What if we don't matter?

Discussions pertaining to scripture and theology from a philosophical approach.

What if we don't matter?

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:07 am

Imagine with me the human body. The human body contains cells and in order for this body to function, the cells must obey. What happens when cells no longer obey and start attacking good cells? Well, we call that cancer. Bear with me here... What if humanity as a whole is a body and we are the cells. We have some good eggs and some bad eggs, right? But as a whole, humanity is thriving. Yes, as noted, we have cancerous people groups who harm humanity in general, but this is no different than our own bodies. But if I care not for a little "cell" that dies, billions of them, then why should we be so special? There are "billions" of us, no? So I posit, "What if we don't matter?" Is it not egocentric to think the entire universe was created just for us? That we are so important that we must live on, eternally? Doesn't all life end, get recycled, and recreated into new life? Why should we be any different?

Have you ever thought just how vast the universe is? Immense, right? Was the entire thing just created for a small ball call Earth which houses Humans, who are the most prized possessions? Doesn't that seem a bit... far fetched? It does to me. I think, if God created this, there must be millions of others worlds, billions of other people/creatures all across this insanely huge incomprehensible universe. But are we important enough, crucial enough to resurrect? I have my doubts. I think it might just be our ego that makes us think we have this super great everlasting future ahead of us. We might be no more important than a cockroach under the kitchen sink. If we are disturbed by this, who is to say some animals are not disturbed by it? Is being disturbed by something evidence in itself? Maybe. I don't know.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby steve7150 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:40 am

If i had a dollar for every "what if", i would own a Carribean island or two!
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Paidion » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:24 pm

Steve wrote:If i had a dollar for every "what if", i would own a Carribean island or two!


WHAT IF you did? Would it make any difference in the grand scheme of things?—if there IS a grand scheme. WHAT IF there isn't?

I once heard a Christian say, "Believe your beliefs, and doubt your doubts." WHAT IF that applied in your case, Gabe?
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby steve7150 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:34 pm

WHAT IF there isn't?











That makes another dollar toward my island! I plan to call it Zombie Island!
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Eaglesway » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:00 pm

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

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:59 am

I imagine there could be shattered dreams for thinking you are special and finding out it isn't so... In my estimation, thinking highly of ourselves and worth is a win-win situation, because if you die and nothing exists, then you won't be alive to see your shattered dreams and if it is true, then you knew it all along. But those goal posts are not static. It could be you are raised, told you are not special and then cast off. Who knows.

But I do wonder at the people who don't take care of themselves because "Something better awaits"... That doesn't seem good stewardship to me.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby steve7150 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:38 pm

I'm selling two new t'shirts this week, ZLM and CLM which are Zombie Lives Matter and Christian Lives Matter! :o
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:14 pm

steve7150 wrote:I'm selling two new t'shirts this week, ZLM and CLM which are Zombie Lives Matter and Christian Lives Matter! :o


Did you post this in the wrong thread? Not sure how the above is related to this thread.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby maintenanceman » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:22 pm

Gabe said:
I imagine there could be shattered dreams for thinking you are special and finding out it isn't so...


Can you explain? :o I realize the OP, but... Expound :lol:

You also said:
Is it not egocentric to think the entire universe was created just for us? That we are so important that we must live on, eternally? Doesn't all life end, get recycled, and recreated into new life? Why should we be any different?


