I did it my way?
Frank Sinatra; arguably one of the greatest crooners of them all, recorded a ballad in the sixties, titled “I did it my way”. This caused many Christians, who have an unwavering belief and commitment to God and “his way, not my way”, to cry foul. How can anyone think that they can live with out God for surely ” If there is no God then life does not have a meaning and if there is no God then everything is permitted”.
However in the real world we can not ignore the achievements of professional scientists. For physicists, biologists, geologists, cosmologists, anthropologists, geneticists, palaeontologists and professionals from other important scientific fields have discovered, over the past two hundred years; millions of interlocking pieces of scientific evidence, that have inadvertently and systematically disassembled the notion, that there is a God needed to explain creation.
Today we know that through the processes of abiogenesis and evolution, life arose, life evolved, and we now have roughly seven billion people and a hundred million (*) different species which form an intricate web of life. If our planet, which is but a tiny spec in an incredibly vast and extremely hostile universe disappeared tomorrow, the universe would not even notice it. So much for the idea that some believers have of our planet, that it is the centre of the universe? Nothing in space would even notice or care if we blew our planet to smithereens in a nuclear holocaust. It would be like throwing a stone into the river. There would be a few ripples and then there would be nothing left of our existence.
Religious extremists speak as if science set out to kill God but of course that is nonsense. Science set out to find answers, and the answer was that there was no God to kill because there was no need for him to exist as the only evidence thought to prove God existed was the creation of all things. Sadly for creationists scientists have proved that a supernatural God is not required to explain creation, as there are perfectly natural explanations that are easy to understand if one is not handicapped by observing the evidence with “God tinted glasses” that tend to obscure all things that are contrary to the Bible. In other words; scientific evidence contrary to the Bible is rejected, not because it is wrong, but because it is not scriptural. It is ignored solely on religious and not scientific grounds by delusional God fearing literalists and creationists.
Yet when this impasse is reached between creationists and evolutionists in the “God debates” and they are stumped the “If there is no God then life does not have a meaning and if there is no God then everything is permitted” trump card is played. This is thought by them to be the ultimate defence and is used just like shallow people of darker pigmentation play the race card. Exasperated believers, usually with a smirk on their face, throw it onto the table as if that is the end of the debate, while at the same time vaguely remembering that Jesus said “do not cast your pearl before swine” and “wipe the dust off your feet if they do not want to believe that Jesus is the Son of God”.
It would be easy to say that our lives have no meaning. But this is untrue. The unique thing about humans is that humans are conscious, intelligent, thinking beings. Humans create meaning. It is the most important thing that we do. Yes we create tools. Yes, we gather knowledge. Yes, we do maths and music and so on. We are called Homo sapiens - the wise man (ape), thinking man, rational man, knowing man. But maybe we should also be called "the apes that create meaning", because we bring meaning into existence, with our intelligence and our thinking. We create meaning through conscious choice and conscious acts.
Do we need a divine purpose or meaning for our life on earth? Of course not, it seems perfectly normal and adequate for us to create our own meanings and purposes. Indeed, it is arguable that this is a preferable situation. When someone else imposes upon us a purpose of their own design, aren't we a little more than slaves? In fact if there was a God, life would have no meaning because it would mean we are all puppets dancing around to the tune of God the grandmaster puppeteer. Life would be one big Punch and Judy Puppet show.
Look at how the Apostle Paul described God in the NT: Romans 9:21 “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” Yes, sir if there were a God you would just be a lump of clay, moulded and shaped by the potter. So what ever happens to you, good or bad, sickness or healing, win or loose, war or peace, rich or poor etc is God’s will?
In reality the truth is far from that. You and only you are the master of your own destiny. You cannot depend on or even blame a non existent God or his will or his divine book or his believers. You can not even blame the ANC government, the unjust Apartheid past, your dysfunctional family, your boss, the ancestors, the sangoma, the mine, the whites, the blacks, Malema, Zuma etc. Say after me “if it is to be it is up to me”. Take control of your life now. Think for yourself. Educate yourself. No one owes you anything. Why do you want to be a pawn of some imaginary Grand Chess Master God moving you around like some dumb pawn? Now that would be a life with out a meaning!
So what if there is no afterlife and this is all we have. As you were before you were born so shall you be after you are gone from this life – in oblivion. Enjoy it to its fullest; with out hurting anyone or anything; for tomorrow you will die and be no more. Do everything in moderation and lead a balanced life. Christians tell us that atheism is bleak, nihilistic, amoral, dehumanising and depressing. Is that true? No that is what they think. Can a drug addict think about life without his regular fix? Can a smoker think about life without his friend nicotine to calm him down? Can a drunkard walk past a bottle store with out wanting a “shot”. Can a Christian think about life with out Jesus?
Christians convince themselves that life must automatically have meaning and purpose and it is God that provides them. If you pop into a Church they will tell you that visit was ordered by the Lord and was not a coincidence. He is guiding your steps so that you can give your life to him. If meaning and purpose cannot exist without a God, then it is logical and reasonable to conclude that God must obviously exist.
But as soon as you explain that there Red Herring does not work and that there is a life full of meaning and purpose after Jesus, as he is in reality just an imaginary friend for adults; their brain short circuits, sparks fly, fuse’s blow, they go blank and the lights go out. Going to Church, reading the Bible and listening to sermons make people think that they have “knowledge” but this so called knowledge is not under pined by science and is therefore nonsense and should be discarded. You cannot live your life based on an unsubstantiated myth.
We don’t need a God to lead meaningful lives filled with joy and peace and love and beauty. We don’t need him to save us. We don’t need him to remove our faults. We are accountable only to one another and to ourselves. We don’t need God because we have one another and thus it is our humanity that provides more than enough meaning for ourselves.
I did it my way?
And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I've travelled each and every highway
and more, much more than this
I did it my way
Regrets I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each chartered course
Each careful step along the by-way
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Yes, there were times
I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all
And I stood tall
And did it my way
I've loved, I've laughed, and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
"Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way"
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Yes, it was my way
It was one of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits and was his swan song. He found happiness in his talents. He was not perfect. Who is? Who cares? But he lived life to the fullest.