Friday, February 17, 2017


Can we thrive in a meaningless, purposeless world that cares nothing for us? Atheist Bertrand Russell believed that humanity could impose their own will and purpose on the purposeless, filling the emptiness with meaning:

  • Undismayed by the empire of chance, [man determines] to preserve a mind free from the wanton tyrant that rules his outward life; proudly defiant of the irresistible forces... [He determines] to sustain alone... the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious power. (A Free Man’s Worship)

However, there are dreams that will not take wing no matter how confident we might be about them. Years later, Russell confessed that his dreams folded like a rose dropping its dried pedals:

  • I wrote with passion and force because I really thought I had a gospel. Now I am cynical about the gospel because it won’t stand the test of life.

Why did his dream die? It wasn’t able to deliver what humanity requires. But why can’t we simply create our own meaning? Perhaps, it’s like trying to create an imaginary family and mate, which we can enjoy in our minds without the messiness of relationships. And when we get tired of our “wife,” we can simply exchange her for “another” mental construction.

Ludicrous? Of course! However, this is just what we do when we exchange a genuine relationship with God and the meaning that can only come from such a relationship with our own mental creation. Yes, I can be the captain of my own ship, but this ship ultimately will not take me where I need to go.

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