiform varieties of life.
  4. Christian apologetic often treats the absence of purpose or ultimate explanation as a fatal flaw in any atheistic system. However, it is not necessarily a bad thing for purposelessness and ultimate futility to be the case. If it is to be treated as a bad thing, it must be demonstrated to be so. Even if it is demonstrated to be undesirable, this is not relevant to whether or not it is the case.
  5. Similarly, arguments based on the supposed presence or absence of systems of morality in various competing models of the world are not relevant to deciding what is actually the case.
  6. In any case, I consider it possible to construct a system of ethics that is not undergirded by divine imperatives. An attempt to do this follows in an Appendix2.
  7. Christian attempts (eg. by Francis Schaeffer) to explain human personhood3,4 by reference to the Divine Persons (and their supposed relationships within the Trinity) are fallacious on several counts.
  8. We may have to give up the idea of ultimate purpose for the individual (in the sense of a purpose that is not thwarted by death). However, we are not thereby committed to a despondent attitude to a supposedly meaningless5 life.




Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
12/08/2007 10:17:46 189 (Purpose) CT Introduction

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Non-theistic Ethics Person Purpose - Complexity Purpose - Meaningless Purpose - Persons

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Summary of Note Links to this Page

CT Introduction        

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