Throughout history, many a person has tried to answer the question ‘Why am I on this Earth?’. The ideas that have been espoused are fascinating and, by examining them, we can become more aware of our ultimate purpose. Here is a curated list of some of the most intriguing perspectives:
- The Simulation Hypothesis
Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘there’s a glitch in the matrix’ when something inexplicable happens? Many people believe that there truly is an overarching ‘matrix’. Some speculate that ‘Earth’ is a computer run simulation created by aliens or perhaps even by future humans to study modern-day earth. This perspective paints the world in dim light as any success is simulated. Any loss of life also does not matter because, well, it is just a simulation after all. Several famous people such as Elon Musk hold to this theory. Where does this theory level us? It leaves us little more than a version of Sims.
The Church of Last-Thursdayism holds to the belief that the world was created last Thursday, every Thursday. They claim that nobody can prove that the earth existed before now at any time. You might think that if anything, historical artefacts and relics should prove the existence of earth, but they will just say that these were planted at the creation of Earth. Even worse, they think that the world will be destroyed on the next Thursday, leaving existence a completely redundant exercise.
- The ‘Just Me’ Theory
Rene Descartes famously said, “I think, therefore I am”, which is essentially saying that because we have complex thought, we know that we exist. This courtesy, however, does not extend to other people, we do not know what they think or even if they think. Therefore, we can conclude that we are the only living being on earth. This then yields the idea that everything on this earth was created for us, and that when we do not need or are not looking at something it ceases to exist. This theory leaves you an island, with no meaning and with no clear directive towards morals, as there is no point in treating anyone else nicely if they do not exist.
- The Big Bang Theory
Have you ever made a mistake? Nearly a majority of the people on Earth believe that the universe was created on accident- through the collision and basic build-up of elements. Since then, the universe has been expanding and the number of planets and systems is growing and changing. This perspective leaves no room for humanity to have a purpose. If this universe and by extension life on Earth was concocted by the random collision of particles, then there is no point in attempting to do anything significant as just as life was formed randomly it will also blink out early.
- The Terror Management Theory
Have you ever thought about what mark you want to leave on the world? This theory states that everything that humanity has ever done, from technological advancements to the creation of arts and new medicines as well as the development of national identity and religious affiliations was done to starve off the existential terror of a life without meaning resulting in death. This world is effectively an effort to distract ourselves in the time between when we are born and our inevitable death.
All of these philosophies are remarkably bleak and leave no room for life to have any meaningful purpose. Life is either not real, a simulation, an effort to avoid death or a complete and total accident that could be ended in the blink of an eye with another.
There is, however, a worldview, a theory for our existence which is unlike any other. It gives humanity something better to aspire and aim to; it tells them that they are not an accident and that they were created with a purpose. We were designed intelligently, and in Genesis 1:27 it says that we were designed in the “image of God”- what better blueprint could there be!
Christianity is a perspective which tells its adherents to put others above oneself, where every other perspective promotes an obsession with oneself, the Bible teaches in Luke 17:33 that “whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” Matthew 7:12 tells believers to “do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Humanity was created with a purpose, and that is the most beautiful thing. Out of all of these desolate, sad perspectives, there is a beacon of light and hope, a way to view the world that offers something more.
By Kira-leigh Josey