You are Meaningful

May 12, 2008

I don’t know if anyone has ever told you this before, but you are meaningful. There’s a lot of lies floating around about you being an accident, or you being insignificant but I’m here to set the record straight. Oh, and I’m going to back it up with cold hard facts.

Looking at your biology there never has been and never will be anyone just like you. Even if we cloned your DNA and made a fetal duplicate, the cells would quickly differentiate due to physical laws and you would be a different person in most every aspect from even your twin. Your imperfections are part of your meaning so though you hate your nose, only you have your nose. You could have been anybody, and at the very least you have the brain capacity to read this and understand what I’m writing and that is nothing short of a miracle. Most others in the vast history of man didn’t get as far as you just did so good job.

You were also made by a good God who knew you before anybody else laid eyes on you. You are not your body, you are not your brain, you have a body and you have a brain. There is a soul rolling around in you somewhere and it is made of stuff that isn’t entirely captured by the particles of the body. If you feel guilt for anything you’ve ever done it proves that your soul is still operational and it’s a great gift.

Like your body, nobody else will have your soul. Billions of souls have been made and will likely be made in the days to come and none will be you. The singularity of your experience is only lived by you. God himself can know you, but he cannot know what it means to BE you. Your suffering is unique. Your victories are unique. Your struggles and breakthroughs are unique to you.

I hope you’re not reading a bunch of self-image therapy-speak into my claiming that you are meaningful. I didn’t say that you were good, noble, victorious or admirable. You may be the best person ever or you may be the most colossal narcissist ever to walk the planet. I’m not making a judgment about you, I’m only stating the facts that your existence is huge, robust with potential, miraculous in originality and made in the image of God. That’s all.

He made you in His image. That’s all.

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34 Responses to “You are Meaningful”

  1. AwwwBucketHead Says:

    It’s funny, because if we are made in God’s image. God is severely flawed. Also if god is in charge of judging us, god must not be very important. Also wouldn’t that make him our slave?

  2. tennapel Says:

    Yes, AwwwBucketHead, your logic is perfect. God is not important and he is our slave. Well done.

  3. AwwwBucketHead Says:

    Disagree? Then lets discuss it?

  4. tennapel Says:

    I’ll start with the meaning of “Made in His Image”…it doesn’t mean that a child-molester got his actions from a good God. It means we have moral capacity, which plants and dogs don’t have.

    Hitler’s dog was a good dog, it can’t be counted against the dog that he was loyal to a monster because dogs don’t have moral capacity. When a tiger eats a human baby (or even his own baby tiger) he isn’t being an “immoral” tiger, because he is not morally self aware or culpable for his actions.

    An alligator doesn’t wonder if he’s living up to the honor of his father. A monkey doesn’t think, “I will die for my tribe’s freedom.” I don’t have to be a monkey to know that he acts amorally.

    So God makes the animals, but when He makes man he announces, “Let us make man in our image.” We have access to the entire universe of planets, beings and systems and no other being has a higher moral fortitude than man. Man is the peak moral potential of all creation. He has done the best things and done the worst things. His capacity to do good and evil are beyond any other being in the natural world. That’s what I mean by “made in the Image of God.”

    God is not flawed for making a man capable of becoming flawed. Man is flawed…God is not necessarily flawed.

  5. AwwwBucketHead Says:

    We are the pen-ultimate creation eh? It’s a big universe out there… our flimsy meat bags are the pinnacle of being? But let’s discuss the slave comment, I’m curious to hear a rationale discussion on that.

  6. Moose Says:

    Dude, you should discuss your rationale first :) “Also if god is in charge of judging us, god must not be very important.” This makes no kind if sense. If we are the penultimate creation, who else should be able to judge us except the Creator of everything?

    “Also wouldn’t that make him our slave?” Actually, without intending to, you may have stumbled on one of Christianity’s greatest mysteries here. God actually did allowed Himself to be our slave for a brief time 2000 years ago (Jesus) and continues to allow us to treat Him with contempt (like a slave or worst). Not because He likes it, not because we have any real authority over Him but because He REFUSES to force us to love Him (I.e. He loves us and gives us our freedom, our free will, He died to make us free again). When the dust settles we will either be with Him in Heaven or we will get what we want: an existence completely without Him, A.K.A. Hell.

