What is the purpose of life? #91071

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What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by vorpal blade » Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:50 pm

http://100hourboard.org/questions/91071/

The general definition of “purpose” is “The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” When something is created there is a reason it came into existence. It may be by chance, by natural forces, by accident, or by conscious design. However, if something was not created it is meaningless to ask why it was created, or the purpose for its creation.

Does it make sense to even ask to know the reason for which something is done or exists if it has always been done or existed? I think not. You may find a use for that which is done or exists, but it doesn’t explain why it is the way it is.

When people ask the question, “What is the purpose of life,” they almost always mean “What is the purpose of this earth life,” because that is the only life we can remember. The plan of salvation explains why we are here on earth, what we need to be doing, why it makes a difference, and the consequences of our actions. It gives meaning to our earthly life.

If you ask the broader, larger scale question of what is the purpose of our eternal life, you run into a problem of logic. Joseph Smith and others have taught us that life was not created. You were not created, but you have always existed. It is meaningless to ask why life was created which was not created.

You can logically ask why our spirit bodies were clothed with physical bodies at birth, why we will be separated from these bodies at death, and why we will be resurrected with immortal physical bodies, because these things were done with a purpose. There are reasons for the beginning and end of these stages of life. But for things which have always been, are, and always will be the question of their purpose has no meaning.

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by Cognoscente » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:45 am

vorpal blade wrote:http://100hourboard.org/questions/91071/
But for things which have always been, are, and always will be the question of their purpose has no meaning.
Asking those questions regardless is the foundation of science and philosophy.
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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by yayfulness » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:03 pm

This reminds me of Simone de Beauvoir as depicted here: http://existentialcomics.com/comic/226

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by vorpal blade » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:01 am

Cognoscente wrote:
vorpal blade wrote:http://100hourboard.org/questions/91071/
But for things which have always been, are, and always will be the question of their purpose has no meaning.
Asking those questions regardless is the foundation of science and philosophy.
Yes, pity those scientists and philosophers on an endless snipe hunt! I have no problem with their asking questions when revelation has already given us the answer, but it seems a waste of time to search for something which does not exist. Space, matter, and life had no beginning, says the prophets, so you will never find out when they began to be. I have degrees in science and worked as a scientist for more than forty years, and I wish scientists and philosophers well. It is just that in this instance they will not find the answer where they evidently expect it to be.

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by vorpal blade » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:07 am

yayfulness wrote:This reminds me of Simone de Beauvoir as depicted here: http://existentialcomics.com/comic/226
Amusing cartoon. Simone de Beauvoir has a reasonable, practical philosophy. However, it is natural, and human, to look for broader meaning and understanding than what is in the here and now. Perhaps they all would be happier to know the revealed truth. Or maybe not, if they are enjoying speculating, and would really rather not know.

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by Cognoscente » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:47 am

vorpal blade wrote:Yes, pity those scientists and philosophers on an endless snipe hunt! I have no problem with their asking questions when revelation has already given us the answer, but it seems a waste of time to search for something which does not exist.
Respectfully, that take might be appropriate in an Elder's Quorum or Sunday School meeting, but it comes across as wildly prideful and needlessly dismissive in any other context. There are plenty of questions for which the Church's revealed doctrine has no answers, and plenty of members fill those gaps with asking questions and speculating on doctrine. There's nothing inherently foolish about the practice, within or without the Church. It's human nature.
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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by vorpal blade » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:42 pm

Good points. There are a great many questions for which the Church does not give us an answer. Certainly it is a good thing to ask questions and wonder about these things. Nothing foolish about it. And, exactly, it is human nature.

I’m just grateful that there are some things we CAN know, things which HAVE been revealed to us. I’m grateful to know that God lives and that He cares about us. I would like to encourage everyone to find out what God has already revealed. We need to ask questions, study it out, pray about it, and seek to know all that God would reveal. Aren’t we fortunate to know a few things, and to take a measure of comfort in the knowledge that we have found some answers?

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by TheBlackSheep » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:28 pm

The thing is though that lots of us do know what truth the church has revealed and find ourselves somewhere between unimpressed and traumatized by the experience. So I found some of your phrasing to be flippant as well. It's not that we're undereducated in doctrine. It's that, after careful consideration, we don't believe it. When folks insinuate that knowing and following church doctrine is simple and amazing it can feel like a huge brushoff.

