Thanks for visiting Bible Mountain. This is the beginning of a series of parables about the meaning and purpose of life. This series is designed for people who are trying to make sense of the pain and suffering we see in the world around us. The following parable illustrates one of the fundamental reasons people have trouble finding meaning in life. This parable is called the professor. Watch the video or scroll down to read a transcript.
Hi, thanks for watching Bible Mountain. This is the beginning of a series of parables about the meaning and purpose of life. This series is designed for people who are trying to make sense of the pain and suffering we see in the world around us. Let me start with a parable that illustrates one of the fundamental reasons people have trouble finding meaning in life. This parable is called The Professor.
Early Monday morning, a professor started class by assigning a 10 page research paper. The students started groaning because this assignment was not on the syllabus, they were already three quarters of the way through the semester, they had a lot of work with other classes, and they simply didn’t want to add one more thing to their workload. Then the professor told the students the paper was due Friday afternoon. That meant they only had five days to complete the paper. The students groaned even louder. Then the professor dropped a third bombshell. He told them their grade on this paper would serve as their grade for the entire semester.
Now the students were alarmed. It was bad enough he was assigning this paper on such short notice, but to make it their grade for the entire semester simply wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. The students started objecting, but the professor stood firm. He told them the paper was due Friday afternoon, and it would be their grade for the entire semester. Then the professor walked out.
The students were upset about the assignment, but all of them wanted a good grade so they started working immediately. The students worked hard all week. They work late into the night. Some of them pulled all-nighters. They canceled other stuff out of their schedule if they were able. Somehow, each student managed to put together a pretty decent paper despite the limited timeframe.
The students had been told to gather in the courtyard at 3:00 Friday afternoon to turn in their papers. Around 2:45, the students started arriving, and right away the setting struck them as very odd. There was a bonfire, which indicated they might have a party, but there was no food or drink. It wasn’t cold enough to need a bonfire either.
Finally, the professor arrived at 3:00 sharp. The professor was carrying a box. Without saying a word, the professor walked around and motioned for each student to place their paper in his box. After he collected all the papers, he went over and stood facing the bonfire. The students looked around at each other a little nervously because the professor was acting a little strange. After a few minutes the Professor raised his box of papers above his head, held it there, and then dramatically threw the box of papers into the fire.
The students gasped. They were horrified. They had spent all week slaving away at these papers, and now the professor didn’t want them?
The professor turned, looked at the students, and said, “This is a lesson about life. You put a lot of time and effort into these papers this week, and you experienced a lot of pain doing these papers. However, all that time, effort, and pain is pointless and meaningless because your papers are burning up and will not be graded. Life is the same way. It takes a lot of work and effort to go through life. We experience a lot of pain throughout our lives. However, at the end of life, when we die, we can’t take any of our work, possessions, or accomplishments with us. Therefore, life is every bit as pointless and meaningless as the time and effort you put into these papers.” The professor looked around, allowed his words to sink in, and then left.
After a long silence a student named John said out loud to no one in particular, “The professor is wrong. Life has meaning, and I’m going to go find it.”
This parable illustrates a fundamental problem people have with the meaning of life. As we look around our society we see a lot of pain. People are suffering and dying from cancer, other diseases, senseless killings, accidents, suicides, and drug overdoses. There is poverty, financial stress, physical abuse, discrimination, loneliness, crime, divorce, and personality conflicts. As we observe all this pain and suffering we start to ask about the meaning of all of this. What is the purpose of life? What is the purpose of all this pain and suffering?
There are some people in our society who agree with the professor and claim there is no purpose to life. Other people are like John. They believe there has to be purpose. They’re not sure what it is, but they sure would like to find it.
As for me, I know there is meaning and purpose to life. The point of this series of parables is to share what I’ve learned about life, and about how to make sense of all the pain, suffering, and death we see in our society, and in the world around us.
In this series of parables I’m going to start by explaining why things like success, money, fame, pleasure, and power do not give us the meaning in life we are seeking. After that, I’m going to lay out the five basic questions we have to answer in order to understand the meaning and purpose of life. Then I’m going to spend some time talking about evolution because evolution is actually part of the problem. After that, I’m going to talk about what we learn about meaning and purpose just by using our eyes and observing what we see in the world around us. Then I’m going to talk about what we learn about meaning and purpose from history. Finally, at the end of the series, I will answer the five questions we have to answer in order to understand the meaning and purpose of life, and make sense of the pain and suffering we see in the world around us.
Thanks again for visiting Bible Mountain. I greatly appreciate you spending some of your valuable time watching my videos and reading my articles. The next parable in this series will explain why success does not bring meaning to life. If you haven’t already done so, please join either my email list or my Patreon Page in order to make sure you receive that and all future parables in this series.
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