Three ways to live

Which is your way?

Randy Pausch and the meaning of life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 9:02 am on Friday, October 26, 2007

Randy Pausch, a 47 years old professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, has been recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has about 3-6 months left to live. He has recently made headlines with his brave last lecture, which has been watched by more than a million people around the world.

Apparently, the lecture has become an inspiration to many. I have just watched it myself, and it’s quite remarkable how a man can hold its own knowing he will be dead in a few months. But I am not inspired. Don’t take me wrong, I feel for the man, I think I can imagine what’s he is going through and I really admire his character. I am just not inspired.

In his lecture, Randy talks about achieving his childhood dreams, getting the best job he ever dreamed of, changing the world a little. But somehow, through his words I hear a different voice, that of Ecclesiastes,

What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.

There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered by those who follow.

Yes, he lived a nice and successful life, but so what? Who cares? He will be forgotten as were many people before and after him. His impact on the world would soon disappear. Whatever he achieved in research will soon become useless.

Here is Randy’s advice to us:

When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it. Show gratitude. Don’t complain. Just work harder. Be good at something, it makes you valuable. Work hard (Randy stayed late in his office even on Friday nights, which made him get tenure one year earlier). Find the best in everybody. And be prepared.

Some of it is common sense, but if I dare to translate this into my own words, it would be something like “I lived a meaningless life following meaningless rules, so should you”.

What do I think? If there is no God, if there is no life after death, this life and all that is in it are absolutely meaningless. We are made to spend eternity with Him. This life is a gift and we should not waste it. But how much greater is the gift of eternal life promised to us. And here is my advice: “Don’t waste your life being blind to the reality. Don’t kid yourself that you life means something by itself. It is nothing without God”.

40 Comments

53

Comment by nanie

October 28, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

I believe that for many who do not grasp the concept of an eternal existence after death, life here is all there is. So they need to enjoy every single moment to its fullest. And that enjoyment comes primarily with trying to be a better person and achieve self fulfilment. Basically moving to the apex of Maslow’s hierachy of needs. Can’t say I really blame them though.

For christians, we have the worldview that we are merely “foreign workers” in this land, and everything we do here is with a view of eventually returning home to our motherland (eternity with God). So we will spend our money and time wisely in a way that would give us the greatest rewards when we finally return home.

But for non-christians, there is no “foreign worker” concept. They are citizens of this earth and they either make it or break it here. There is nothing more to look forward to. So meaning in life comes from the here and now.

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Comment by Vitali

October 29, 2007 @ 9:03 am

That’s a nice way to put it, nanie, “foreign workers”. Tim Keller uses a more American term, “resident alien”.

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Comment by gummie

November 4, 2007 @ 7:56 pm

I have not watched the video. But it is not hard to imagine what it is like. When I struggled with the issue of death during my childhood, my own father told me that the entire meaning of life consists in achievements. What you achieve is what you are.

The gospel shifts the locus of the meaning of life from self to Christ. In a paradoxical fashion, we find our identity not in what we have done but in what Jesus had done. Or better yet, to use the words of Paul, He is our life.

While such a shift is biblical and indeed healthy in many respects, it is difficult to work out the implications of this for vocation/occupation/jobs/work. The world assumes that everyone works from the same motivation – Self. How Christians ought to display the gospel through the work itself is an area that needs more exploration.

I have heard Tim Keller on work, but I can’t fully buy the cultural mandate doctrine which seems to be the main engine running his theology of work. I love Tim, but I need more convincing on this issue.

Edward

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Comment by Vitali

November 5, 2007 @ 4:21 am

My own understanding of the meaning of life is not quite developed also. On the one hand, I see the futility and meaninglessness of Randy’s advice, but on the other hand I am seemingly living my life the same way he does – trying to do excel at my job, provide for my family, etc.

Tim Keller’s sermons on work are helpful and provide more answers than many other sources but they do not provide all the answers. I guess it’s an answer God didn’t want to clearly reveal in the Bible. Redeemer church has recently started a Center for Faith & Work, which tries to go much further and apply these principles to particular occupations, such as marketing, education, law. I find these extremely helpful.

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Comment by PS

November 8, 2007 @ 11:53 am

It was nice to see a commentary on the video. I just fumbled across on the net and started watching.Though, watched a little bit, I was searching on his website, infact, he is thanking his church.I am sure, God will take care of him and his family.I’m not sure, if he has let out his personal belief known to the entire world.

Interesting comment to read.

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Comment by Anonymous

November 22, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

i have the same feeling, i feel sad for the thousands that think he is a inspiration to themselves.
for i think if Randy could live a little longer he would see it is not about him or his life but it is all about eternal life with God.what we do here on earth as far as business accomplishments is not going to amount to squat. it is our relationship with a God who guides us why we are here and the reltionships we have with others while we are here. this is world is a prepping ground for heaven. if none of that makes sense. let me say if it was my last day on earth i would tell every one that would listen that they need to seek the Lord our Savior!

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Comment by reformationrat

January 27, 2008 @ 8:15 pm

I am reminded of a quote from G.K. Chesterton: “The person who is really in revolt is the optimist, who generally lives and dies in a desperate and suicidal effort to persuade other people how good they are.”

The efforts of this man to do something good for his family and others are commendable and evidence of the common grace of God. I surely agree with your reference to Ecclesiastes, however. Ultimately, no matter how impressed we are with the goodness of man, we must acknowledge that we fall woefully short of the righteousness required of us by God. Positive thinking, optimism and the like are tenants of the City of Man. A “Live life to the fullest, because you don’t know how much time you have” message is hardly hopeful once one is convicted of sin and despairs in that state.

Sadly, in an experiential error of the Church, such motivational talks reinforce our modern focus on man before God, and man as god, and turn us from the truths of Scripture.

I do not wish to make any judgement concerning this man’s soul as only God is that business; I pray that if he is not reborn already, that he will be before he dies. And may we remind ourselves that we rest not in our own righteousness and identity, but only in the righteousness of Christ and our identity within Him. Amen

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Comment by Kevin Lau

March 24, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

I failed to find that Professor Randy is a Christian. but it is almost impossible not to give glory to God under his circumstance if he is Christian.

I am going to show his video to my bible study group. and ask them is this man going to heaven? or how do we differentiate the Christian to non-believers.

My answer is
we admit that we are sinners and not good. Nothing we can do to redeem our sins and save us from the punishments. We are helpless. but Jesus reach out to us, saving by receiving the blood he shed for us, we will be saved. Jesus will become our righteousness. In our hopelessness, we receive our only hope, Jesus.

P.S. it is really sad to see many Christians can’t see the difference.

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Comment by Christa Pearcy

April 7, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

I want to commend you for your website blog. Finally! I was just shown this clip and agree with you 100%!!! His clip frustrated me as well. If he truly believed in God/Jesus, he would have mentioned it. I completely agree with you on what he says about how to live life as well. There are so many things I would love to say to him but he does not leave his email on his website. May I just say this…it is better to know that you’re dying sooner rather than later. What I mean is, I have a lung disease that I was born with. Short of a car accident, etc, I pretty much know that the odds are in favor of me dying that way (unless the Rapture comes first). In other words, it is much harder to suffer longer and live through hope and grace, than to live long not knowing and only suffer for a little while. I can’t wait to get to heaven!!! The sooner the better I see it! Hence why he fears his death so much and feels the need to talk about it around the world!!!

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Comment by Anonymous

April 9, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

I watched Mr. Pausch’s “Last Lecture” and I agree with a lot of what you say, but I seemed to interpret it in a different way. As a Christian I have found that in this world we can learn lessons from others, including non-christians, but it is how we apply it to ourselves within Jesus’ teachings that count.

Mr. Pausch’s message was simply encouraging people to dream and to help others achieve their dreams.
He did not make mention of God, but just the same God stirred something in my heart while I was watching. Listening to his key points I was reminded that God wants us to dream, to succeed, to accomplish things beyond our wildest dreams.

So many people in today’s world have given up on dreaming or even believing that they can have any kind of a better life–whatever that may be. I find that to be a very sad fact and evidence that our world, including many Christians, suffer from a severe case of “unbelief”. We are afraid to dream, to acheieve because we are afraid of disappointment, but the truth is “all things are possible through Christ”. Mr. Pausch’s lecture encourages people to dream, but I take that a step further and remember that God is actually the one gave me that capability and the one who makes those dreams come true. God dares me to dream everyday. By walking closely with Him I know I will realize my true potential and be fulfilled on this earth–and there is nothing wrong with that. God will use that for His good. Think of how many people in our history were overwhelmingly successful in life and how God used that to speak to the world and to help others. The fundamentals are the same, but as human beings we have to be careful who we give the credit of our success to.
The points Mr. Pausch used in his lecture are very true, and anyone can be encouraged by them– including Christians. The difference is that Christians know that the glory should go to God and not ourselves.

I do not know if Mr. Pausch is a Christian, but as a previous commenter stated, it is not for me to know. That is between him and God and not for us to speculate. I agree that if he is a Christian it is sad that he has not made any mention of God’s works in his life. This would be the perfect time to give glory to God and pass on the gospel to others. However, we as Christians should not be putting it out for debate or a vote on who thinks he’s going to heaven and who thinks he’s going to hell. That is not our job. I have prayed that if he has not accepted Christ yet in his life that he will do so before his time here is over.
God gave us the ability to dream, imagine, succeed and achieve. He loves us all and wants us to use those abilities. I know first hand that God works in mysterious ways, so perhaps He is using Mr. Pausch to work in one of those ways?