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by Man with a Mustache » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:24 am

I just thought I'd chime in from the active member side of things. I fully agree with Coggers and Black Sheep here. Refusing to ask questions about even apparently fundamental aspects of doctrine is choosing to know and learn less about God. It constitutes neither a lack of faith nor a fruitless search to sound the depths of our theology.

On the points of doctrine that you mention (that of eternity and the nature of life within eternity), it is perfectly understandable that a faithful member of the Church who has read the revealed doctrine on the matter might still question the beginning. While by definition eternity has no beginning, everything we as humans know has a beginning and it strains earthly understanding to picture infinity even as an abstract idea let alone as it applies to something as meaningful to us as our own lives. Why not question? Why not look for answers there? Just because someone uttered the phrase, "Life is infinite" does not invalidate my search for meaning and answers.

Furthermore, it is entirely possible to find truths that appear contradictory on their face because we lack a full understanding. Imagine if truth were a 20-sided die. One person rolls it, and determines that God = 14. I roll it and declare God = 3. We could argue semantically over whether or not 14 = 3 or we might come to the understanding that we've each learned parts of a greater whole and that our apparently contradictory conclusions might be simultaneously correctly describing something that we cannot ever fully comprehend. Maybe infinity has a beginning...

Lastly, most of these arguments all assume a set of common beliefs (i.e. the existence of a loving Father, God, and the truth of the plan of salvation). While you and I have accepted these as truth, and while we may be convinced that these truths are absolute for all humanity regardless of their faith, imposing that framework on others because we believe is at best impolite and at worst destructive. My 4-yr-old daughter is deeply interested in painting snowflakes at the moment. She has what she has termed a "field notebook" and she spent an hour yesterday painting snowflakes in them to study. I could dismiss this study as utterly unscientific, fundamentally meaningless, and silly because (1) she doesn't even look at real snowflakes when she draws hers, (2) it doesn't really matter what snowflakes look like as it pertains to her ultimate life purpose and (3) she doesn't possess the artistic ability to accurately portray the finer details of snowflakes that would actually teach her relevant mathematical truths. OR I could be appreciative of her passion, validate her interests, and demonstrate that her studies are meaningful to me because they are meaningful to her. I think that if we, as members of the Church, really actually have a set of truths that we believe are absolute, it is our duty to respect and love others in their quests for truth and understanding--even if it leads them away from what we believe--in the name of agency and the love for others that we say we preach.

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by vorpal blade » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:47 am

TheBlackSheep wrote:The thing is though that lots of us do know what truth the church has revealed and find ourselves somewhere between unimpressed and traumatized by the experience. So I found some of your phrasing to be flippant as well. It's not that we're undereducated in doctrine. It's that, after careful consideration, we don't believe it. When folks insinuate that knowing and following church doctrine is simple and amazing it can feel like a huge brushoff.
I have to admit that I often read comments like this and I wonder, are they talking about me? I don’t see any connection with what I have said.

I know I am constantly learning new truths and gaining a better understanding of what is taught in the church. When is the last time you learned a truth taught by the church and said in all sincerity, “Wow, that is so true and I never knew it before!”

As you no doubt remember, the apostle Paul in the New Testament taught an interesting truth about who can, and who cannot know (in a Biblical sense) the things of the Spirit of God. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Isn’t that interesting? The things of the Spirit of God must be understood through the Holy Ghost. Whenever we stop following the promptings of the Holy Spirit then the things of God appear as foolishness to us. Other words for “foolishness” might be “unimpressive,” “traumatizing,” or simply “unbelievable.”

What must we do to overcome the natural man and discern through the Spirit? Read our scriptures daily, pray with real intent, keep all of the commandments including keeping the Sabbath Day holy, refrain from sexual relations outside of marriage, live the word of wisdom, develop faith, and other things. Tragically those that leave the church often struggle with understanding the principles of the gospel, but instead of doubling down on their commitment to keep the commandments, pray, and read the scriptures they let these things slide and then they no longer can feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

I do not say that knowing and following church doctrine is simple or easy. Salvation was not easy for Christ, and it is never easy for us. It is not easy or simple to allow Christ to change our lives and become Christlike. I know leaving the Church can be very hard, and some that do so struggle for years before they leave. But, on the other hand, throwing off the natural man and really knowing the things of the Spirit of God requires a lifetime of continual effort and struggles with the Spirit.

