God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

Book Review: The Purpose Driven Life

Can an all-loving and all-powerful God possibly have reasons for allowing all the evil, pain, and suffering in this world? 

The Purpose Driven Life 
(hardbackKindleaudio book) by Rick Warren is a book that I have meant to review for quite some time now. I had heard about it when it first came out in the early 2000s and had heard both raving reviews and scathing critiques. It was not until my pastor at the time did a sermon series on it that it really caught my attention. Over the years I have referred to it here and there in my blog posts, and I believe that the time has come for me to give it a full chapter-by-chapter review from the perspective of a defender of the Christian faith. 

Some people have wondered why I decided to review The Purpose Driven Life considering it is not a book that is focused on the defense of the Christian faith. My reason is quite simple: Rick Warren makes the claim in this book that God has multiple reasons for allowing evil, pain, and suffering in our lives. This claim, if demonstrated to be correct, directly addresses one of the most common and emotionally powerful challenges to God's goodness, His power, and even His existence: the problem of evil, pain, and suffering. 

Initially, I had separated this review into multiple posts to keep the individual posts shorter, but it has been requested of me that I publish the whole review as a single post. This review will consist of my usual chapter-by-chapter summary format with my recommendation at the end; however, I have added additional thoughts for each part of the book between the summaries of those respective parts. I will include some of my initial impressions from years ago and reflections on the book's content that have bounced around in my mind from the last several years (including some of the theological critiques).  

What If God Is Removed From The American Experiment?

Atheists sound the alarm: Removing God from culture is dangerous! 

Warnings To A Godless Society

Earlier this year I highlighted the warnings of rejecting God, coming from the mouth of an atheist. Richard Dawkins saw the moral degradation of world society and couldn't help to understand that the world's rejection of God's existence (that he, no doubt, helped catalyze) has led us here. He warned that it would continue, and in recent months, America has certainly seen Dawkins' warnings come true. 

With the rejection of God comes the rejection of two important concepts that keep civilized society together: the existence of objective moral obligations and duties, and the existence of intrinsic human value that is grounded in our being created in the Image of God

With the rejection of the first, there is no objective "right" or "wrong," all thoughts, actions, and behaviors just are- they have no moral value whatsoever, and none can be correctly judged as "evil" or "good." Every evil act, from the "eugenics" promoted by Planned Parenthood's founder Margaret Sanger to domestic and international child sex trafficking, have become common in our world. Politicians, the media, and even everyday citizens often turn a blind eye to these acts because "who is to say that these acts are 'evil'?"

With the rejection of the second, there is no reason to think that humans have intrinsic value and should not be used however we wish towards our goals. A human's value is wholly constituted in their ability to contribute to an arbitrary purpose set by someone in power over them. In the event that a person has a goal of achieving career development or sexual pleasure, that means that if a child must be murdered or raped in order to achieve that goal, the rape and murder are not wrong because that child possesses no intrinsic value and, of course, the rape and murder are not evil because there is no objective "right" or "wrong," "good" or "evil" by which to properly categorize the rape or murder (or torture, or theft, etc.).