David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Religious Studies 36 (3):293-313 (2000)
In this paper, I explore the traditional religious account of what can make a life meaningful, namely, the view that one's life acquires significance insofar as one fulfils a purpose God has assigned. Call this view ‘purpose theory’. In the literature, there are objections purporting to show that purpose theory entails the logical absurdities that God is not moral, omnipotent, or eternal. I show that there are versions of purpose theory which are not vulnerable to these reductio arguments. However, I then contend that there is a problem facing purpose theory which no version can avoid. I argue that the best reason for holding a God-centred theory of life's meaning logically precludes the possibility of purpose theory being the correct version of it. More specifically, I argue that if a relationship with God is necessary for one's life to acquire meaning, this must be because God would have properties such as atemporality and simplicity, perfections which are incompatible with purposiveness. I conclude that religious thinkers have good reason to develop other theories of the way God could confer meaning on our lives.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
T. J. Mawson (2013). Recent Work on the Meaning of Life and Philosophy of Religion. Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1138-1146.
Similar books and articles
Julian Baggini (2005). What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life. Oxford University Press.
John Kronen & Eric Reitan (2004). Talbott's Universalism, Divine Justice, and the Atonement. Religious Studies 40 (3):249-268.
James Sutherland Thomson (1964). God and His Purpose [the Meaning of Life]. Toronto, United Church Pub. House.
E. D. Klemke (ed.) (2000). The Meaning of Life. Oxford University Press.
Thaddeus Metz (2008). God, Morality and the Meaning of Life. In Samantha Vice & Nafsika Athanassoulis (eds.), The Moral Life. Palgrave Macmillan. 201--227.
Thaddeus Metz (2003). The Immortality Requirement for Life's Meaning. Ratio 16 (2):161–177.
Thaddeus Metz (2007). God's Purpose as Irrelevant to Life's Meaning: Reply to Affolter. Religious Studies 43 (4):457-464.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads103 ( #12,029 of 1,102,060 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #28,748 of 1,102,060 )
How can I increase my downloads?