    It sounds totally nuts, I know, but I would rather believe this than what I used to believe: Poof! we show up, bumble around and then a few decades later, poof! we disappear. This was a loosy way to live. AwwwBucketHead, don’t forget what a wise philosopher once said: God Made You Special and He Loves You Very Much. This makes life worth living.

    +Peace!

    Doug, Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Paul G Says:

    Slave? Not any more than I could be called my wife’s slave. More than willing to sacrifice myself for her, but certainly not her servant. That would negate the entire meaning of the relationship. To the outside observer, the things I do for my wife could appear to be the actions of a slave, but if there is a world of difference between coerced servitude and sacrifice given freely and born of Love. And that’s the crux (word chosen carefully) of… well… everything.

    You speak as though existence was about winning. Have you avowed your nihilism?

  8. Machete_Bear Says:

    “Also if god is in charge of judging us, god must not be very important. Also wouldn’t that make him our slave?”

    I’d be more curious as to your rationale behind God being our slave. Are you implying that because God has charged himself with judging us, that he is somehow influenced, and affected by our actions in a manner that makes him subject to us, as a slave is to a master?

    I’m inclined to believe that your argument is meant as nothing else but snarky rabble-rousing, as you make assumptions with no argument to back them up, but lets assume you are sincere.

    Man was made to serve God, not the other way around. If we choose to not accept God, and live against him, it does not “enslave” God to our imperfections, or give him a stack of paperwork that he needs to file.

    I’m having a hard time reasoning how you came to the conclusion that the almighty creator of existence could be your slave?

  9. AwwwBucketHead Says:

    It’s not rabble rousing per say, but I don’t accept the existence of this creator. To me it appears to be people looking to give meaning to their lives. I’ll admit, the thought of ceasing to exist is a scary one, but not enough to make be abandon reason.

    If someone is all powerful why would he/she feel the need to create creatures to worship them. And if we don’t were punished? To me that is like a kid w/ a magnifying glass standing over an ant hill, and killing the ones that dont accept him as their creator.

    To me this is an attempt to explain the unknown with an all encompassing answer.

  10. Max Volume Says:

    If there is no meaning to our lives then there is no meaning to the universe, and if everything is meaningless then thats justification fr doing anything you want, murder included, because it doesn’t matter, right?

    But you know deep down inside of you on a basic level that murder is cruel, unjust, inexcusable. Sometimes other peoples atrocities can diminish that little feeling to the point that they too become as their tormentors. But it is there.

    So why would we have developed that, or even have that feeling that there is a line somewhere when nothing matters?

    Btw, that post made me feel good about myself Doug, thanks for that :)

  11. Machete_Bear Says:

    “To me that is like a kid w/ a magnifying glass standing over an ant hill, and killing the ones that dont accept him as their creator.”

    Then why aren’t you a pile of ash?

    So what would point to a creator to you? If there was no disease, crime, suffering, or poverty? Would God need to speak to you directly? God wanted us to have free will, and we chose sin. God does not punish people who do not worship him, quite the contrary.

    I’ve never seen more successful people than those who deny God. What God does is chasten those who DO worship him, when we stray from him. Job is the old standard for this; Job was described as being blameless in God’s eyes; not completely sinless, but he led a righteous life, yet had one of the worst falls in the Bible. God didn’t shine his magnifying glass on Job, but rather allowed hardship to befall him, and in the end, Job was rewarded for choosing God despite adversity.

  12. AwwwBucketHead Says:

    “If there is no meaning to our lives then there is no meaning to the universe, and if everything is meaningless then thats justification fr doing anything you want, murder included, because it doesn’t matter, right?”
    –You can dictate your meaning, and if you want to dedicate it to the invisible boogey man, that’s your choice.

