Purpose Of Life

Posted: November 22, 2011 in Meaning of Life
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

“If tomorrow is judgment day

And I’m standing on the front line

And the Lord asks me what I did with my life

I will say, I spent it with you”

~Whitney Houston, “My Love Is Your Love” Lyrics

“Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not, why not.” So said Isaiah Berlin. It is an act of prided ignorance not to bother about the purpose of life. How ignorant are those who think life is about hanging out with friends, making babies plus making money. And to enjoy oneself then die. That’s all. Or do they think life is to eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. If Nokia was made by Nokia Manufacturing Company for a specific purpose – for communication – and it comes with a manual, it is only ignorant people who assume God created them for no purpose and without a manual. If the Nokia phone dies, or gets out of supply, the Nokia Company can easily remanufacture the same phone. Smart guys know that the One who created man is able to bring him back after his death. “And it is He (God) who begins creation; then He repeats it (i.e. repeat the creation), and that is [even] easier for Him.” [Q 30:27. Also see Q 86:8]. Immanuel Kant, the German writer and philosopher (1724-1804,) foresees a greater drama-packed Judgment Day as he says:

The drama of this life is not complete; there must be a second scene to it, for we see the tyrant and his victims without seeing justice being executed. We see the conqueror and the subjugated, without the latter finding any revenge. Therefore, there must be another world, where justice will be carried out.[1]

Research In Motion (RIM), is a Canadian wireless device company that is credited for developing blackberry smartphone. Imagine watching an interview in which the CEO of RIM has just been asked the question, “why did you invent blackberry?” I am 100 % confident that whatever response given by the CEO, it won’t include such answers like “I don’t know” or “there is no specific intention for manufacturing such a device, but we are still figuring out what made us develop blackberry.” If that is the case, why do the simpletons keep on saying that God created man for no purpose?

Whether it’s made in Japan, made in China, or made in Kenya, the fact is that we are surrounded by things humans have made with their own hands. The intelligent would ask: Why did man make those things? To the uncomprehending fools, the answer is “pass/ I don’t know” while the extremely smart will say man made things to perform some specific function for us. By illustration he/she will mention that we make houses to serve as a shelter, cup to serve us tea, blow drier for glorifying our hair. Others make weird-looking gadgets to serve them emotionally and otherwise. If we make things to serve us, the brilliant will know that God made us to . . . .

It is the habit of the ignomorus to worship other than the One God. “Say, [O Muhammad], “Is it other than Allah that you order me to worship, O ignorant ones?” And it was already revealed to you and to those before you that if you should associate [anything] with Allah, your work would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers.  Rather, worship [only] Allah and be among the grateful.” [Q 39:64 -66]. Will Moses be provoked to anger when he comes to our modern-day worshipping places and see the varieties of idols? What will Moses say to modern-day worshipers of Idols? God narrates how the Israelites were saved from Pharaoh but along the road, they started to exhibit ignorance. “And We (God) took the Children of Israel (with safety) across the sea; then they came upon a people intent in devotion to [some] idols of theirs. They [the Children of Israel] said, “O Moses, make for us a god just as they have gods.” He said, “Indeed, you are a people behaving ignorantly. Indeed, those [worshippers] – destroyed is that in which they are [engaged], and worthless is whatever they were doing.” [Q 7: 138-139]. The Arab idolaters had 360 Gods, in Hinduism they have 330 million Gods, the Christians have three, ‘covalently’ bonded as one! (Even though simple mathematics tell us that if you place one apple next to two apples it sums up as three apples!). This leads us to wonder, “. . . are many different lords (gods) better or Allâh, the One, the Irresistible?” [Q 12:39]. I am tempted to borrow some few lines from, “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

Now, when Jesus was asked which was the first commandment of all, he answered, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” [Mark 12: 29]. Is it possible that, by choosing the word “one”, Jesus never meant just one but more than one? Suppose Jesus really meant three, why didn’t he bother to interpret it so clearly lest others be confused.  After all, Jesus is so good in parables in that he can just give an analogy of the egg and say, “God is three in one just like the yolk, the white and the shell are three parts of the same egg.” Jesus can also say, “Don’t you think of water! It can exist as liquid, solid, and gas. Confused are those who don’t imagine the three parts of the apple: the skin, the meat, the core, for all the three parts makes one apple!” On a serious note, how can a good teacher like Jesus refuse to elucidate the Trinity doctrine? Jesus taught us how to pray, what to do to enter the kingdom of Heaven, how to . . . I mean he taught his disciples many things but why on earth didn’t he teach the nature of God? Or maybe he taught the concept of Trinity in secrecy! But this contradicts his principle of transparency: “Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.” [John 18:20]

