Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

What is the meaning and purpose of life, the universe and everything?

Here’s the lecture:

(37 minutes)

Topic:

Does life have a purpose? If naturalism is true, what is the purpose of life? If Christianity is true, what is the purpose of life?

Dr. Shenvi’s web site is here. Lots of great articles there on every conceivable topic.

Summary:

  • Dr. Shenvi’s brief testimony and background
  • There is no purpose to the universe and us on naturalism
  • The answer to every why-question on naturalism is chance and necessity (laws)
  • Nothing in the universe has intrinsic / objective value
  • There is no hope on naturalism because of the heat death of the universe: everything dies
  • Nothing that humans do, on naturalism, matters in the long run
  • Given sufficient time, the universe will not even know we were here
  • Famous atheists like Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins agree on this

Purpose on naturalism:

  • Purpose response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up purposes
  • The monopoly in a prison illustration

Meaning on naturalism:

  • Meaning response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up meaning
  • The scrabble vs Shakespeare illustration

Value on naturalism:

  • Value response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up values
  • The subjective opinion vs objective truth illustration

Hope on naturalism:

  • Hope response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up hopes
  • The heat death of the universe ensures that all hopes fail on naturalism

If Christianity is true:

  • The universe and human beings have an objective purpose
  • There is a meaning to life that is objective
  • Human beings have intrinsic value, because God made them and values them
  • There is hope because there is an life after death that extends eternally

Conclusion:

  • This lecture does not argue that Christianity is true because it gives us goodies
  • People should become Christians because Christianity is true
  • Christianity is actually quite difficult because it requires self-denial and self-sacrifice
  • What God has done to help us overcome with our rebellion?

Note that these are not arguments for God’s existence, because he covered that in a previous lecture. And this lecture is not about arguing for Christianity, because he covered that in a previous lecture.

Dr. Shenvi is a research scientist in theoretical chemistry. However, this lecture is not only passionate, but snarky and humorous.

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses

  1. Danny Wright says:

    Loved this. Thank you.

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’d been meaning to watch it.

    I also thought you’d like to know that I heard your site getting some word-of-mouth recommendations at last week’s EPS Apologetics Conference. :)

    • I really should have been there to meet everyone! I love those EPS apologetics conferences. Thanks for letting me know. We have 2500+ page views today and it’s only 3:30 PM. Must be some of those new people.

  3. Neil Shenvi says:

    Thanks for the nice write-up! I left out a point I think you would have liked.

    In my first draft, I observed that naturalists often accuse Christians of living in a fantasy world. But, paradoxically, the only way for most naturalists to have joy, hope, courage, and strength is to ignore or hide from reality as they think it actually is. In contrast, the more time a Christian spends thinking about reality as he thinks it actually is, the more joy, hope, courage, and strength he has. So the ‘deluded’ Christians derives joy and strength from embracing and meditating on reality as he thinks it actually is, but the rational naturalist can only derive joy and strength from hiding from and ignoring reality as he thinks it actually is.

    That doesn’t necessarily make Christianity true. But it is an interesting paradox.

    • I think that point is indeed an excellent, aggressive point and I wish you had included that, but I liked when you were talking at length and effectively about how hard it is for humans to love God and to treat him as God. I thought that part was very very practical, and a wake-up call to people who think that Christians believe Christianity in order to be happy.

      See, I just loved this lecture. Pastors aren’t direct like you were, and it just made it awesome to listen to, perfect for college students. I smiled at your when you slipped into the passionate excited tone when discussing theology. That went well.

    • matt from canada says:

      I love this reply. I am saving it and may quote you in my future personal writings :)

    • bbrown1 says:

      Fabulous points. The arguments for naturalism are just so deeply ingrained in our modern psyches and zeitgeist; all our influential institutions (gov’t education, media, entertainment, news, etc.) just assume it unthinkingly. So many contradictions and so much illogic just seems to be far too easily accepted.

      I really appreciate these summaries of talks and would love to see you continue the format. There is not enough time for us who work long days to watch all the great lectures and talks.

      I’m looking forward to checking out Dr. Shenvi’s website.

      Thank you,

      –Wm Francis Brown MD

      Forest, VA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,615,113 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,226 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,226 other followers

%d bloggers like this: