Why Are We Here?

Why Are We Here

A disenchanted agnostic friend recently asked, “What is the purpose of life? Why don’t religions tell us?”

I responded, “Jesus and others in the Bible do, in fact, tell us the purpose of life. It’s to know and love our Creator (John 3:16, John 17:3, Romans 8:28).

“OK,” he replied, “but why does our creator need us to focus on him all the time? How can that be our only purpose? Shouldn’t we each try to discover our own path, instead of simply staying true to him?”

“First of all, it’s important to not think of him* as human,” I replied, “or even as superhuman. God is not some imperfect-but-all-powerful being who egocentrically demands our attention. He doesn’t need us, we need him. Why? Because he is the source of all truth, wisdom and love. He is, in fact, love itself in its purest form (1 John 4:7-11). All other loves are merely an echo of his.

Therefore, to know and love God is to know why we are here (John 17:3). And “staying true to him” is no more limiting than a fish “staying true to water.” It was made for water—outside the water it perishes. As C.S. Lewis put it, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.”

A dating service once prepared a personality profile for me. Noting my answers, they informed that me I was “religious” and would, therefore, enjoy a partner who, “like you, believes what she was raised to believe, and doesn’t question it.” I informed them that:

  1. I was raised an atheist
  2. I’m actually quite anti-“religious,” preferring to love God instead of religion
  3. I would rather read a good book—or even a bad one—than date a woman who “doesn’t question” her beliefs

The 17th century term “Freethinker” has made a comeback of late. But while the label had real meaning back when state churches told people what to believe, the opposite seems to be true now. Amid the increasing silencing and widespread ridiculing of faith in modern society, one of the most freethinking things a person can do is “rebel” and look into the claims of Jesus.

I’m so glad I became a freethinker (and married one). Result? I thank God every day that,

I know why I’m here.

*Technically God isn’t a “him.” But the English language doesn’t provide a suitable singular, non-gender term for us to use (“it” implies an object or non-sentient being).

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Why Are We Here?

  1. Dora says:

    Hope he heard the ring of truth in your answers, by God’s grace.

    Funny how rigidly conventional people are who fancy themselves “freethinkers.” The falsehoods they unthinkingly swallow wholesale stop their ears and blind their vision. Finally only the truth, God’s truth, can sets men & women free.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There are two trillion galaxies out there. And each galaxy has one hundred thousand million stars. And God is larger than all of it. He made it all. He permeates the universe with love and life while Satan permeates the parts of the universe he can get to with hatred, indifference, and spiritual death. God says, “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy ladened and I will give you rest. Take MY yoke [of love and life] upon you, for it is light and it is easy.” May our love permeate everyone around us. It’s a busy life. It’s a good life.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. pkadams says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Skies and Green Pastures and commented:
    As usual Mitch has some wise and encouraging words at just the right time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gersom Clark says:

    Humble response and effective, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great thoughts and conversation. I liked it a lot

    I love conversations like that when God provides them

    one thing … you closed with “technically God isn’t a him”. I would respectfully disagree with this caveat … I would Agree that God the Father isn’t a “man” or a “woman” … but he IS Father, because that is the WAY he has chosen to reveal himself, and it reflects when he provides for us, especially in his season of revelations. I once had a woman ask me, “I know God is “male” because he is “Father”, and Jesus is “male” because he is “son”, but could the Holy Spirit be a “woman”. To which I replied “No.” She asked “why?” My response was simple, 1) God is Spirit, and so outside of Christ who is both human and divine the 1st and 3rd persons of the trinity are spirit, so not truly male or female as we understand. HOWEVER, I told her, in John 14 and 16 when Jesus promised the send the Holy Spirit, Jesus repeated referred to the Spirit as “HE” or “Him”, and if Jesus refers to him in a male revelation, then I will stick with Jesus. “What’s good enough for Jesus, is good enough for me.” She looked at me and said “thanks that’s good enough for me too.” 🙂
    Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Great conversation starter! Of course, I know you’re aware of those Bible passages in which God’s Spirit is described in subtly feminine terms, notably the Hebrew phrasing use in Genesis 1:2. These have led many to point out the fundamental “female” side of God’s character–not instead of but alongside his “male” characteristics. So certainly another response might be that both male and female traits are found in God’s character. And indeed I believe they are.