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by Man with a Mustache » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:59 am

Uhhh, ::blowing into mic:: is this thing on?

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by vorpal blade » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:04 am

To Man with a Mustache. Me too. I fully agree with Cognoscente and the Black sheep also. In this thread there hasn’t been a disagreement, merely a misunderstanding of what I meant.

Now, apparently Cognoscente feels that I “come across as wildly prideful and needlessly dismissive.” Well, I can’t disagree with what he feels. If he feels that way he feels that way. Who am I to say he doesn’t feel that way? But I believe that if he understood what I meant he wouldn’t feel the same way.

TBS “found some of [my] phrasing to be flippant.” So kindly put, thank you! She expresses her feelings, and I’m not going to say she is wrong to have those feelings, but I hope it is because she didn’t understand me.

Apparently my comments that some questions have no meaning, and it is meaningless to ask meaningless questions, and it makes no sense to ask questions that make no sense, has been interpreted to mean that we should refuse to ask questions which are meaningful to us. My mistake was thinking it was obvious that if a question is meaningful to you then of course you should diligently seek to find an answer until you find it. And when we have answers to questions others have we should loving help them.

You, Man with a Mustache, have made a number of interesting and good comments, in my opinion. Mostly I agree with you. Some things I will ponder some more. But I do have a couple of disagreements with you.

First, you use the phrase “imposing that framework on others.” I have neither the power nor the authority to force anything on anyone. Nor would I want to have it. I want to invite others to learn what I know because I believe it will help them to find more happiness. Are you able to impose on anyone in this forum, even if you wanted to?

Second, your last sentence. Christ would never do or say anything which would lead people away from Him, precisely because he loves each of us, has deep respect for us, and would never violate our agency. As His followers it is our loving duty to do the same.

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by Cognoscente » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:52 am

Oh vorpy, I've missed our spirited discussions. Thrust, riposte, counter-riposte, phrase taken out of context, banal insult, mild eye-rolling. Hope you're healthy and happy. Have you seen/heard Hamilton yet? It's quite good.

"But I believe that if he understood what I meant he wouldn’t feel the same way." Immediately assuming that the only reason I draw the conclusions I draw is because of ignorance is, to me, the apotheosis of prideful and dismissive. I disagree with you, but I'd never conclude that the reason I disagree with you is because you don't know what you're talking about and if you simply did more research or had a better education you'd see the light. I genuinely think you've reached your beliefs after years of thoughtful study in good faith. I ask only that you give me the same benefit of the doubt.
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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by vorpal blade » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:41 pm

Cognoscente wrote:
vorpal blade wrote:http://100hourboard.org/questions/91071/
But for things which have always been, are, and always will be the question of their purpose has no meaning.
Asking those questions regardless is the foundation of science and philosophy.
When I saw this response I was puzzled. What was I missing? My initial reaction was that scientists and philosophers believe or assume that everything has a beginning. The set of all things which have always been, are, and will be is empty as far as scientists and philosophers are concerned.

So I spent hours studying the writings of the great scientists and philosophers trying to determine what they considered to be the foundation of science and philosophy. Everything I read confirmed my initial reaction.

I then thought that Cognoscente must mean that science and philosophy was built upon a foundation of asking meaningless questions. Well, I thought, that’s a pretty low opinion of these fields of learning. In fact, you might say it came across as wildly prideful and needlessly dismissive. But, and here is the key thing, I then said to myself that Cognoscente is a good man, and he is much more intelligent than that, so I will continue looking to understand his comment. I finally decided that he was being sarcastic. So I decided to reply with a humorous statement and at the same time validate the work scientists and philosophers do.

Imagine my surprise and distress at the response to that. I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t understand it, except that somehow I had been completely misunderstood.

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by vorpal blade » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:46 pm

Cognoscente wrote:Oh vorpy, I've missed our spirited discussions. Thrust, riposte, counter-riposte, phrase taken out of context, banal insult, mild eye-rolling. Hope you're healthy and happy. Have you seen/heard Hamilton yet? It's quite good.