    “Then why aren’t you a pile of ash?”
    –Because he doesn’t exist.

    “So what would point to a creator to you? If there was no disease, crime, suffering, or poverty? Would God need to speak to you directly?”
    –I’m open to proof, but stories in a book written by a group of men will not be evidence that is acceptable.

    “God didn’t shine his magnifying glass on Job, but rather allowed hardship to befall him, and in the end, Job was rewarded for choosing God despite adversity.”
    –Praying to a god so you have good luck is bull shit. You can degrade yourself to praying to an unseen mountain on the hill, but I personally choose to carve my own path. If religion works for you, thats awesome, honestly the main reason most people in America are christian is due to geological location. If you imagine the borders of countries, now remove those borders and replace the borders with locations of believers in a certain religion, they generally are the same (In this time period at least these borders expanded and changed as time went on). Funny isnt it?

  13. Barabbas Says:

    I’m open to proof, but stories in a book written by a group of men will not be evidence that is acceptable.

    So, do you believe what you read in science journals? History books? The newspaper? Wikipedia?

    It seems you are biased against the evidence for reasons other than the fact that it is written by men.

  14. robbie Says:

    i would also add, doug, that at least a traditional understanding of being made in god’s image is that we are rational and free (two necessary conditions of ethical agency).

    in reply to awwwbuckethead:

    you haven’t made it clear that, as “meatbags”, we can know truth. in which case, if you deny rationality and replace it with some kind of evolutionary story of the pragmatic utility of getting things mostly correct for survival, this still isn’t grounds for asserting any truth of the matter. in which case, you haven’t given us grounds for thinking you’ve asserted anything true. humans, somehow giving meaning to our lives “ex nihilo” doesn’t mean much.

  15. P.C. Unfunny Says:

    I agree with AwwwBuckets on certain points. I do believe there is a creator because something must have created the universe but that’s as far as I go. I do not see need to worship whoever he, she, or It says. Whould you love someone or worship someone that has absolutely no kind of communication towards you or anyone else ? I certaintly wouldn’t. I also against all religions. Sure they have some good messages but then they have there own biased values. I don’t have problem if two gay guys want to get married, I am not effected so I don’t care.

  16. TenNapel Says:

    P.C. Unfunny and AwwwBUckethead,
    thou protesteth too much. I bring up meaning and attribute it to a good God and you can’t leave that alone. You HAVE to comment and project all of your baggage into my statements. I didn’t claim in my post that you need to “worship whoever he, she, or it says” nor did I say that you had to pray to a god so we could have good luck.

    Try to stay on topic here and reflexively knock over your windmills on your own site.

  17. AwwwBucketHead Says:

    “So, do you believe what you read in science journals? History books? The newspaper? Wikipedia?

    It seems you are biased against the evidence for reasons other than the fact that it is written by men.”

    You’re right, but those sources cite their evidence. The bible simply says its true, because it says its true. Thats a circular logic, and it is flawed.

  18. P.C. Unfunny Says:

    TenNapel: I just wanted to say how I felt about the whole concept of a creator. You’re right, you really didn’t say “worship God”. Sorry about that.

  19. TenNapel Says:

    “The bible simply says its true, because it says its true. Thats a circular logic, and it is flawed.”

    AwwwBucketHead, please cite your evidence for the above statement before I can take it seriously.

  20. AwwwBucketHead Says:

    The Bible warns that the person who constantly doubts God and fails to trust Him “is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:8).

    Don’t do it! Or I’ll GETCHA!

  21. AwwwBucketHead Says:

    ^^^

    That may be unclear, but to say he who questions the bible is mentally unstable, shows a tremendous lack of faith in their own religion. As to say “If you don’t believe this you must rape pigeons” or some lunatic thing.

  22. Sean Says:

    “I’m open to proof, but stories in a book written by a group of men will not be evidence that is acceptable.”

    That’s funny, because Jesus tells a parable where a man in Hell calls to Abraham in Heaven and asks Abraham to send a man back from the dead to warn his family about Hell. Abraham says to the man: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead”. Incidentally, someone did rise from the dead and you remain unconvinced.