Indeed, many are unaware and will even be shocked of the existence of the following statement in Encyclopedia Britannica:

Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema (The Judaic profession of Monotheism) in the Old Testament: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The earliest Christians, however, had to cope with the implications of the coming of Jesus Christ and of the presumed presence and power of God among them . . . .[2]

Let us analyze what Tom Harpur concludes about Christianity and Trinity. By the way, Tom Harpur is Canada’s renowned spiritual author, journalist, and TV host who is also listed in U.S. Who’s Who in Religion, Canadian Who’s Who, and the most recent edition of Men of Achievement, (Cambridge, England). It was said of him that: “If Harpur’s research and reasoning was the stuff of which sermons were made . . .  churches wouldn’t be empty.” In his best-selling book, For Christ’s Sake, Harpur writes:

What is most embarrassing for the church is the difficulty of proving any of these statements of dogma from the New Testament documents. You simply cannot find the doctrine of the Trinity set out anywhere in the Bible. St. Paul has the highest view of Jesus’ role and person, but nowhere does he call him God. Nor does Jesus himself anywhere explicitly claim to be the second person in the Trinity, wholly equal to his heavenly Father. As a pious Jew, he would have been shocked and offended by such an Idea. Over the last decade or so, I have talked as long and as frequently as possible about these particular doctrines with intelligent lay people and clergy of all denominations , and I have found widespread confusion – in itself bad enough. But there is worse to come. This research has lead me to believe that the great majority of regular churchgoers are, for all practical purposes, tritheists. That is, they profess to believe in one God, but in reality they worship three . . . .[3]

According to a 2002 survey conducted in Britain by Christian Research, a quarter of Anglican priests stated that they did not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity.[4]And according to Pastor G. Reckart and David Olsen, “The Trinity Doctrine is one of greatest lies in the world today. Its roots can be clearly traced back to Babylonian mysticism, the teachings of nimrod, even into Jewish kabbalism itself!”[5] Sometimes we wonder what do people really understand when they read texts. Because Harper’s Bible Dictionary clearly states that “The formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the NT.”[6] And the New Catholic Encyclopedia says that Trinity is a “. . . product of 3 centuries of doctrinal development . . . .”[7]  These are references written by their Christian scholars yet the laity persists in believing in the Trinity. Well, this is indeed embarrassing to the brain.

Jesus once talked to a woman saying, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father. . . .” [John 4:21] and he did not include the Son and the Holy Spirit. In John 4:23 Jesus said “. . .the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.” Sincerely speaking, these verses show that worship must only be directed to what they call the Father and neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit. Even after reading Isaiah 45:14:“God is with you alone, and there is no other; there is no god besides him” still some think there is one God surrounded by two other Gods! I mean even after reading verse number 18 of the same chapter where God clears the confusion by saying “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” Still some think there are two more others? This must be a mathematical miracle.

Those who fear ignorance more than they fear death and those who don’t lack the most common of senses would wonder, “If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allah, there would have been confusion in both! but glory to Allah, the Lord of the Throne: (High is He) above what they attribute to Him!” [Q 21:22] and “. . . (if there had been many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have tried to overcome others! Glorified be Allâh above all that they attribute to Him!” [Q 23:91] “They have no knowledge— those who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save.” [Isaiah 45:20]. What do you think will happen if you are caught by your jealous wife, kissing another woman? And assuming that this short-tempered, easily-pissed wife of yours is carrying a gun! And people don’t even care when the Bible states: “for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” [Exodus 34:14] According to the book of Hosea, the reason why Israel was destroyed is because the people of Israel had started worshipping Baal, a god of the Canaanites. “Going after other gods, for Hosea, is like a woman going after other lovers, leaving her husband behind.”[8] If that is the case, then what will be the fate of Christians who, in the analysis of Tom Harpur, “. . . profess to believe in one God, but in reality they worship three. . . .”? And you may want to imagine what a husband would do if he discovers that his wife is having a love-affair with two other men!

