Archive for May 2010

The Purpose of life Part 1

The Purpose of life

by

Jose de Carvalho

 

The meaning of life is a philosophical old age question and I don’t know if I can add anything to the discussion that has not already been theorized by some great minds. Ancient records provide evidence of the debate; Greek philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Hellenist schools of philosophy have pondered the purpose of our existence. Several religious perspectives have played a significant role in how humanity perceives the subject: Western, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and far Eastern. The 20th century has seen radical changes to the concepts due to scientific and medical advancements, thus giving new meaning to the concept of beginnings of the human race, leading to so many revaluating human existences in biological terms. Modern existentialism is asking the question differently, ‘each one creates the meaning of his life.’ One should be set free from the question (what is the purpose of life) as it gives rise to anxiety and dread. In a previous post in the series, I presented Victor Frankl’s work on ‘Man’s search for meaning’.  He said that from a humanistic-psychotherapeutic point of view the question could also be reinterpreted to “what is the meaning of my life?” which translates as one ceasing to reflect when one is engaged in life, then the question should be “what is blocking my ability to enjoy life” this brings therapeutic value.

 Philosophy, science, medicine – all concepts that add value to the question, but what about theology?

All the religions provide concepts to the ‘meaning of life.’ At this junction it is important to state that I am a Christian; therefore I will provide ‘what adds meaning to my life’ from that perspective. In adding value to the concept, religions have received much criticism from sceptics who will not accept anything without empirical evidence to justify their lack of belief and are not able to make a leap of faith. Perhaps what I can add to the discussion is that the leap of faith that is required to accept Christianity’s position is not as daunting as one thinks! First of all, if humanity accepts that there is a God and that faith itself is a gift from God to the serious enquirer, then all that is required is that humanity stops trying to depend on themselves and take the leap of faith into the arms of a loving God. Secondly, the fact that I am a disciple of Christ is not based on Biblical accounts only, but on records of fact that are chronicled in Roman, Christian, Jewish, Hellenist and Greek records. The birth of Jesus, His life, sacrificial crucifixion and resurrection have been witnessed by many and are well attested, not requiring just the Bible to substantiate it and therefore not as absurd as many uninformed may think or at least not as absurd as to think that we live this life without purpose and then we die.

So God made me to know Him, love Him, bring glory to Him, serve Him and others.  My life is about that and the pursuit of becoming more like Him in this life time, until I meet with Him in the after life – “this adds meaning to my life”.

If any of this is interesting or enriches you, stay connected and travel with me as we migrate in this pilgrimage of life finding ‘what adds meaning to our lives’.

His life’s Pilgrimage

His life’s Pilgrimage

“Jesus the man behind the myth”

By

Jose de Carvalho

I was watching a program, “Jesus, the Man behind the Myth”, as part of History World on the History Channel. It made several comments that I found interesting and the narrator, a Biblical historian, posed some real questions about Jesus’ childhood and formative years to which there is very little information available, even in the Bible. This does not make it secretive or mystical.  There is good reason for he had no followers at the time, so there was no one scribing His life, like the apostles did during His ministerial time.

The narrator’s questions surrounded the nativity. An expert on Biblical history was questioned on his opinion pertaining to facts surrounding the nativity of Jesus, to which he replied it is a parable and not a historical fact, a bizarre statement as this is an historical attested fact, unless he meant certain aspects of the nativity, so lets break it down. He also challenged the birthplace of Jesus not being Nazareth on the bases that according to the Bible Joseph had to go to Nazareth for a census. He disputes this – not on the basis that it did not happen, but on the fact that Joseph and Mary did not have to go to Bethlehem from Nazareth due to a census being taken by the Romans, as it was Joseph’s hometown (Luke 2:1-20). He commented that the Romans would never issue such an order, as it would disrupt the economy too much.

Not a bad assumption if not for the fact that Judea at the time was still a kingdom and not yet a Roman province.  The census was not taken according to Roman’s rules, but after the Jewish method, which required each to return to his ancestral seat and present themselves in person.

For the spiritually discerned there is the other most important reason; the souverenty of God, the life of Christ was predicted hundreds of years before, not only His birth, but also His death.  Jesus being born in Bethlehem was just another fulfilment of the prophecy (Micah 5:2) and it really is quite awesome how accurate that prophecy was. These detailed accurate prophecies (and there were many by different prophets) serve to confirm that Jesus truly was the Christ/Messiah and this adds meaning to our lives.

 There were other statements made that I would like to comment on next time.

If any of this is interesting or enriches you, stay connected and travel with me as we migrate in this pilgrimage of life finding ‘what adds meaning to our lives’.

Works cited

Howitt 1998.The Word and Works of the Lord Jesus Christ.Johannesburg, South Africa: SATS Press.

Hayford JW 1991. Spirit filled Life Bible: New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

A Pilgrimage that adds meaning to life

A Pilgrimage that adds meaning to life

By

Jose de Carvalho

 

 As promised in my previous post I would comment on the ten plagues of Egypt before the Exodus event, more specifically the television programme which claimed that they were natural phenomena and not orchestrated by God – these are my thoughts:

It is true the plagues were natural phenomena that could have occurred naturally. Since all the plagues are common to that area, they themselves are not miraculous.  The miracle is how the phenomena is multiplied, all manifesting in that one season, with the exact prediction of their beginning and end and their limitation to just the land of Egypt.

 The 10 plagues

1 Waters in the river turned to blood – challenge to Osiris, the river god of Egypt

2 Frogs in the land – associated with the goddess Yeqt, the frog god of Egypt

3 Lice, mosquito’s, gnats

4 Flies

5 Live stock diseases – Hathor, the mother goddess of Egypt, the cattle god

6 Boils – a sign of a curse for disobedience from God

7 Hailstorm – destroyed crops, challenge to Isis, matron of nature and Seth, the of Egypt god of the desert and storms

8 Locusts finished what was left of the crops – a further attack on Isis and Seth

9 Darkness – a demonstration of Gods power over the son, the most potent symbol in Egypt and a direct attack on the Pharaoh himself, since he was considered to be the incarnation of Amun-ra the sun god of Egypt.

10 Death of the first-born – affecting the Pharaoh himself and finally capitulating and letting the Israelites go.

Paraphrased from Barker and Schultz (1988:739-740)

The miraculous plagues showed that God is supreme

as each of them was a direct challenge to one of the gods in Egypt. At each plague God demonstrates that the Egyptian gods specially Amun-ra, the  “Lord of truth, father of the gods, maker of men, creator of all animals, Lord of things that are” are powerless, as He is the creator and thus has power over all created things.

 If any of this enriches you, stay connected and travel with me as we migrate in this pilgrimage of finding ‘what adds meaning to our lives’.

 works cited

 

Barker and Schultz 1988. in Elwell WA and Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House

Hayford JW 1991. Spirit filled Life Bible: New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.