  23. lemm Says:

    Good post, Doug. This kinda stuff makes me think. :)

  24. TenNapel Says:

    “The Bible warns that the person who constantly doubts God and fails to trust Him “is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:8).

    Don’t do it! Or I’ll GETCHA!”

    AwwwBucketHead, you’ve just discredited yourself, using your own standards for credibility. You didn’t cite a source to justify your claim, and the source you cited you chopped up and took out of context…leave it in its context and you have no point. Let’s look at the verse in context:

    “James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

    The verses actually say that if you doubt when you ask for wisdom from God that you are a double-minded man. Notice you completely invented your own straw man argument against God that you inherited from your culture, “God’s gonna getcha if you don’t believe this circular argument”. In essence, you threw out an accusation against God I didn’t bring up, and even your non sequitor was a lie.

    Now I’m man enough to tell you the truth, that your life has meaning. I also use my real full name and don’t hide behind a random account. So what did you really come here to do since you really didn’t come here to have a discussion about my post?

  25. brent hand Says:

    Yet another great post. I wish I could think of a word my mom wouldn’t use, but it’s rather “uplifting” and I think alot of people need to hear that.

    AwwwBucketHead, previously you made the comparison between God to a kid over an anthill. It’s the logic you use to get there that troubles me. I don’t think most of us who believe in God think he created us just to worship him or else. He didn’t need a bunch of robots who just spat out his adoration, he had that already (angels, googly-eye covered heavenly creatures, etc.). He wanted somebody to choose to love him back. You don’t get that emotion? You don’t buy that? He had all creation to sing out about how good he is, yet it wasn’t enough. That doesn’t make sense?

    Allowing us to choose makes us capable of great evil. And so we get child molesters, religious terrorists, and telemarketers. And so you say a good and all powerful God wouldn’t allow that kind of stuff to happen. I agree. A perfect God would of course allow us to find our way, but couldn’t allow evil to exist… forever…(there’s the “or else” part).

    Sorry… I was just reading and I couldn’t let that “why would God create creatures to worship him? And if we don’t were punished?” comment go. You said that thing about anthills, and everyone went crazy. I personally couldn’t care less about anthills.

  26. legendaryjman Says:

    Doug keeps it real 100% of the time. Everytime I come to this site it is Mr. TenNapel pwning my mind with things I had never thought about. GG Doug.

  27. Faded-Myth Says:

    While I’m not religious, I firmly believe everyone has their purpose, and that it’s what you do with your life that makes you who you are, and not where you come from. Everyone has the chance to lift themselves off the ground when they’re down.

    And dammit, I’m awesome and proud to be.

    Doug’s awesome too. Go Doug.

  28. Faded-Myth Says:

    Oh, and to shed the veil of anonymity, my name is Jon. =D

  29. Gloria Says:

    Thanks for posting about this, Doug.

    It actually IS the kind of thing I wanted to hear first thing in the morning. :)

  30. Braam Kempen Says:

    This was very good Doug. Your Blogs are always something to look out for, even if I don’t comment on all of them. :D

  31. Braam Kempen Says:

    Cool! Red ninja Star avatar thingy!

  32. Achoo Says:

    Solid post, Doug. I really needed to hear this.

    Also, good existential conversation, all. Keep it going!


  33. thanks doug, i have needed some more wisdom on my own value
    sometimes i feel i have none.

  34. Josh Says:

    AwwwBucketHead wrote:

    “So, do you believe what you read in science journals? History books? The newspaper? Wikipedia?

    It seems you are biased against the evidence for reasons other than the fact that it is written by men.”

    You’re right, but those sources cite their evidence. The bible simply says its true, because it says its true. Thats a circular logic, and it is flawed.

    Josh replies:

    If you have ever opened a Bible, you’ll notice that it is not one book, but 66 books, written by over 40 authors. That 40 people, all from different time periods, writing about the same thing, being consistent with each other’s writing without seeing the other’s writing. That sounds pretty reliable to me.


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