Others claim that God-son (Jesus) died! There is a bigger fear than terrorism, a greater danger than global warming in that anyone with a strong intellectual capacity would declare that the world is at peril shall the other Gods (God-Father and The Holy Spirit) decide to commit suicide. If a God-Son can decide to die, why can’t the rest hang themselves? Such “God’s” can do anything. Ignorance kills and knowledge saves lives. This reminds me of a story we were told when I was young. There was a guy called Abunuwas. He went to his neighbor to borrow a cooking pot and the neighbor lent him. After some few weeks, Abunuwas returned the cooking pot to the owner. To the surprise of the owner, there was another smaller cooking pot inside the one Abunuwas brought. “Why are you returning two pots yet I gave you only one?” the owner asked. “Oohh, I forgot to tell you,” responded Abunuwas, “During the period I had your cooking pot, it one day gave birth to the smaller one so I decided, with all fairness and honesty, to return both the mother and the baby.” The neighbor was delighted to hear that his cooking pot gave birth to another pot while in the custody of this ‘stupid’ man! Abunuwas went back home. Another day, Abunuwas came to his neighbor to borrow the cooking pot again. Hurriedly, the neighbor handed the pot to him, hoping that maybe it will give birth to twins. But this time Abunuwas stayed for long and did not return. The neighbor got worried and decided to go to inquire from Abunuwas. “Why haven’t you returned my pot Abunuwas”, he asked. Abunuwas started to cry. And he continued crying. Until the neighbor felt sorry for him and asked what had happened. In a sad sob, Abunuwas replied, “I have bad news, I am bereaved. The cooking pot you gave me, it died!” Abunuwas told him to accept the decree of God and forget about the dead pot that has already been buried. “No way, how can a cooking pot die?” the neighbor furiously asked. “The same way…” Abunuwas said, “the cooking pot gave birth, its time of death has also reached. There is nothing I can do about it”

So if the Christian God can have a son, he can one day die as well. I don’t know what will happen if this Christian God dies before we die! Muslims say it is outside the parameters of ‘Godship’ to do un-Godly things. God can do anything save absurdities (like God becoming a man or God dying or God splitting Himself into three Gods, or God begetting a son without a wife, or God creating a stone heavy for him to lift!). The way we can’t say Brother John gave birth to baby girl the same it is illogical to say God became a man or died. To say that God became a man or has splitted Himself into three is as saying God is not really God. Prophet Muhammad taught Muslims whenever they leave their houses to supplicate to God saying: “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from misleading or being misled or oppressing or being oppressed or from being ignorant or bearing the result of ignorance[9]Woe to those who don’t seek refuge from ignorance.

In a 1999 article of the Daily Express which predicted the leading trends which would be visible in the new millennium, A.N. Wilson, the best-selling biographer of Jesus, acknowledges the simplicity of Islamic creeds (including the strict monotheism of the Muslim God), devoid of incomprehensible mythologies. Such simplicity would be responsible of attracting many to Islam:

Islam is a moral and intellectual acknowledgement of the lordship of God without the encumbrance of Christian mythological baggage in which almost no one really believes.  That is why Christianity will decline in the next millennium, and the religious hunger of the human heart will be answered by the Crescent, not the Cross.[10]

Abraham was a friend of God and at no time did the friend of God acknowledge ‘three-in-one’ Deity. Abraham worshipped one God. If we want to imitate the behavior of the winners such as Abraham, then we should shun Trinity Doctrine and we would surely become friends of God. Okey. I think any human being reading this book should have known the purpose of life.* To avoid taking things for granted, I will let William Ellery Channing, an American moralist, clergyman and author (1780-1842) tell us the purpose of life. He summons:

We do, then, with all earnestness, though without reproaching our brethren, protest against the irrational and unscriptural doctrine of the Trinity. “To us,” as to the Apostle and the primitive Christians, “there is one God, even the Father.” With Jesus, we worship the Father, as the only living and true God. We are astonished, that any man can read the New Testament, and avoid the conviction, that the Father alone is God.[11]

Even Satan was reminded by Jesus about the purpose of life:  “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”[Matthew 4:10]. If we fast-forward to the Day of Resurrection, we would still find Jesus reiterating the purpose of life. The Qur’an brings that episode:

And [beware the Day, i.e. the Day of Resurrection] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?’ “He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. If You should punish them – indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them – indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. [Q 5:116-118]

In simple terms, worship means abiding by the do’s and don’ts of God. Worship can as well be defined as obedience to God by following that which He ordered in His scripture and upon the tongues or example of His Messengers. Maybe a good definition of worship is in the Biblical verse, “For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” [I John 5:3] Ibn Taymiyah, a great scholar defines worship as “a comprehensive term covering everything that God loves and is pleased with – whether sayings or actions, outward or inward.”[12]In this line, Muslims believe that even making love to your wife is an act of Worship because such an act pleases God.[13]In contrary, to have sex with other than your wife is not an act of worship. Also working in the way God desires (i.e by not engaging in interest, bribery, cheating e.t.c.) is worship. Being kind to your parents is worship because God instructs you to “. . . be dutiful to your parents. . . .” [Q 17:23]

