John 10:10 ~ "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly
A recent recent study has shown that having a greater purpose in life can stave off alzheimers disease. So says Dr. Patricia Boyle of Rush University Medical Ctr. in Chicago, IL March issue of the journal 'Archives of General Psychiatry'. On Chicago's WVON AM 1690's, The Santita Jackon show, Dr. Boyle reported that people with purpose live longer and healthier lives. According to ABC News the panel of Doctors and Scientists delivered the following:
"The tendency to derive meaning from life's experiences and to possess a sense of intentionality and goal directedness are associated with a substantially reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and a less rapid rate of cognitive decline in older age,"
Researchers in Chicago measured purpose of life of 951 older people who did not have dementia over an average of four years. People who scored in the top 10 per cent on the purpose of life measure were found to be approximately 2.4 times less likely to develop Alzheimers disease than those in the bottom 10 per cent.
Greater purpose in life was associated with a 52 percent reduced risk of Alzheimers, and those with a high score on the purpose-in-life measurement were 2.4 times more likely to remain disease-free than low-scorers. There was a 30% reduction in the risk of heart attack, among them with purpose and a 1.5% increased likelihood of remaining heart attack free as compared to those who scored low on the purpose of life scores. The panel defined purpose as follows:
a "psychological tendency to derive meaning from life's experiences and to possess a sense of intentionality and goal directedness that guides behavior"
Similarly, those who developed mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were older and reported lower purpose in life scores than those who were not impaired. They also had a higher number of depressive symptoms. They found that people who agreed with statements such as, "I feel good when I think of what I have done in the past and what I hope to do in the future" and "I have a sense of direction and purpose in life" were less likely to develop the disease than those who did not agree.
The Alzheimers Society responded to the information by stating:
'This study builds on previous research that suggests the way we live our lives can affect our risk of developing dementia. Scientists believe dementia is the result of a combination of lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors.
'However, more research is needed to determine exactly how this equation is balanced and whether a measure of purpose of life definitely has a role to play. One in three people over the age of 65 will die with dementia. Ahead of the election, we need commitments from all political parties for a prioritisation of dementia research funding so we can move forward in our understanding of this devastating condition.' ~ Andrew Ketteringham Director of External Affairs, Alzheimer's Society
This is a great issue on a worldwide basis. For example the Telegraph.CO.UK reports that there are approximately 700,000 persons with dementia in Britain and two thirds of them have alzheimers.
The Futility & Hopelessness Of Atheism
Atheist Bertrand Russell stated at least one fact correctly in his lifetime:
Former U S President James Madison said this:
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise"
Atheist debater Dr. Will Provine in a debate concluded his call to atheism by saying, "You live, you die and you rot in the grave. That's it. That's all there is to life."
So what does one do when it is realized that their is nothing that happens in the future? Only focus on the here and now, no matter what that here and now contains, simply be thankful for it, live and die:
Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one." ~ Richard Dawkins
Christians can be thankful because we know that God lives and that there is a future no matter what we go through. to whom are these men thankful and for what if there is no future, hope or expectation?
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."
~ Mark Twain
Then there are other failed atheist scientists who's premises are thoroughly discounted:
"When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life."
~ Dr. Sigmund Freud
Dr. Freud thought that removing oneself from religion (which is filled with teaching on understanding one's purpose, especially within the Christian context) that man would be somehow better off. Obviously current studies have proven him wrong in his most basic assertions and nothing is quite further from the truth. Christianity reveals the purpose of individuals and all of humanity. Within Christianity God reveals that every person has a significance and a place and there is no event in which God does not operate to the benefit of his people.
To Be Totally Honest
To Be Totally Honest
Even atheists themselves know that having a purpose in life is better than the alternative. They readily recognize Christians as being happy due to the purpose they have found. As much as they claim that Christinas and the religious live in a delusion, the fact is that many of them live in denial and make excuses for what they witness and minimize the joy found within Christianity and try to reason it away as if it doesn't matter:
"The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."
~ George Bernard Shaw
In spite of all his ignorance, at least Mr. Shaw admitted that the Christian is happier than the sceptic which is telling. Of course not all atheist will agree, but they cannot disagree with the thought prevalent throughout atheism that there is no compelling purpose to life and existence than what they assign to it. The naturalistic premise of evolution removes purpose from humanity, replacing it with blind chance, natural selection and the ultimate illusion of freewill and life.
The Christian Worldview Filled With Purpose & A Much Better Place To Live & Thrive!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 ~"To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"
Unlike those that hold to the mindless and blind chance of our being in the universe, the bible from it's first pages reveal that man is full of purpose and that the life and design of mankind is done at the hand of God himself. Jesus at the arc pinnacle of all human history came filled with purpose and not mere blind chance. Jesus came with purpose and intention. His purpose was to do the will of God and destroy the works of the devil
1 John 3:8 ~"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
John 4:34 ~"Jesus saith unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."
Jesus had a purpose (meat and to destroy the works of the devil). God has a purpose (will to save mankind from their sins). Within the Christian worldview everything and everyone has a purpose and a reason even if that reason and purpose is not so easily found and revealed. The Christian isn't required to know the reason and purpose of everything, but is encouraged to "trust" in the one who has designed all purposes for the benefit and blessing of the people. God has created purpose.
Jesus encounter with Paul was for a purpose. That purpose was to make Paul something that wasn't previously as he recounts:
Acts 26:16 ~ "But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;"
Further Paul understood that his purpose was to allow God to be so abundant in his life that the church would be further shaped and formed by God in him:
Ephes. 3:10-15 ~ "10-To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11-According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12-In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 13-Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 14-For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15-Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,"
God has purpose for his people and that purpose fulfills the lives and the hearts of all individuals and the purpose of each is vitally important.
The Christian worldview is filled with purpose, the meaning of life and the intention of God towards his people. Knowing that everything in life is meaningful and means something not only encourages the mind but is also beneficial for overall health of an individual. This is not merely psyching one's self out. This is knowing that there is a reason to life and living. The Christian worldview addresses the current condition of life and the future condition of living. God in his word does not allow life to end in a hopeless state and condition of nothingness, whereby all sin and evil are rewarded the same. Under the Christian worldview there is a reckoning of all things good and bad and evil along with unbelief is given it's reward.
In atheism, Hitler and Mother Teresa receive the same reward...NOTHING! The worst atrocities that have ever occurred among humanity go without any reconciliation or justice. The greatest gifts given to humanity are without reward. This is a depressing thought and one that the mind would like to forget, I'm sure...but that's atheism at it's finest.
For an atheist self directed purpose is an attempt to make meaning and purpose out of life. That's OK and efforts of all are good and essential to society. The computer we have, created and promoted by at least one atheist (Bill Gates) is a good and significant contribution to society. So the value of contributions are not in question. The results of what atheism contributes to overall well being of each individual is in question however. EVERY life has a much greater purpose and value than what is attributed to it by atheism. In fact the ultimate value is far beyond what we know and realize here on earth. I believe it's true connection to that ultimate purpose that is beneficial to our health both mentally and physically.
So is atheism responsible for alzheimers and bad health? NO! But forgetting and rejecting God isn't good for one's overall being mentally, physically or spiritually! We have TRUE purpose in Christ, and are better all around because of it!
1- Bertrand Russell, quoted in Rick Warren's, The Purpose-Driven Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), p. 17.