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  1. A few centuries ago we thought we had found the meaning of life. Modernism says that we do not need God, because reason and science can tell us what we need to know. They can solve all of our problems. Along came the 1960s. The young adults of that decade believed that humanity was doomed. Environmental disaster, over-population and nuclear war all threatened to wipe us out, well before the millennium ended. Thus, modernism crumbled. In its place postmodernism arose. It is basically anti-modernism—saying that God, science and reason have all failed. Thus, there is no grand meaning in life. Isn’t something is missing from both of these philosophies? If modernism is too proud, postmodernism is too depressing. Perhaps, instead of looking to recent philosophy, we would do better to look back to the wisdom of ancients. Over 3,000 years ago the book of Ecclesiastes records that King Solomon, one of the richest, wisest, most powerful men to ever live, pursued the meaning of life. He examined wisdom—the academe—rigorous study. The book tells us he studied all that was done under the heavens (history and sociology). He considered that which was crooked (engineering), and what was lacking (accounting). He said he knew more than those who ruled before him (politics). He even sought to understand understanding itself (philosophy). Finally he pondered madness and folly (psychiatry and psychology). It was all, according to Solomon, “a chasing after the wind.” Ironically, it was the pursuit of knowledge that got Adam and Eve in trouble. The serpent tempted them by saying that by eating the forbidden fruit they would gain the knowledge of good and evil—thus becoming like God. Is this not post-modernism? It says there is no ultimate truth, so good and evil must be determined individually. Since knowledge failed, Solomon tried diligent labor. He found that hard work produced competition and strife. Similarly, the pursuit of power disappointed because the old king, no matter how wise and noble, would eventually be replaced by a younger one—even though the new one might be foolish and corrupt. King Solomon also went after money. He found that no matter how much people acquired they always wanted more. Then, when death comes, families are left to fight over the spoils. Meaningless! Similarly, pleasure proved folly. Comedy, games, alcohol--even experiencing multiple casual sexual escapades—they offered a season of enjoyment, but ultimately became boring. Knowledge, labor, power, money and pleasure—none of these offer true meaning. So, what is there? Solomon got it right: fear and obey God. Christians explain that “fear” is best understood as sincere love. Further, they say that the love of God is seen in how we treat our neighbors. Some may protest that there are good, generous, loving people who do not believe in God. Irrelevant. If there is a Creator then creation can only find meaning through Him. The meaning of life is found in the Author of our lives.
  2. I live in the Kingdom of Seahawks. There are more “12th-Man” flags than there are American ones. Seattle deserves to enjoy a good sports team now and then—we’ve had so many heartbreaks. Still, it almost seems cultish to walk into Starbucks, Target, or even some banks, and see the staff wearing the same uniforms. During the late 80s I taught in Asia. The government was a military dictatorship at the time. To counter cries for freedom and democracy leaders employed a “3-S policy.” They made sports, screen and sex (red light districts) readily accessible. Keep people entertained, they figured, and they won’t revolt. Of course poorer countries have relied on government-subsidized alcohol for generations. Even the turmoil over sex and gender identity causes me to wonder if we are missing the deepest meanings of life. If I am who I sleep with, or I am how I feel psychologically about my gender—if these matters constitute my core identity, then self-fulfillment remains the highest order. What if God really made us? What if our Creator loves us? What if He has plans for us? Does it matter? Are we too distracted to notice or care? Good games are great! Our intimate relationships connect us with love—the highest good. Movies can be powerful and meaningful. However, true joy comes from God. He is love. Life’s ultimate meaning is to reconcile with Him and discover his good plans for our lives.