Ahhh this is the rub. What are you worth? What is your wife or sister or daughter or best friend worth? To you they are worth (I hope ) everything, but to understand a God who not only thinks that all that worth is important but so important that a representative of that God came and told the people He represented, that He was not only going work out the differences between these people and God, but was going to make it possible that all people everywhere would be in a position of favor with the true God of Israel, Thus the son Jesus entered the picture. ;)

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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby horan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:27 pm

Gabe Grinstead wrote:Imagine with me the human body. The human body contains cells and in order for this body to function, the cells must obey. What happens when cells no longer obey and start attacking good cells? Well, we call that cancer. Bear with me here... What if humanity as a whole is a body and we are the cells. We have some good eggs and some bad eggs, right? But as a whole, humanity is thriving. Yes, as noted, we have cancerous people groups who harm humanity in general, but this is no different than our own bodies. But if I care not for a little "cell" that dies, billions of them, then why should we be so special? There are "billions" of us, no? So I posit, "What if we don't matter?" Is it not egocentric to think the entire universe was created just for us? That we are so important that we must live on, eternally? Doesn't all life end, get recycled, and recreated into new life? Why should we be any different?

Have you ever thought just how vast the universe is? Immense, right? Was the entire thing just created for a small ball call Earth which houses Humans, who are the most prized possessions? Doesn't that seem a bit... far fetched? It does to me. I think, if God created this, there must be millions of others worlds, billions of other people/creatures all across this insanely huge incomprehensible universe. But are we important enough, crucial enough to resurrect? I have my doubts. I think it might just be our ego that makes us think we have this super great everlasting future ahead of us. We might be no more important than a cockroach under the kitchen sink. If we are disturbed by this, who is to say some animals are not disturbed by it? Is being disturbed by something evidence in itself? Maybe. I don't know.


Well, we are important enough in God's estimation that He sacrificed His only begotten Son on our behalf. I suppose we might be egotistic about that, though humility would seem a more appropriate response. Why assume God put people anywhere else but on this planet? People apply a pseudo-statistical analysis to the issue and come to a conclusion that's not based on any actual evidence. There's only one planet in our sample and all else is conjecture. Why might it not be just as possible that among all the galaxies and stars there is but one planet where God has made creatures in His own image? He selected one man of no particular repute, who fathered a fairly dysfunctional family that finally became a rather insignificant, disobedient nation to be the people from which the Messiah would come. God seems to do things consistently in a manner that defies all expected probability.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Eaglesway » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:48 pm

Grace is the reason for the hope of eternal life. There is nothing to esteem oneself for in accepting grace and looking forward in hope while experiencing transformation from the ever shrinking concentric circles of self and our own reasoning into the expansive love of God and the wisdom of Jesus Christ.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:22 am

horan wrote:
Gabe Grinstead wrote:Imagine with me the human body. The human body contains cells and in order for this body to function, the cells must obey. What happens when cells no longer obey and start attacking good cells? Well, we call that cancer. Bear with me here... What if humanity as a whole is a body and we are the cells. We have some good eggs and some bad eggs, right? But as a whole, humanity is thriving. Yes, as noted, we have cancerous people groups who harm humanity in general, but this is no different than our own bodies. But if I care not for a little "cell" that dies, billions of them, then why should we be so special? There are "billions" of us, no? So I posit, "What if we don't matter?" Is it not egocentric to think the entire universe was created just for us? That we are so important that we must live on, eternally? Doesn't all life end, get recycled, and recreated into new life? Why should we be any different?

Have you ever thought just how vast the universe is? Immense, right? Was the entire thing just created for a small ball call Earth which houses Humans, who are the most prized possessions? Doesn't that seem a bit... far fetched? It does to me. I think, if God created this, there must be millions of others worlds, billions of other people/creatures all across this insanely huge incomprehensible universe. But are we important enough, crucial enough to resurrect? I have my doubts. I think it might just be our ego that makes us think we have this super great everlasting future ahead of us. We might be no more important than a cockroach under the kitchen sink. If we are disturbed by this, who is to say some animals are not disturbed by it? Is being disturbed by something evidence in itself? Maybe. I don't know.


Well, we are important enough in God's estimation that He sacrificed His only begotten Son on our behalf. I suppose we might be egotistic about that, though humility would seem a more appropriate response. Why assume God put people anywhere else but on this planet? People apply a pseudo-statistical analysis to the issue and come to a conclusion that's not based on any actual evidence. There's only one planet in our sample and all else is conjecture. Why might it not be just as possible that among all the galaxies and stars there is but one planet where God has made creatures in His own image? He selected one man of no particular repute, who fathered a fairly dysfunctional family that finally became a rather insignificant, disobedient nation to be the people from which the Messiah would come. God seems to do things consistently in a manner that defies all expected probability.


Hopefully I don't come across as rude here, if so, that is not my intent. But you mention 'conjecture' (which is true, but also assumed considering my 'What if" phrase) on my part and yet every single thing you said is conjecture. How is that any different?
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Bob Wilson » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:17 am

"What if we don't matter?" (I.e. What if we believed people have no ultimate worth?)

The conclusion that I'd think would logically follow is that we could not insist on any moral obligation to treat others as having value (and that: "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" would be a defensible priority value). But that's not really what I most deeply affirm.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby horan » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:53 am

Gabe Grinstead wrote:
horan wrote:
Gabe Grinstead wrote:Imagine with me the human body. The human body contains cells and in order for this body to function, the cells must obey. What happens when cells no longer obey and start attacking good cells? Well, we call that cancer. Bear with me here... What if humanity as a whole is a body and we are the cells. We have some good eggs and some bad eggs, right? But as a whole, humanity is thriving. Yes, as noted, we have cancerous people groups who harm humanity in general, but this is no different than our own bodies. But if I care not for a little "cell" that dies, billions of them, then why should we be so special? There are "billions" of us, no? So I posit, "What if we don't matter?" Is it not egocentric to think the entire universe was created just for us? That we are so important that we must live on, eternally? Doesn't all life end, get recycled, and recreated into new life? Why should we be any different?

Have you ever thought just how vast the universe is? Immense, right? Was the entire thing just created for a small ball call Earth which houses Humans, who are the most prized possessions? Doesn't that seem a bit... far fetched? It does to me. I think, if God created this, there must be millions of others worlds, billions of other people/creatures all across this insanely huge incomprehensible universe. But are we important enough, crucial enough to resurrect? I have my doubts. I think it might just be our ego that makes us think we have this super great everlasting future ahead of us. We might be no more important than a cockroach under the kitchen sink. If we are disturbed by this, who is to say some animals are not disturbed by it? Is being disturbed by something evidence in itself? Maybe. I don't know.


Well, we are important enough in God's estimation that He sacrificed His only begotten Son on our behalf. I suppose we might be egotistic about that, though humility would seem a more appropriate response. Why assume God put people anywhere else but on this planet? People apply a pseudo-statistical analysis to the issue and come to a conclusion that's not based on any actual evidence. There's only one planet in our sample and all else is conjecture. Why might it not be just as possible that among all the galaxies and stars there is but one planet where God has made creatures in His own image? He selected one man of no particular repute, who fathered a fairly dysfunctional family that finally became a rather insignificant, disobedient nation to be the people from which the Messiah would come. God seems to do things consistently in a manner that defies all expected probability.


Hopefully I don't come across as rude here, if so, that is not my intent. But you mention 'conjecture' (which is true, but also assumed considering my 'What if" phrase) on my part and yet every single thing you said is conjecture. How is that any different?



No, you're not being at all rude. I suppose it depends on perspective. From a Biblical standpoint, there's no reason at all to suspect there is intelligent live anywhere else but this planet. The Bible certainly doesn't say there isn't, but doesn't at all suggest there is. I understand that it's very common that people suppose, because the universe is so vast, from our perspective, that there must be sentient life out there on other worlds, yet secular scientists and otherwise will readily attest to how near impossible it is for the right conditions to exist for supporting life and that our planet appears to be very, very unique in this regard. My question asked, since there is no evidence at all for life elsewhere, why assume it? There's no sample of reasonable size for prediction. And I question proposing an argument based on an assumption that so lacks foundation. I'm sorry to have appeared rude. I think science fiction has created a tremendous demand for extra-terrestrial speculation, and I've responded as I have because I don't think there's anything healthy about it, that it's much better avoided. But the mileage of others may differ.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby maintenanceman » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:20 pm

horan said:
My question asked, since there is no evidence at all for life elsewhere, why assume it?


So, what if the universe is non ending? That's a lot of mileage.
What if out there in the unending universe God planted some different 'creations'?
We read from scripture that at one point God was pretty hacked at the earth creation and there was a flood to wipe the slate clean.
What if our human interest in finding out what is what and how things work (science), we are merely following the lead of our creator, and he has, to use the term loosely, experimented with his creation (or maybe creations)? Though I have to think that his love for his creation here on earth was such that he made special arrangements to keep things going.

We may not want to address it but these are all possibilities/ realities. To address your question, some don't assume it but wonder about the possibilities! :lol:
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby horan » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:30 pm

maintenanceman wrote:horan said:
My question asked, since there is no evidence at all for life elsewhere, why assume it?


So, what if the universe is non ending? That's a lot of mileage.
What if out there in the unending universe God planted some different 'creations'?
We read from scripture that at one point God was pretty hacked at the earth creation and there was a flood to wipe the slate clean.
What if our human interest in finding out what is what and how things work (science), we are merely following the lead of our creator, and he has, to use the term loosely, experimented with his creation (or maybe creations)? Though I have to think that his love for his creation here on earth was such that he made special arrangements to keep things going.

We may not want to address it but these are all possibilities/ realities. To address your question, some don't assume it but wonder about the possibilities! :lol:


Well, that's a lot of what if. You know, and I'm not referring to you, but to a person who doesn't believe in Biblical truth, whatever I say about it will be construed as mere conjecture, To my mind it's not, but rather factual, demonstrated truth. While to me extra-terrestrial speculation is not only that, but harmful. This same speculation has spawned a theory that has life on earth having been seeded by extra-terrestrial creatures, a notion for which there's no evidence whatsoever, however much its believed by many people. I see all such speculation as effectual attacks on Biblical authority. That's alright, since it's just one variety of attack among many, and I'm fully confident of the outcome. But I'm quite sure that I will soon be entirely surrounded by people basing their world views on what if, and I'll be standing out like a sore thumb, maybe even here in Middle Tennessee. It's inevitable. These what if speculations have very far reaching consequences. But then, non-Biblical people, not saying you're one, view me much the same way, as indulging in foolish, even very harmful, anti-social speculation. And I've little doubt that their arguments and views will win the day, in the short term. That's alright. I must assume that God has ordained it from before the foundations of the world. Conjecture? I don't think so, and I hope God gives me the courage to stake my life on it. God bless.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby maintenanceman » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:01 pm

Hi horan

You said:
But then, non-Biblical people, not saying you're one, view me much the same way, as indulging in foolish, even very harmful, anti-social speculation. And I've little doubt that their arguments and views will win the day, in the short term. That's alright. I must assume that God has ordained it from before the foundations of the world. Conjecture? I don't think so, and I hope God gives me the courage to stake my life on it. God bless.


Many Calvinists think they have all of God's views figured out. It comes with the territory. :lol:

Hope you find some alternative ideas here. ;)
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:05 am

Bob Wilson wrote:"What if we don't matter?" (I.e. What if we believed people have no ultimate worth?)

The conclusion that I'd think would logically follow is that we could not insist on any moral obligation to treat others as having value (and that: "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" would be a defensible priority value). But that's not really what I most deeply affirm.


One thing in my OP that I intended, but didn't convey properly was "What if we don't matter to God?", not "What if we don't matter". Do you think Nihilism or Hedonism would follow with that clarification? Not to get ahead of myself, but do you think atheists or agnostics are generally Nihilists or Hedonists? Is it possible for an atheist or agnostic to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" as much as a Christian does?
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby horan » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:41 am

Gabe Grinstead wrote:
Bob Wilson wrote:"What if we don't matter?" (I.e. What if we believed people have no ultimate worth?)