"But I believe that if he understood what I meant he wouldn’t feel the same way." Immediately assuming that the only reason I draw the conclusions I draw is because of ignorance is, to me, the apotheosis of prideful and dismissive. I disagree with you, but I'd never conclude that the reason I disagree with you is because you don't know what you're talking about and if you simply did more research or had a better education you'd see the light. I genuinely think you've reached your beliefs after years of thoughtful study in good faith. I ask only that you give me the same benefit of the doubt.
There are many possible reasons why you might not understand me. Chief among them is that I didn’t explain myself very well. And I didn’t explain myself very well. Despite many hours of thinking, writing, and rewriting, I could never get it to where it was really as clear and concise as I would like. I don’t criticize or blame anyone for not understanding that first post.

Another reason might be that you did not understand me because you chose not to understand me. Or you might not have understood me because you don’t respect me or like me. Perhaps you try to fit my comments to a preconceived notion of me. Or perhaps you have developed a habit of always finding the worst possible interpretation of what I said in order to have something to beat me over the head with.

I did leave it ambiguous as to why there was “merely a misunderstanding of what I meant.” The truth is I wasn’t really sure why there was this misunderstanding, or in other words why you didn’t understand me. I was pretty sure it was partly my fault, but I also felt that I may not be entirely to blame.

I never assumed ignorance on your part. Your statement “Immediately assuming that the only reason I draw the conclusions I draw is because of ignorance” is false. It wasn’t an explanation I had even thought of. I agree, if I had made such an assumption it would make me look very bad. Of all the explanations of why you didn’t understand me the one you came up with is the one that reflects most poorly on me.

So here is the question I would really like to have you answer. Why did you pick the explanation that puts me in the worst light? Bonus question, why do you do this time after time?

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by Whistler » Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:08 pm


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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by mic0 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 2:53 pm

Whistler :D :D

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by vorpal blade » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:47 am

Man with a Mustache wrote:On the points of doctrine that you mention (that of eternity and the nature of life within eternity), it is perfectly understandable that a faithful member of the Church who has read the revealed doctrine on the matter might still question the beginning. While by definition eternity has no beginning, everything we as humans know has a beginning and it strains earthly understanding to picture infinity even as an abstract idea let alone as it applies to something as meaningful to us as our own lives. Why not question? Why not look for answers there? Just because someone uttered the phrase, "Life is infinite" does not invalidate my search for meaning and answers..
Again, asking questions is encouraged. The church validates your search for meaning and answers. My question is, what is the faithful members question regarding the beginning? Is the question, “Did I have a beginning, did life have a beginning, was I created, or could I have been created?” If these are the questions then we have much more of an answer than that someone just uttered the phrase “Life is infinite.”[/quote]The answer is given in the scriptures. “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:29). That is a very bold doctrine not taught in other Christian churches. This scripture has been cited over 25 times in General Conference over the years. I believe the last time was in the October 2016 Conference when Elder Uchtdorf said “Brothers and sisters, we are eternal beings, without beginning and without end. We have always existed.1 [See  Doctrine and Covenants 93:29]”

Joseph Smith was the first in this dispensation to teach this doctrine. From the Chapter 17: The Great Plan of Salvation,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2011) 206-16.

In April 1844, the Prophet taught: “I have another subject to dwell upon, which is calculated to exalt man. … It is associated with the subject of the resurrection of the dead,—namely, the soul—the mind of man—the immortal spirit. Where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine; I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world; for God has told me so; and if you don’t believe me, it will not make the truth without effect. …
“I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it has a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits. …
“… I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man—the immortal part, because it had no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning, it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself
“Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.

There is an LDS hymn that talks about the doctrine. “If you could hie to Kolob.” I like the words in the first verse, “Do you think that you could ever, through all eternity, find out the generation where Gods began to be?”

It is hard to grasp the concept that we never had a beginning. What I find difficult is explaining how the doctrine of “no beginning to life” answers the questions “Why life?”, and “What is the purpose eternal life?”

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Re: What is the purpose of life? #91071

Post by Digit » Thu May 03, 2018 5:14 am

Many physicists refer to the Big Bang as a singularity, that the very notion of time began at the Big Bang, while the Big Bang itself is not a part of the universe. In other words, if there were a "clock of the Universe," the starting time would be a finite time ago, and you could get arbitrarily close to 00.00, but you couldn't in the Universe wind it back all the way to exactly 00.00.

Kind of like if you were standing on the graph of the function 1/x at about fifteen billion. The number zero on the x-axis is a finite distance away (fifteen billion steps), and you can walk on the function line as close as you want to the y-axis (where x is zero), but, while staying on the function line, you can never ever reach the y-axis.

http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singularity_(mathematics)
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