Lives of Quiet Desperation

Henry-David-ThoreauMy father, on more than one occasion, has referenced this quotation in various discussions on purpose and meaning: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation“. I’ve been thinking about that lately. So, I Googled the phrase this evening and came across this enlightening write up, entitled Quiet Desperation, on the words, the man behind them, and where those thoughts can lead, either for good or for ill. Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste,

One night very early on in a life, a young boy lay back on the rocky New England soil, contemplating the heavens,  “looking through the stars to see if I could see God behind them.” This quest became one of the primary motivators of his life — one might say he never stopped looking into nature for the ultimate truth.

But what did Henry David Thoreau mean by his famous observation, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”?

You may have seen those Facebook/Twitter/Instagram memes, the ones that say something to the effect of “Everyone you meet is battling inner demons that you known nothing about.” It’s so true. As much as we want to be open and free with our feelings and emotions with friends and family there are some things too deep, too subtle, too sensitive, to speak openly about. I think of the late Robin Williams. A man of laughter but a man of surprising inner turmoil to the point of ultimate desperation. If you don’t have a friend you can talk to, know that you have a friend in Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16,17

Soli Deo gloria

On Purpose

The following After Eden comic, for biblical creation ministry Answers in Genesis, was published on Saturday, October 19, 2012,

And the following is my comment on their Facebook post of the same comic identifying what I felt made this comic much better than it at first appears,

This question is actually better than it at first appears. Atheists will immediately respond that the recognition of their argument would lead to people living their lives as they truly wish, not ‘controlled’ by religion or fear of gods, and religious based conflict would stop. We would finally be ‘free’ to live in peace and we would go from strength to strength unrestrained by ‘artificial’ barriers. Utopia. But they rarely take the next logical outcome of throwing away an ultimate authority and throwing away purpose: there is then no reason to act in any kind of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way, and everyone would do what was right in his own eyes (see the Book of Judges for what happens when this is the case). Neither would we have justification for the government and law which puts restrictions on ‘bad’ behaviour. We can see the beginning of this kind of thinking in the last century with the courts having no real authority to condemn anything, instead relying on causes outside the control of the perpetrator like genetics, or up-brining, or mental illness. They can’t call it morally deviant, there’s no yardstick to do that with anymore. Thus, instead of the atheist’s utopia you actually get something worse. What the atheist can’t see or doesn’t want to see is that their utopian vision is actually dystopian.