–Rachel

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Comment by Anonymous

April 9, 2008 @ 11:06 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis. The “easy thing,” which is the thing which almost everyone has seemed to do, is to laud such an admittedly interesting and exceptional man for his grace and optimism in facing death. What a great “feel good story.” The harder thing to do is to judge this man in terms of the eternal questions — what is meaning, what is truth, what is this life all about, what is the next life all about, etc. This sort of “Christian” analysis, however, is precisely the sort of thing which would be unpopular, since it would extinguish everyone’s gushing fascination with this man. I think that your reference to Ecclesiastes is very apt. In the end, all that counts is our relationship to God and the extent to which we have lived our lives on earth in accordance with His will. However, I doubt that this sort of testimony would garner as much fanfare and fame as Randy’s humanistic heroism in seemingly facing death head-on.

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Comment by mare

April 10, 2008 @ 7:35 am

I have only just heard about this Randy fellow in the last week. Then, last night I watched him on Diane Sawyer, in hopeful expectation that I would hear a man give credit to the Lord Jesus Christ for his strength and peace. Obviously, I was sadly disappointed. Sadder yet was how I felt when I looked at Randy and saw what looked like panic in his eyes at times in the interview. Let’s face it, he is being remarkably strong in his own strength, but I am sure he has moments of despair in his private thoughts.

Only God opens the eyes of a man, not one of us would come to him on our own. Let us all, in these final days and weeks of Randy’s life pray that God would open the eyes of Randy’s heart and that he would know Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. It is impossible to think that he knows God. Our greatest command is to love HIM with all our mind, soul, heart and strength. If Randy already believed this it would be impossible to leave it out of his parting thoughts to his family and friends. Please God, reveal yourself to this man, prepare his heart to open the door!

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Comment by MARCELLA

April 25, 2008 @ 9:32 am

HE SEEMS ANGRY WITH GOD. HE SAID HIS FATHER WAS THE MOST CHRISTIAN MAN HE EVER KNEW YET HE GAVE NO MENTION OF GOD IN HIS LAST TESTAMENT FOR HIS CHILDREN.(OR ANY OF THE TELEVISED INTERVIEWS) IT SEEMS HE WAS BLESSED WITH SUCH INTELLIGENCE HE COULDN’T ACCEPT THAT GOD-NOT “KARMA” IS IN CONTROL.
LIFE’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE MEANINGLESS WITHOUT GOD IN YOUR LIFE. THAT IS ONE LESSON I FEAR RANDY PASCH MAY REALIZE TOO LATE.

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Comment by Connie Lasko

May 6, 2008 @ 9:25 am

Randy,
Just finished your book, through tears. I lost my father from cancer, but I was fortunate to have him for 42 years. My heart goes out to you and your family. You all will be in my prayers.
I live everyday with CMT, which has me using a walker or scooter and I can relate how you don’t want people feeling sorry for you, you want to live everyday to your fullest.
Friends and family really can be a blessing and help out, but I agree you still need your family time for just the 5 of you.
I have a cousin that was not to make Christmas 2006 and in a couple of weeks his wife and him will celebrate 50 year anniversary. He has brain/lung cancer.
Have the best of the last.
God Bless,
Connie

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Comment by Stephen Russell

June 22, 2008 @ 10:01 am

I too have a supposedly incurable cancer, so don’t take me wrong, but Randy Pausch is a big-time loser in my book! In his “last lecture” he rather proudly announces that he won’t discuss anything religious or spiritual. Well, that pretty much means he has learned nothing of real value in his 47 years. If I ever have opportunity to give my “last lecture”, you can bet it will address first and foremost Jesus Christ, who is above all, God Most High. This Randy guy may be dying, but that does not make him an expert on death. Jesus, on the other hand, is the only true “expert” on death, for He both died and raised Himself back to life, and He alone has power over death. I feel sorry for this Randy Pausch guy, not because he is dying, but because he is dying without knowing Jesus, and evidently thinks very little of Him (if he thinks about Him at all). This guy is but one of a long list of persons who think they know something, but who actually know nothing of eternal significance. The secular world may praise him, but then they always praise their own – those who say what they want to hear. In this case he is telling them they can face death bravely without having to acknowledge the reality of God. Randy simply has no clue as to as to what he is talking about – perhaps he should have stuck to his area of expertise. He is not ready for death, and his after death experience is going to be a real eye-opener! I hope that he somehow comes to realize that he is spiritually bankrupt, and comes to know Jesus as his God and Savior.

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Comment by Edward M. Sunshine

June 25, 2008 @ 9:08 am

My wife and I have been following Randy Pausch’s story for some time and we give our hopes, prayers and support. Randy Pausch is not heroic, not Godly, he is a man who is trying to share his life’s experience with others in the hope that they may learn from his mistakes and triumphs.

