The purpose driven life (a review) - Chapter 1 - It All Starts with God

Here I am back with another instalment in my plan to review the entire TPDL


Apparently, it is not about me. What I want for my life does not matter, I should discover the purpose god intended for me.


Early on there is a good example of muddled thinking. He says "If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn't know its purpose ... only the inventor or the owners manual could reveal its purpose"  What bullshit. Of course we would be able to figure out the use of most unknown devices. Case in point: The antikythera device


He also says that many people try to use god for their own self actualization, but that is an enterprise doomed to failure. Ironically, that is probably the only use I can see for the christian church - to make people feel better about bad things happening because it is all part of some mystic plan. I do not agree with this AT ALL, but its one of the few positive side effects of christianity - as a humanist I can appreciate that some people need a little comforting, I just feel that they should rather get it elsewhere, not from a zombie worshipping death-cult. 


Next up some more logical fallacies. Apparently philosophers cannot determine the meaning of life, so therefore it must mean that the meaning of life is actually determined by this entity that no-one has been able to demonstrate exists. I might as well say that the sock fairy that occasionally makes off with one of my socks has a plan for the meaning of my life. It is equally logical, that is to say not at all!


Last thing of note (and we'll most likely revisit this later), is that he says you can choose your career, your spouse, your friends, your hobbies but not your purpose. From a humanist perspective my argument would be that the sum of your choices in life is the same thing as your purpose. Except the term purpose implies external determination, not personal choice.


That is the end of chapter one. Thus far I am not convinced...

Views: 701

Comment by Scarlette Blues on June 15, 2011 at 3:24pm
I'm interested to see more of your reviews on this book. It seems he hasn't stated anything logical/rational so far!
Comment by Southern Skeptic on June 15, 2011 at 3:42pm
Hey Scarlette, I'm planning on doing one a day until I'm through the book, or my brain starts melting. I'm not sure which is going to happen first ;-)
Comment by surgoshan on June 15, 2011 at 3:54pm
You poor man; why would you do this to yourself?
Comment by Jon van Rooyen on June 15, 2011 at 4:27pm

Scarlette, I doubt we can expect anything rational to come from a book with a first chapter like this. Sounds like the author is just trying to cash in on the faithful.

I am enjoying review though, Skeptic! Keep them coming! Perhaps you should post them on a public blog or something? :)

Comment by Scarlette Blues on June 15, 2011 at 4:28pm
I don't see how you're going to make it through the entire book. So far, it's just the same old rhetorical bullshit but who know's...maybe he'll show us new "reasons" to believe in an unlikely personal supernatural intelligent agent. LOL
Comment by Southern Skeptic on June 15, 2011 at 4:35pm

@Jon: I agree. I want to start a local atheist group sometime, I may repost these entries on its blog when I start it up.


@scarlett & Jon: I can sort of see the shape of his arguments (such as they are) after the intro and chapter 1, but the specifics are still vague. The author does seem to be targeting the fundies though

Comment by ernie garcia on June 15, 2011 at 8:38pm
there is an excellent rebuttal of rick warren's book by robert price called "the reason driven life." it goes chapter by chapter.
Comment by Southern Skeptic on June 16, 2011 at 5:05am

@Ernie: Thanks, I'll definitely check it out once I'm done with my review.

For me this exercise is as much about practising my own critical thinking skills as it is about generating content, so I don't want to read someone else's ideas before I finalise my own.

Comment by linda wagner on June 16, 2011 at 11:57am
Thanks for the Welcome to the group. This sounds fun. Southern Skeptic, I can't wait to hear your further analysis of A Purpose Driver Life. I had this book and tried to read it, but it didn't make any sense. I can't imagine who could like this book. Apparently a lot of Christians do.
Comment by james d on June 16, 2011 at 12:15pm

the basic idea is that without a purpose, man wanders aimlessly, so, if god gives you a purpose, you will live an effective life for him, then you will be rewarded with much as you have built a lifetime earning credits with the skygod who will pay you back by allowing you to worship him for ever... that, of course is his purpose for creating us from dirt in the first place.


so, without the sky god giving us a purpose, man has no purpose, therefore, we are doomed to wander around with no moral compass or any sense of belonging to humanity as the sky god alone can give us that purpose.

i think that sums up that book from what i can remember of it...


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