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Reason Driven Life

March 30, 2011

I have just begun reading The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? by Robert M. Price. If you don’t know Robert Price, he’s not only an excellent editor of Lovecraftian fiction but a PhD in theology and has served as a professor of theology and biblical criticism, a fundamentalist minister and (now) an outspoken voice for atheism and reason. This book is not a refutation of Rick Warren’s stale and uninspiring The Purpose Driven Life, but also an excellent guide to living your life through the powers of human reason.

The first chapter, It Is About You, begins with a quote from Protagoras: “Man is the measure of all things: of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they are not.” It is about the quest for a blueprint or guide to living life, and about how ridiculous and unsatisfying (as well as ultimately how futile) it is to accept a lifepath based on what is handed to you by someone claiming authority rather than finding your own way based on your own individual nature, needs and talents.

The chapter (like the subsequent ones) ends with a small summary in three parts:

  • Point to Ponder: It IsAll About MeIf your life isn’t about you, who is it about? Of course our lives have meaning. They have the exact meaning we give them. There is no one size fits all guide that gives the same exact meaning to the lives of all people.
  • Quote to Remember: “If you will not know yourself, you are in poverty; indeed, you are poverty.” (The Gospel according to Thomas, saying 3)This hearkens back to the inscription written above the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi, home to the Delphic Oracle, “Know yourself (gnothi seauton).” All true wisdom begins with understanding of our own selves. This is as clear today as it was in the ancient world.
  • Question to Consider: Why can’t I get it through my head that a religious self-help program, even one that quotes some Bible verses, is just as subjective and debatable as a secular one?This is the most important part of the chapter. Those who base their lives on the Bible and expect everyone else to do the same are making unsubstantiated appeals to infallible authority. Since there is no evidence for the infallibility of the source, the authority itself is questionable. All self-help programs, including The Reason Driven Life, are subjective. Each person must decide for his or herself exactly what value it may hold for his or her own life. The insistence that there is only one possible way to live your life is based on childish obstinence and naivite.

The opinions expressed underneath each of these points is entirely my own analysis and opinion; it doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of the author.

I plan to read one chapter of The Reason Driven Life every few days and post my thoughts on it.

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