We should remember that when God says “do this” then that thing has numerous benefits to man and when He says “don’t do this” it’s because the prohibited thing is harmful to man. For example, God says don’t take alcohol. Why? Because “. . . their sin is greater than their benefit. . . .” [Q2:219] and if its benefit isn’t outweighed by its harm why would they mandate health warning in alcohol ads. When we read the command of Allah, “Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine. . . .” [Q 5:3] we may want to ask: Did Allah prohibit pork because it contains large amounts of cholesterol and lipids thus responsible for obesity, hypertension and heart attack?; or the prohibition was due to the fact that pig is known to harbour parasites as well as bacteria and viruses . . . that means pigs are a breeding ground for influenza and habours parasites like Taenia solium, Trichinella, Taenia Trichuriasis?; or did Allah outlaw pork because pig consumes its own excrement even if it is bred in very clean and hygienic conditions?; or maybe because of its anatomy for the pig cannot be slaughtered at the neck because it does not have a neck? Muslim scholars assert that God’s commandments entail something good He wants us to acquire or something bad He wants us to stay away from.

What was my point? Oh yes, I wanted to say that worship is a broad concept which encompasses almost all activities of man. In Islam, worship is not restricted only to mosques, fasting the month of Ramadhan, hajj, charity, sacrifices, e.t.c. To smile can as well be worship. And when we say the purpose of life is to worship God, it doesn’t mean that we should abstain from the pleasures of the world. God Himself says in the Qur’an “. . . and forget not your portion of legal enjoyment in this world . . . .” [Q28:77] He also said “So eat of the lawful and good food which Allâh has provided for you. . . .” [Q 16:114] Muslims have the conviction that Muhammad is number one worshipper on earth. However, it is interesting to note that the best of worshippers (i.e. Muhammad) also said “What I like (most) of your world is three things: women, perfume and prayer, which is the dearest thing to my eye.”[14]

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

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REFERRENCES:


[1]. Al-Qarni, Aaidh ibn Abdullah. Don’t be Sad. 2nd ed.  Riyadh, International Islamic Publishing House, 2005. P.143.

[2]. The New Encyclopedia Britannica. Vol. II. 15th ed. 2002. p 928. And according to the Dictionary of the Bible: “The Trinity of God is defined by the Church as the belief that in God are three persons who subsist in one nature. The belief as so defined was reached only in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and hence is not explicitly and formally a biblical belief.” [See McKenzie, J.L Dictionary of the Bible. 1995. p. 899]. For more evidences on the falsity of Trinity please see: The Encyclopedia Americana.1956. Vol. XXVII, p. 294L; Legasse, P. The Columbia Encyclopedia. 2000. p. 2885; The New Catholic Encyclopedia. 1967. Vol. XIV. p. 295 & 299; Hastings, J. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. 1951. Vol. XII. p. 458; Henderson, I. Encyclopedia International. 1969. p. 226; Douglas, J.D. The New Bible Dictionary. 1962. p. 1298; Brown, Colin. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 1932. Vol. 2 p. 84; Metzger, B.M & Coogan, M.D. The Oxford Companion to the Bible. 1993.p.782.

[3]. Harpur, Tom. For Christ’s Sake. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1986. p.7.

[4]. Petre, Jonathan. “One third of clergy do not believe in the Resurrection.”Daily Telegraph 31 July 2002.

[5]. Pastor G. Reckart & David Olsen. “Examining the Trinity: Unmasking the Roots of the Trinity Doctrine.” apostolics.net <http://www.apostolics.net/notrinity.html&gt; Last retrieved 25 April. 2009.

[6]. Achtemeier, Paul J. (General Editor). Harper’s Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper and Row, 1985. p. 1099.

[7]. New Catholic Encyclopedia. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America, 1967. Vol. 14. p. 295.

[8]. Ehrman, Bart D. God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question—Why We Suffer. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2008.p.44.

[9]. Tirmidhi 3427 and was authenticated by Sheikh Albany in Tirmidhi 2725 and in Ibn Maajah 3774.

[10]. Wilson, A.N.  “The Dying Mythology of Christ.” Daily Express 21 Nov. 1999. Also see Wilson, A.N. “The Poisoned Chalice.” Guardian 25 Nov. 2000.

* For those who want more convincing arguments on our purpose of life are kindly invited to read a short article entitled the “The Big Questions.” written by Dr. Laurence B.  Brown, MD. The article is freely available in many internet sites. For easy access, just visit Dr. Brown’s website: <www.leveltruth.org> and go to articles section to pick the “The Big Questions” article.

[11]. “Unitarian Christianity” Sermon given by William Ellery Channing. It was delivered at the Ordination of Rev. Jared Sparks in The First Independent Church of Baltimore on 5 May 1819. See, <http://www.channingmc.org/channingspeech.html&gt;

[12]. See Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa 10/149.

[13]. Muslim Bk. 5, No. 2198.

[14]. Al-Nasa’i and Ahmad

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