In my experience I find that my “Philosophy of Life”, my “Belief System” and my “Purpose of Life” are all very closely connected. But let me first describe my history on these subjects.
As a good Stoic, I re-read a page of the Bible every Sunday. Mostly I restrict myself to Luke. The Bible contains many good stories – my favourites are: Joseph, David, Job, Jesus’s Birth, the Prodigal Son, the Dishonest Steward and the Rich Man and Lazarus. And the death of Jesus reminds about all the important facts of life, which we all do our best to ignore.
When my family lived on Mt Stromlo it wasn’t very convenient for us to go to church – so we didn’t. But, when we moved to Mill Hill, London, our church became the centre of our social life. So church then became very important. Thus our scout troop was associated with our church. Also we all went to church and then we children went to bible study classes as well. One of the guys who ran one of these courses was a Dr Key – a scientist holding a high position in the government. He was very good indeed. We went to a Congregational church and it had high percentage of highly qualified people.
I think our family’s belief system was the same as most peoples at this time. But, like all people, we did not discuss the matter between ourselves. I didn’t know if there was a “supernal life” outside our life on Earth. So I was agnostic. But for me the probability of there being a “supernal life” very definitely varied over my life.
At the age of 16, I started to find some of the church sermons very hard to accept. So I thought very seriously about stopping going to church. But, when I thought about actually leaving the church, I quickly changed my mind. I adjusted my belief system and so I then became quite religious instead. And I have stayed that way in a certain practical sense for the rest of my life. But the probability of there being a “supernal life” has changed for me as I have studied the evidence more carefully. In general, as I have grown older, this probability has declined.
In recent times an unfortunate polarization seemed to have occurred – and people seem to have become either atheists or fundamentalists. As a result of this people like myself, who reserve their complete credence only to matters that are clearly scientifically proved and yet appreciate and enjoy our Christian culture, have nowhere to go (because fundamentalists tend to run the churches). Some of my friends have overcome this problem by becoming Buddhists. However I don’t like this because I still like our Christian culture. My solution then was to become a “Christian Stoic”.
In the early 90’s an article appeared in the SMH entitled “The Stoics got it Right” – and I found I was in complete agreement with this article. Later (while searching for facts on the Pelagian Heresy – essential for my first story) I read a book on comparative religion that had a few pages on Stoicism. Christianity and Stoicism have a reasonable amount in common, but on the six major points on which they differed I found I was in complete agreement with the Stoic philosophy. One of the nice things about the Stoics is that they believe that individuals should support their local culture by joining in all appropriate customs and rituals. Thus I, as a Stoic, should attend my local church even though I might not agree with what a fundamentalist preacher might be saying. Thus I go to church as “Christian Stoic” (and then when people ask me what I am I say I am a Christian Stoic – and then they haven’t the foggiest idea of what I am talking about).
During my life I have always maintained a fairly loose association with a Christian church and the Christian culture has always been an important part of my life. Moreover when I broke my back, going to a simple Christian service helped me a lot (after all Jesus himself suffered rather enormously). However I think I am like most modern people and I would really prefer the situation, if there were no miracles in the bible at all (i.e. I accept the scientific culture).
For me the important thing about life is that it must have a purpose. Thus you could say “my purpose” in life is “my God” (the purpose in life, as I see it, is partially described in my “Society of Choice – book” in my chapters 1 and 23).
In my “The Far Distant Future and Negativism” set of webpages, I define a more definite form of purpose for a society. (In particular the webpage called “Our Future ought to be – Our Purpose in Life”.) But this purpose mostly applies to a community or a society. My webpage called “Long-Term Safety and Human Goals” (from my “A path to Create a Space Colony” book) is also very relevant to this subject.
This picture shows how green communities can expand and still give an equal amount of land to wildlife.
My more recent webpage “The Nature of Life is to Expand” explains how anyone associated with living in a green manner can help with the expansion of life. But, to be sure you understand how this can be done, you ought to read all my webpages under me title webpage “Forming Green Communities”. This expansion can provide a “purpose in life”. But, of course, this expansion will not be easy – it will always be far easier to do nothing.
Another way of treating this subject is in terms of concepts. I, like most people, believe in the concepts of “truth”, “life”, “peace” and “love” and try to follow them in the usual ways. But sometimes there is a conflict between these different concepts. And then I will follow “truth” and “life” rather than “peace”and “love”. But most people will follow “peace” and “love” rather than “life”. But this subject is all very vague and contensious. I will not try to follow the subject any further. I am very happy for all people having their very own individual belief systems.
This picture might represent a Stoic form of life –
but I don’t think it is very practical.