Mr. Russell, who are you to judge anyone, Jesus Christ was just a man like any other – that has been proven many times over.

Mr. Russell, you are free to believe in anything as you see fit, but do not impose it upon others.

Mr. Russell, in your eyes I may be the biggest offender of them all – I am a Jew and I value my religious freedom very much.

Everyone in life has a path to where they want to go and everyone is at a different point in the path.

Do not judge someone for who they are, especially when he is doing something very noble.

Randy Pausch has raised some very nice children, he was loving to his wife, good at his job and has secured enough money and investments to make sure that his family lives well after he passes on. He is not perfect, but do give him credit for being responsible and dependable as well as kind.

I would us other words for you Mr. Russell, but I would not degrade the quality of this blog – Mr. Russell you should be ashamed of yourself.

Edward and Cynthia Sunshine

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Comment by Louie

June 28, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

I have listened to the audio book and also have the hard copy. It is a good listen but, I also am saddened that he does not acknowledge the Lord at all. I do not know the man and cannot judge him but, since I also teach at a university I know many scientists who do not believe in God because of “Science”. Well, it is because of God that we have Science and as Dr. Francis Collins in his book “The Language of God” states, this is much to complex to have just have happened.
I hope Randy comes to know the Lord if he does not already and that although he may have achieved his childhood dreams what a pity if those dreams turn into a nightmare if he does not go to heaven.
I know that many of you who are not believers might ask, If there is a God why is he taking this man away from his family? The Lords ways our not our ways. I am praying for Randy and his family and that all this will go to the glory of God.

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Comment by Stephen Russell

July 5, 2008 @ 11:52 am

Hello again,

I would like to respond to Edward M. Sunshine’s comments.

SUNSHINE: My wife and I have been following Randy Pausch’s story for some time and we give our hopes, prayers and support. Randy Pausch is not heroic, not Godly, he is a man who is trying to share his life’s experience with others in the hope that they may learn from his mistakes and triumphs.

As I believe many persons have concurred, Randy Pausch’s big mistake is that he apparently knows nothing about God, for he does not mention or acknowledge God in any way. Therefore he is simply promoting a godless view of existence. So if there is a God, then this Randy guy has totally missed the boat (and has therefore said nothing of eternal significance). And those who follow his example will make the same eternal mistake: that is my (our) objection.

SUNSHINE: Mr. Russell, who are you to judge anyone, Jesus Christ was just a man like any other – that has been proven many times over.

Jesus was not only a man; He also showed Himself to be the King of Israel – the Almighty God. And I am not judging anyone, I am simply agreeing with God’s judgements concerning those who refuse to acknowledge Him. If you are a Jew, then you should be familiar with the statement, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” How can you listen to this “Last Lecture” video and not perceive its implied proclamation, “There is no God”?

SUNSHINE: Mr. Russell, you are free to believe in anything as you see fit, but do not impose it upon others.

Jesus, who is the Messiah, is the one who reveals and imposes God’s truth upon the world. All will stand before Him at the judgement. I have the power to impose nothing.

SUNSHINE: Mr. Russell, in your eyes I may be the biggest offender of them all – I am a Jew and I value my religious freedom very much.

Yes, you are free to believe as you choose because God has given you that freedom. Please realize that I am not your enemy, but Jesus is your Messiah (and Israel’s King) and you need to submit to Him. (And becoming Christian does not mean you must reject your Jewish heritage.) And if you were a truly religious Jew, you also would be “offended” by the godless philosophy in this “Last Lecture” video. There is no mention of the need to pursue God or His holiness. A truly devout Jew would likewise object to such a godless world-view. But I believe your real objection is to my continued mention of the name “Jesus”. Well, all I can say of such an objection is that one of us is right and one of us is wrong. For either I am right in magnifying the name of Jesus as Messiah, or you are right for rejecting Him as Messiah. We will each have to answer this before God. As for me, my conscience is clear. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us.

SUNSHINE: Everyone in life has a path to where they want to go and everyone is at a different point in the path.

And God judges those who reject the path of righteousness. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is very applicable here. According to Jesus there are only two paths, the right path which leads to eternal life, and the wrong path which leads to destruction. Most people are on the wrong path. This “Last Lecture” video does not point one to the godly path.

SUNSHINE: Do not judge someone for who they are, especially when he is doing something very noble.

Leading men astray (even if unknowingly) is not a noble task. Are you not familiar with the words of the prophet Isaiah?
“Oh My people! Those who lead you astray cause you to err.”
Or as King David wrote,
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
It is not me who will be doing the judging, but rather God. Why did this video not discuss such things? Could it be that this guy does not know what is truly important?

