What are Life's 5 Most Consequential Questions?


Ever sat down to do a puzzle? Me either, but say we actually did for a moment. I’m kidding I have done a puzzle before (but I do not intend to expend the effort to complete one again!). Suppose for a moment you were given a puzzle to complete and that you were presented with an incentive motivating enough to tackle it. Now suppose that you were given three thousand pieces but no box top. 

What then?

Well it would be maddeningly frustrating and painstakingly slow to make any progress wouldn’t it. Also, not knowing what you are working on would prevent you from enjoying the confidence that you are at least on the right track in your efforts. 

Sounds draining doesn’t it?

Does life ever feel like being given a puzzle without a box top to you? I know it has for me! How gloriously encouraging it is to discover such a treasure in a world such as ours! I came across this metaphor for achieving coherence and perspective in life through the book I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. I commend it to you to read for yourself as it will enrich and strengthen your faith in a world of prejudiced skepticism. 

Here is a short excerpt from the chapter where I found this metaphor in their book. They introduce the box top metaphor for gaining perspective in life this way:

"The term “university” is… a composite of the words “unity” and “diversity.” When one attends a university, he is supposed to be guided in the quest to find unity in diversity— namely, how all the diverse fields of knowledge (the arts, philosophy, the physical sciences, mathematics, etc.) fit together to provide a unified picture of life. A tall task indeed, but one that the modern university has not only abandoned but reversed. Instead of universities, we now have pluraversities, institutions that deem every viewpoint, no matter how ridiculous, just as valid as any other— that is, except the viewpoint that just one religion or worldview could be true. That’s the one viewpoint considered intolerant and bigoted on most college campuses. 

Despite the denials streaming from our universities, we believe that there is a way to discover unity in diversity. And if one were to discover such unity, it would be like seeing the box top of a jigsaw puzzle. Just as the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle are difficult to put together without the picture on the box top, the many diverse pieces of life make no sense without some kind of unifying big picture. The question is, does anyone have the box top to this puzzle we call life? Many world religions claim that they do. Are any of them correct?

World religions are often attempts to provide a box top that allows you to see how the many pieces of life’s puzzle make a complete, cohesive picture. This picture usually— and for good reason— begins with some sort of claim about God. What someone believes about God affects everything else that he or she believes. When Mortimer Adler was asked why the “God” section was the largest in the Great Books of the Western World series (which he edited), he insightfully observed that it’s because more implications flow from the subject of God than from any other subject. Indeed, the five most consequential questions in life are these: 

1. Origin: Where did we come from? 
2. Identity: Who are we? 
3. Meaning: Why are we here?
4. Morality: How should we live? 
5. Destiny: Where are we going? 

The answers to each of these questions depend on the existence of God. If God exists, then there’s ultimate meaning and purpose to your life. If there’s a real purpose to your life, then there’s a real right and wrong way to live it. Choices you make now not only affect you here but will affect you in eternity. On the other hand, if there is no God, then your life ultimately means nothing. Since there is no enduring purpose to life, there’s no right or wrong way to live it. And it doesn’t matter how you live or what you believe— your destiny is dust. So which world religion, if any, answers the God question correctly? Does any religion provide the true box top for life?” 

You’ll have to get Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek’s book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist to read the rest. This post is just to get you thinking...