      Liked by 2 people

    • numrhood says:

      as of john 39 and 41 we say fear not for you will fall unto the mountains

      Like

  6. Amen Mitch! Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. numrhood says:

    romans 33:53 call unto thee & bless be the nations

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m glad you were able to respond to that dating service. (How insulting…) I HATE it when people make assumptions about me, and it really, really bothers me when there’s no opportunity to straighten out their assumptions.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. BGCT2VA says:

    “What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other”? – George Eliot

    If we can try to see God in one another, then, when God may seem distant, we can still hold onto our purpose. Even the greatest theologians of all time – and the most sincerely religious amongst us now – question. If we don’t question, we’ll never get an answer.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Erika says:

    I think it truly is essential to know why I am here because it defines the way I live. I have my explanation which gives me a wonderful reason to live and to expand. But your post makes me think and I thought that no matter what I believe, it is part of my purpose in order to fulfill my purpose.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Being a “freethinking” person often gets me into trouble with religious people. I’ve come to realize that in my quest to become everything God has created me to become, I must ask questions. This was a very affirming piece for me and I am grateful to hear this and be reminded of it again. Thank you 🙏🏽

    Liked by 2 people

  12. anitashope says:

    Loved you “First of all” comments.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It’s really encouraging to read your posts. Maybe because I resonate with so much of it 😉 Thanks for crafting and sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Mitch, I so appreciate your patient, kind, yet thorough, honest and heartfelt approach (not always my m.o. unfortunately). I especially liked your #3… someone that doesn’t question their beliefs would seem to be a rather dull life partner. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Another insightful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. …God is not a man, but God is personal…very personal, indeed. And the Lord Jesus was both completely human and completely God in His incarnation. “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” (John 14.9) This continually “knocks my socks off…” Just thinking freely…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m glad you’re still questioning. Life would be so dull otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Andy D. says:

    Love it. It’s amazing that we think that our relationship with God should be less then our relationships with each other. My wife and I always question and explore each other. This is the mystery of loving another. This is why freethinking is a necessary part of being a Christian.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I like to think the purpose of life is to learn HOW to LOVE like God does, like Jesus did. And for human beings it can take a whole lifetime to develop loving spiritual maturity….in the womb of Mother Earth. That’s just the way God designed it; his purpose for creating nature beauty on our planet! Even then, whoever calls out for help, Christ sends back a sacred/Holy spirit to guide them through the journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. K.L. Hale says:

    The C.S. Lewis quote sums it up for me. And this post, in general, seals my beliefs. Thank you for your candidness and willingness to “pick up the cross and follow him.” And to finding your purpose. This post is similar to a conversation shared among our campfire amidst the free thinkers. God bless you and yours. 💚

    Like

  21. Bill Sweeney says:

    “The 17th century term “Freethinker” has made a comeback of late. But while the label had real meaning back when state churches told people what to believe, the opposite seems to be true now. Amid the increasing silencing and widespread ridiculing of faith in modern society, one of the most freethinking things a person can do is “rebel” and look into the claims of Jesus.”
    EXACTLY! I told this to a 20-something recently who thought she was a cutting-edge freethinker. I said that today, followers of Christ are the real rebels. She didn’t understand that her version of free-thinking is now passe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. We are “here” because until we master “here” we can’t move onward to “there.”
    God takes on the “persona” of a father because fathers and heads of households at that time were responsible for the whole family. They made sure their sons, daughters, and in-laws were fed, sheltered and out of debt. They ran the whole family down to 4 generations. They loved their families. God exhibits these traits for all of humanity. He redeemed all of humanity. He loves all humanity and he gives all humanity the opportunity to be well and fed and sheltered through all the world by means of the people he’s appointed to oversee His gifts, namely you and I and all Christ’s followers. He is Father in deeds and philosophy. It is not meant to be gender explicit. He does the things Fathers in the Middle East Hebrew culture did. Jesus managed and taught the “help” namely us. They have equal standing in the Family of God. Sons did that. The spirit plays the part of wisdom dispenser like a Rabbi. The spirit also comforts people like a parent. If women had done all those things at that time in history, then God may have referred to himself as a Woman, but since that wasn’t the case, and because we cannot perceive God on his plane of existence, He had to bring Himself into our realm so we could understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I absolutely LOVE your posts they rock me and excite me and encourage me what a beautiful thing to do. So ROCK ON!

    Liked by 1 person

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