SUNSHINE: Randy Pausch has raised some very nice children, he was loving to his wife, good at his job and has secured enough money and investments to make sure that his family lives well after he passes on. He is not perfect, but do give him credit for being responsible and dependable as well as kind.

He is simply a worldly man giving worldly advice. A truly wise man would have given godly advice.

SUNSHINE: I would us other words for you Mr. Russell, but I would not degrade the quality of this blog – Mr. Russell you should be ashamed of yourself.

I am only ashamed of not having spoken of my Lord and King more convincingly. Speak of me as you see fit.

Stephen Russell

PS. My heart goes out to all those who do not know God. I too am potentially facing a very painful and protracted death by an incurable cancer. I do not wish such suffering on anyone, but to not know God -specifically to not know Jesus Christ – is to have missed out on the most important truth in human history. Mr. Sunshine, please reconsider your current rejection of Jesus as Messiah. And not to enrage, but to provoke thought, please consider the following question. If the worship of false gods by the nation of Israel caused a 70 year ejection from the land (during the Babylonian captivity), what on earth could Israel have done about 2000 years ago which would have caused God to eject them for almost 2000 years? I think something of profound significance occurred in the nation of Israel about 2000 years ago. Have you no clue as to what it might have been? What ever it was, it had to be very upsetting to God.

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Comment by John Feltman

July 25, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

I am happy that Randy was happy with his philosophy predicated on time being the most valuable commodity.I hope he was happy with it in the last seconds of his life. I really don’t think he was because I agree with your very eloquent presentation of your analysis of Randy Pausch’s thoughts about life without God. Time is only one of four dimensions used by man to give specific chronology to earthly existence which measured against eternity is nothing because beyond this earth and its universe,there is no time because there was no beginning (From a conversation I had with Albert Eistein in 1954). Incidently, Einstein believed in a Supreme being and thought that Jesus Christ was the most brilliant philosopher that ever lived.And God ,the perfect creator. Eistein’s own failures to solve the Universal theory brought him closer to his understanding of just how complex our own existence is
and why it is beyond the comprehension of mankind.
As a Christian and one who has lived with Science most of my life,I can only hope that God will forgive Randy for being blinded by his own importance measured by a time that does not exist in eternity.

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Comment by Catherine Coy

July 25, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

For those on this thread who are grappling with cancer, I implore you to visit this website avail yourself of the gift of Guided Imagery for healing. Surely, it is God’s gift, too.

http://www.cancerwarsmaarsjourney.com

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Comment by Steve

July 26, 2008 @ 6:05 am

Unfortunatly the message that Randy gave is no different than the message that the majority of the Christian churches give, a positive, practical way of living life. That’s why so many Christians would listen to it and say how wonderful his message was, it’s the same message they hear week after week.
May we all go back to the cross where we find the true meaning of life, the reason why I forgive, love, commitment. Christ loved me so much that he purchased me by currency of His blood. I love and give up my life because I see that being done for me at the cross. I commited and driven to this goal of self denial and love becasue I see Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross and despised the shame…for us! Man the cross is everything.

