Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Purpose-Driven Life

Jon Meacham and Rick Warren were Tim Russert’s guests on yesterday’s Meet The Press. During the five minutes or so I watched, Warren said he is pro-life because there is no such thing as accidental children. Warren said that God plans your life even before you are born. Abortion, he said, short-circuits that plan.

The spiritual premise in The Purpose-Driven Life is that there are no accidents---God planned everything and everyone. Therefore, every human has a divine purpose, according to God's master plan.”

The 1008 reviews on Amazon confirm the popularity of Warren’s book.

Warren and his acolytes are obviously unaware of the inherent contradiction of Warren’s philosophical premise as well as its implications. If we are all part of God’s plan, then everything is predestined. So, isn't a woman simply carrying out part of God's plan by aborting her fetus? God evidently wants some fetuses to come to term but not others.

Predestination implies that free will doesn't exist. We may think we are acting because we want to, but we are merely acting out the great puppet master's script. Does Warren or his followers even recognize this? Evidently not. If you follow predestination to its logical conclusion, then you have the perfect, all-purpose rationale for any action. There is no good or evil, good or bad. God, not you, already decided what you will do. There is only God's plan, and he indeed works in mysterious ways. Adolf Hitler and 60 million Germans were only carrying out God's plan, right?

I'm no longer surprised at the popularity of this kind of oxymoronic twaddle. If you subject it to even a cursory examination, it makes no sense. But on a quick pass, I suppose it comforts millions of people to believe that whatever happens to them is part of a grand design that is beyond their control. It is particularly attractive to people who have suffered great misfortune in their lives or whose entire existence is unfortunate because they were born at the bottom of the social heap.

The philosophical antithesis to Warren is the libertarian's core belief that you are responsible for everything that befalls you. That's also twaddle. Not surprisingly, it has a much smaller number of believers than Warren's because it is a profoundly discomforting belief. If your life is a failure or things in it keep going wrong, not only do you have to suffer the immediate, unpleasant consequences of such events, but you also crucify yourself with guilt because you're convinced that if only you had done things differently and should have known better, you could be having a good time instead of being licked by the flames of the secular, earthly hell you are trapped in.

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