Purpose

The below item is part of my "Conversations" series.

An atheist and a Christian in a rose garden

Deanna: I’ve never seen so many different kinds of roses before. It must be a pain to maintain them all. Why do you think the natural history museum does it?

Edna: I don’t know if it’s the museum itself or if the garden is technically part of the park that the museum is in. If that’s the case, maybe the city does the maintenance.

Deanna: That would make more sense. They’re definitely pretty, and I know people use the rose garden for weddings and quinceaneras.

Edna: Give credit where credit is due. It isn’t the city that made the roses to be pretty; God made them for that purpose.

Deanna: I don’t think so. The roses look the way they look to attract pollinators. That we find them attractive too is just a coincidence.

Edna: No, God gave bees the purpose of pollinating flowers, and he gave flowers the purpose of being beautiful.

Deanna: I don’t think so.

Edna: You don’t think that one of the functions of bees is to pollinate flowers?

Deanna: I wouldn’t say it that way.

Edna: Because saying it that way would be admitting that God exists, and I know you don’t want to do that.

Deanna: I don’t want to say things I don’t think are true.

Edna: Well, it’s true that the purpose of bees is to pollinate flowers and to make honey. It’s also true that only an intelligent being can give something a purpose, so if bees have a purpose, God clearly exists.

Deanna: That doesn’t prove God exists. I can give myself a purpose. I don’t need God for that.

Edna: You can’t give yourself something. That’s like giving yourself a birthday present — you’re not really “giving” anything.

Deanna: I can give myself a haircut.

Edna: You’re equivocating. A haircut’s not a real thing you can give to someone.

Deanna: It’s as material as a purpose. Even more so, I’d say.

Edna: You’re missing the point. A purpose is an intended function. Even if you can give yourself a purpose, a bee or a flower can’t because they aren’t intelligent and therefore can’t intend anything. Bees had purposes before humans even existed, so God must have given them.

Deanna: You’ve convinced me: bees have no purpose.

Edna: How can you say that? How could plants be pollinated without bees?

Deanna: Bees are necessary to pollinate some flowers, but you’ve convinced me that it’s incorrect to call that their purpose since a purpose can only be assigned by an intelligent being. Bees pollinate flowers because that’s the way nature is. Saying that a bee’s purpose is to pollinate is like saying that a boulder’s purpose is to roll down a hill. We shouldn’t assign intentions to acts of nature.

Edna: You can’t see even the possibility that the flowers were made beautiful for the purpose of pleasing humanity?

Deanna: At this point, I can’t even see the purpose of this conversation. Let’s just enjoy the garden and not worry about it.

 


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Posted on February 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Conversations

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