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Comment by rafael

July 26, 2008 @ 10:04 am

PROSECUTION
Is there a God? I will not try to say yes or no to this question. Rather, I will make this place a law court. I will ask you to be the judge, and I will be the prosecutor. The work of a judge is to make decisions, to approve or disapprove the truth of statements; the work of a prosecutor is to present all the evidence and arguments that he can possibly gather. Before we proceed, we have to be clear about one fact: all prosecutors are not eyewitnesses of crimes. They are not policemen. A policeman may personally witness an event, whereas a prosecutor obtains his information only indirectly. He places all the charges, evidence, and arguments collected before the judge. In the same way, I shall present before you everything that I can possibly find. If you ask whether I have seen God or not, I would say “no.” I am reading or demonstrating what I have gathered. My job is to search for facts and to call for witnesses. You are to arrive at a conclusion yourself.
THE UNIVERSE
First, looks at nature, the world that is before our eyes and every phenomenon in it. We all know that scientific knowledge is the rational explanation of natural phenomena. For example, there is an observed drop in the temperature of a patient. The drop in temperature is a phenomenon, and the explanation for it is scientific knowledge. When an apple falls from the tree, it is a phenomenon. Why does an apple not fly into the air? The explanation for this phenomenon constitutes knowledge. A man with knowledge is a man who has the proper explanations.
ONLY TWO EXPLANATIONS
The universe displays countless phenomena of diverse forms, colors, shapes, and nature. We cannot fail to notice these phenomena before our eyes. The explanation for all these phenomena is known as knowledge. All thoughtful persons have only two explanations as far as the origin of the universe is concerned; there is no third explanation. You have to take one or the other of them. What are these two explanations? The first says that the universe came into being through natural evolution and self-interaction; the second attributes its origin to a personified being with intellect and purpose. These are the only two explanations presented by all philosophers of the world. There is not a third one. Where did the universe come from? Did it come into existence by itself or through chance? Or was it designed by the One from whom we derive the concept of God?
CHANCE EVENTS
What are the characteristics of things that come about by chance? First, we know that they are unorganized. At the most they can be partially integrated. They can never be totally organized. One can achieve a specified goal by chance once, but he can never achieve a specified goal by chance all the time. Anything that comes together by chance can only be integrated partially, never totally. For example, if I throw this chair to the other side of the room, by chance it may come to rest at a perfect angle. If I do the same with a second chair, it may also lie neatly beside the first one. But this will not keep on happening with the third and the fourth and so on. Chance can only provide partial organization. It does not guarantee total integration. Furthermore, all random interactions are aimless, disorganized, and purposeless. They are without order and structure; they are loose, formless, disorderly, and not directed toward any meaningful purpose. Briefly, we can say that the characteristics of chance events are disharmony, irregularity, inconsistency, purposelessness, and insignificance.
CONSISTENCY AND ORGANIZATION
Now let us compare the things in the universe with these characteristics. Take, for example, the human being. He is carried in his mother’s womb for nine months and delivered; he grows up and eventually dies. This cycle is repeated for every single individual. Consistency can be observed. It is not a wild game of chance. Again, look at the sun above your head. It does not exist purposelessly. Rather, it has its purpose and significance. Look at the moon, the stars, and the myriads of galaxies through your telescope. Some stars have their own planets. They all follow definite tracks and patterns. They are all organized. Their manner of motion can be calculated and predicted. The calendar in your hand is derived from them. Even next year’s calendar can be printed before this year is past. All these show that the universe is organized, consistent, and purposeful.
MICROORGANISMS
Let us turn to the micro-world or quantum mechanics. Take a thin slice of wood. Put it under a microscope and observe its grain and structure, all meticulously regular and rhythmic. Even a blade of grass and the petal of a flower are finely fashioned. Nothing is unorganized or confused. Everything is disciplined and functional. All these things witness one fact to you: the universe, with its macro (the whole universe and galaxies) and micro aspects (quantum), is purposeful and meaningful. Can you say that all these came into existence by chance? Surely you cannot.
CHANCE OR DESIGN
The universe has to be created by someone with profound wisdom, vast knowledge, and intricate design. If you cannot accept the concept of random formation of the universe, you have to admit that it was created by such a God. There cannot be a third explanation. The choice is left to you. You have to decide if the universe came by chance or whether it was created by God.
A DEMAND AND ITS OBJECT
One witness may not be enough. I will call in another. This time we will consider man’s heart. Before doing so, we should also observe one fact: wherever there is a desire, there must first be an object for that desire. For example, an orphan who has never seen his father naturally has a desire for a kind of paternal love. I have asked many people who were orphans, and they all have felt this irrepressible yearning. By this we can see that every desire of the heart arises out of an object in the world. As human beings we have a need for social belonging. We need companionship and mutuality. If you put a boy on a deserted island and he grows up alone, he still has the yearning for companions, for beings like himself, even though he has never seen a human being. This yearning or desire is the very proof that somewhere in the world there is something known as “man.” At a certain age, man begins to think about posterity; he starts desiring children and grandchildren. This is not a mere fantasy. This desire stems out of the existence and possibility of offspring. Hence, where there is desire, there is an object for that desire.
THERE IS GOD IN THE HEART
Do we have any desires other than social identity and self-propagation? What other cravings do we have? Deep in everyone there is a craving for God. Whether they are highly civilized races, such as those among the Caucasians, or the ancient civilizations, such as the Chinese civilizations, or the African natives and uncultured aborigines, they all have a common craving –God. As long as they are men, they have a yearning for God, no matter what race or nationality. This is a fact. You cannot argue against it. Everyone is seeking after God. Everywhere man is craving for God. This is very clear. By applying the principle that we just mentioned, we can see that since our heart feels the need for a God, there must necessarily be a God in the universe. Since there is a need for God in the heart, there must be the existence of God in the universe. If no God exists, we would never have such a craving in our heart. We all have an appetite for food. In the same way, we all have an appetite for God. It would be impossible to live if there was only an appetite for food but no food. Likewise, it would be impossible to live if there was a capacity for God but no God.
NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT GOD?
Once, an atheist rudely rebuked me in a loud voice: “You said that a man has the psychological need for a God. But there is no such thing, and I do not believe in it.” I said, “Well, do you mean to say that you never think about God? In fact, even while you were talking, you were thinking about Him. This indicates that you do have a capacity for God. There is no one who has never thought about God. He may try not to think much about Him. Since this thought is in you, there must be such an object outside of you.
“THE WORDS AND THE HEART”
A young man once came to me to argue about God. He was vehemently against the existence of God. He gave me one reason after another for saying that there is no God. As he was enumerating the various reasons why God should not exist, I listened to him quietly without saying a word. Then I said, “Although you insist that there is no God and support yourself with so many arguments, you have lost your case already.” He said, “What do you mean?” I went on to explain: “Your mouth can say as much as you want about there not being a God, but your heart is on my side.” He had to agree with me. Although one can give all sorts of reasons in the head, there is a belief in the heart that no argument can defeat. A stubborn person may give a thousand and one reasons, but you can have the boldness to tell him, “You know better in your heart that there is a God. Why bother to look for evidence outside?”Now what would you say? After looking at nature and the universe, after checking with your inner feeling, it is up to you to decide whether or not there is a God. But you should not be irresponsible; your attitude must be sober because everyone has to meet God soon. One day you will all stand before Him. Everything concerning you will be laid bare. On that day you will know God. But now is the time for you to be prepared. We should all be prepared to meet our God.
Finally is there is a God. Who is he? Who among the most ancient religions claim to be God’s son?
As well there must be a written record of God and God’s son. Among all the ancients’ written records is there such a book?