The conclusion that I'd think would logically follow is that we could not insist on any moral obligation to treat others as having value (and that: "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" would be a defensible priority value). But that's not really what I most deeply affirm.


One thing in my OP that I intended, but didn't convey properly was "What if we don't matter to God?", not "What if we don't matter". Do you think Nihilism or Hedonism would follow with that clarification? Not to get ahead of myself, but do you think atheists or agnostics are generally Nihilists or Hedonists? Is it possible for an atheist or agnostic to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" as much as a Christian does?


Paul wrote in Romans, "...for when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature that which is of the law, these, not having the law, are a law unto themselves." I don't doubt for a second that there are great numbers of unbelievers who have good intentions at heart. All are made in the image of our Creator. But those good intentions are very easily deceived, no more so than today. We're also told in John 16 that the time will come that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service. But I think there are many, many atheists and agnostics who do their best to love their neighbor as themselves, and many might incrementally succeed at this better, if that formulation is possible, than many professed Christians. There are a great many non-Christians who self admittedly believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, but not in Jesus Christ Himself, which is the crux of the matter. I'm doubtful I really responded to your question. I'm not sure I understand it. We human beings obviously matter very much to God, all of us, without exception.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:17 pm

Gabe Grinstead wrote:Is it possible for an atheist or agnostic to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" as much as a Christian does?


Sure. It could be they are Buddhists (which is really an atheistic religion). And they follow compassion for all. Or they might follow a particular philosopher and his / her philosophical brand of ethics (i.e. I. Kant's moral imperative).

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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby St. Michael » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:15 pm

Meaningless, Meaningless
The world is meaningless!
Subjected to vanity by God
But in hope
Nothing matters but to love
You and serve You
Dear Lord
These three remain
Faith, Hope, and Love
But the greatest is love
As I am sorrowful
Yet I am rejoicing
My heart is broken and tender
Tender like a little child
Burn me with Your love
And melt away all labels
Reduced to nothing
But dust and ashes
God is the all-glorious, all-knowing, infinitely wise, self-sufficient, all-powerful one. I'm nothing. I'm powerless and depend on Him. I humble myself in surrendered trust in His Divine Providence.
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Re: What if we don't matter?

Postby Bob Wilson » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:16 pm

Gabe Grinstead wrote:One thing in my OP that I intended, but didn't convey properly was "What if we don't matter to God?", not "What if we don't matter". Do you think Nihilism or Hedonism would follow with that clarification? Not to get ahead of myself, but do you think atheists or agnostics are generally Nihilists or Hedonists? Is it possible for an atheist or agnostic to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" as much as a Christian does?


Gabe, I don't grasp your distinction between mattering-to God vs. mattering. I'd think that 'God' is usually posited as the ultimate reality and arbiter of values & worth, and so if we have no worth in reference to God, we can have no objective worth that matters (though of course we can place subjective or arbitrary worth on anything we wish). And yes, I'd think Nihilism and Hedonism would logically follow from that position. (I.e. if we don't matter to a reality that is properly defined as 'God" or supreme, if follows that objectively we can not ultimately matter at all.)


But no, I have not found most atheists or agnostics follow this logic in practice. Indeed, I perceive that many of them are as passionate about loving neighbors as are most religious folk. Of course, I think this results from what my response implied, that most people do Not "deeply" affirm that people don't really matter, because they intuitively sense that love is the ultimate value we need, and that persons are treasures which have incredible value. Of course, a religious person might guess that this innate sense results from being made in the image of 'God.'

I.e. my observation is not just sociological, but philosophical. For I perceive that we're wired to subjectively sense that people matter, and thus motivated to rethink assumptions that would make this an irrational conclusion. I detailed this logical apologetic: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=2010

All the best to you,
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