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Comment by Ken McKnight

July 26, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

Thanks for reminding me why I have been an atheist for over 40 years. Your pretend sky-fairy story is not going to change the fact that this life is all we have, and at the end of it we die. Your wishful thinking can’t change the facts. I know I have only one finite life and that makes it meaningful beyond anything you will ever know while clinging to your delusion.

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Comment by Tony

July 29, 2008 @ 12:42 am

Hi Ken. I really truly hope you’re happy clinging to your pretend knowledge of whatever you think life is for you. If you believe that life is finite then suit yourself. Maybe someone can give you a scratch-and-sniff sticker for it.

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Comment by Frank E. Doney

July 29, 2008 @ 3:03 am

I haven’t heard the whole lecture but from the parts I did hear it sounded like a lot of meaningless platitudes. I guess that’s why the last lecture is so popular with the world. It’s what we do for Christ that gives life meaning. Everything else is vanity.

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Comment by Jane

July 29, 2008 @ 4:44 am

I couldn’t have said this better:

“I haven’t heard the whole lecture but from the parts I did hear it sounded like a lot of meaningless platitudes. I guess that’s why the last lecture is so popular with the world. It’s what we do for Christ that gives life meaning. Everything else is vanity.”

If he is a Christian and Christ is out of the picture in his “journey of achievements”, he had indeed misled many. Many who thinks they can live to “their fullest”, leave a “legacy” without God.

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Pingback by Life’s Meaning « Say It Isn’t So

July 29, 2008 @ 11:37 pm

[…] July 30, 2008 · No Comments I felt moved to blog about Randy Pausch, the university professor whose “Last Lecture” has been all over YouTube and TV. But this post sums up my thoughts pretty well: http://www.3waystolive.com/2007/10/randy-pausch-and-the-meaning-of-life.html […]

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Comment by Marina

July 30, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

I agree with most of you. His leacture was not inspiring it was an explanation for his life; good, hardworking, satisfying. I am glad he lived a good life, but sad that he did not believe in God. If any one of you is looking for an inspiring, life changing book, my advise is for you to read the “Bible” and “Success through a positive mental attitude,” by Napolen Hill. God bless and God help to those who don’t believe in Him and then see Him face to face at the end of this wondeful journey on planet earth. :)

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Comment by Sue Turnage

August 16, 2008 @ 9:02 pm

It is so easy to judge, to sit back and pontificate, as if we know it all. We do not. You do not. Randy Pausch was an accidental celebrity. He did not ask for this notoriety. His “Last Lecture” was meant to be for his students and collegues– those who knew him. It was recorded so that his children would have a record of what their dad “did”… to be seen again one day when they were older and could understand. The lecture was posted on YOU TUBE and now, more than one million people have viewed it.

Randy Pausch was a believer. People close to him have attested to this. Because he did not share his faith as others would desire does not change anything– God has chosen to use Randy and his messages to reach us.

•John 15:5 I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit: apart from me you can do nothing…John 15:8… You should produce much fruit and show that you are my followers, which brings glory to my Father.

Open your hearts, and let God speak. The message isn’t always so obvious, and what we do with it is what counts.

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Comment by EDDIE

August 20, 2008 @ 11:21 am

Saddens me that people here are so quick to judge. For one Randy has inspired me on many levels. Second he is a man of faith. I have seen his lecture and I have read his book. He states in his book that he chose to not discuss his religous beliefs because he basically wanted to share universal principles that apply to all faiths. no wonder people are so turned away from christianity. Not saying I am not christian but because someone chooses to have different belief systems and philosiphies they are “losers.” Please! I have many friends and family memebers that are truly intelligent people and have awesome morals that are not christian. Why do christians think they have it right and belittle anyone who questions otherwise? I for one am open to all religions and all philosiphies. Some christians, not all, are so close minded. It amazes me that some of you were born into christianity and not questioned anything else. YOu follow something completley blinded, instead of seeing what else is out there.

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Comment by Heresyouranswer

December 7, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

Those who knew Randy know that he walked around claiming to be a “proud athiest.” Sorry to have to diminish his hero status this way, but the truth must be known. I hope and pray that he finally accepted Christ on his deathbed.

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Comment by Chris mankey

January 8, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

Well it’s good to see that Ted Bundy is heaven for being a believer and and Evil Randy Paunch is in hell for doubting the greatest love story ever told! Glory!

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Comment by Chris mankey

January 8, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

“Now let us compare the things in the universe with these characteristics. Take, for example, the human being. He is carried in his mother’s womb for nine months and delivered; he grows up and eventually dies. This cycle is repeated for every single individual. Consistency can be observed. It is not a wild game of chance.”

Yeah, Naturalistic order is “evidence of design ” in the mind of the befuddled believer who conflates order with “design” The fact nature is orderly isn’t chaotic show your bizarre inability to understand that Scientists don’t claim its chaotic to begin with.

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Comment by Carol McNiel

May 3, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

I was glad to find this particular post by searching on Google for more information concerning Randy Pausch. A friend has given me Pausch’s last book, The Last Lecture, to read to my father who had lung cancer. He thought that the book would be an encouragement to him. My father passed away before he could read the book, but it didn’t matter. Although the book contained some good tips, i.e. utilize a good filing system, manage your time etc, I found the book to be uninspiring because Pausch doesn’t acknowledge God as the Creator,and the giver of all wisdom. Although Pausch had many good qualities and a forceful personality, he did not seem to know the Good News of Jesus Christ who laid down his life that we may be reconciled to God the Father, and have eternal life. Reading the book has left me with a sad, empty feeling.

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Comment by Gerald

July 10, 2009 @ 9:39 am

It’s indeed worrying that Randy Pausch didn’t mention God in his speech. Please read a booklet by 19th century Bishop of Liverpool, J.C.Ryle entitled “Sickness”. It’s fantastic the way he explains the Human Condition, the meaning of sickness and suffering.

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Comment by Matt

September 11, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

Wow. A man tells people to live a decent life and not to worry too much and you condemn him to burn in hell because he doesn’t openly espouse a belief in Christ. One, that’s not very Christian of you. Two, his lecture was meant to be of use to people of all faiths and just creating further divides by telling people they are going to burn in hell would have been a failure in that respect nor would it have been useful (except to those Christians who have taken it upon themselves to judge everyone else while not tending to their own lives). Three, I don’t want to believe in a God that would have a positive view of all the finger wagging that has occurred in the preceding comments. Shameful.

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Comment by dallas360

November 10, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

Just a comment to Ken McKnight – sorry you do not see that this life was given to us by God. Every breath we take. I am aware of the God who loves me deeply – He has made his Spirit known to me in a special way that has changed my life – which He gave me!

Yeah life can have some pretty hard things — it can especially be bland when we do not include God in it. God is gentle and will not force your free will — even at the end of your life Ken you will be given a choice — do you who came into the world not of your own free will — and left this world not of your own free will want to spend eternity with a loving God? That is the question you will be asked over and over until you choose — call it purgatory call it “hell” if you like — but God will not force you to do anything — he will attract you and invite you to the glorious banquet the reward for your loving Him and others on earth — your “try out” to make the team so to speak — I have to say to you Ken — even in the difficult times when I do not understand what is going on — I still have that love of God in my heart — and there is growth and beauty even in the difficulties and worst things of life —
I also have the advantage of praying for you – not saying this with any superiority or anything — what I have been given in Jesus and the Father and His Holy Spirit is priceless and I will never let it go and I will share it with as many people – (peacefully – lovingly) as I can because it is too good to keep quiet about !!! All the best blessings of God to you and others on this blog – Dallas360

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Comment by nimco

December 8, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

iam sorry that every thing that happen randy I just see right now the last Lecturs.

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Comment by sajht

April 12, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

randy is my hero

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Comment by john seraichyk

August 19, 2012 @ 1:43 am

I watched Randy on Oprah – Doctor Oz sat by her side and there the optimized “medical man” of America sat helpless, dumbfounded, foolish with all his pedigrees and media hype, he or no other silly man could give Randy what he thought he needed…I pray for Randy and ask Jesus as I sit here this morning to touch his loved ones “resident aliens” left behind to prayerfully come to know Christ…Hopefully while upon the mount of his dying steed he uttered those soul redeeming lyrics; “save me Jesus” from this body of death, you died for me, I never lived for you, but like the thief on the cross I beg you lord salvage my soul

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