Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birds Tweet - Humans Think

Even in the electronic universe of tweeting, blogging, facebooking and instagram, some degree of critical thinking should exist. And it is perfectly okay to use more than 146 characters to express your thoughts.

On some days, the biggest problem we face might be finding an outlet or usb port to recharge our smart things. In fact, there really are bigger, more critical events than getting things recharged. Some questions deserve rational thought and investigation.

How did we get here?

Are we products of random molecular interactions or the creation of a Master Designer?

Why are we here?

Is the "pursuit of happiness" limited to self-focused enjoyment or does "happiness" have a larger meaning we need to explore?

Can one person make a difference?

In a global environment with billions of people in residence, what does it matter? Really?

Does TRUE TRUTH exist?

In a society where science claims to be truth, and those who disagree with anyone about anything are labeled "haters," how can effective and meaningful dialogue still occur?

Where are we going?

When we exhale for the last time, do we simply become a pile of chemicals or does that part of us called "life" continue?

Are these valid questions with real answers, or simply pixelated rhetoric?


99 comments:

  1. In regards to the question concerning whether true truth exists, I believe that the possibility of effective and meaningful dialogue occurring in our modern society is slowing diminishing. Technology is rampant in our world today, leading to rapid communication where a person does not fully evaluate what they are saying. The depth and value of language has greatly decreased. In the past, a word such as "hate" or "hater", would not have been so commonplace in our daily dialogue. "Hate" is defined as hostile actions motivated by intense dislike or prejudice. Many Christians in our modern society are being labeled as "haters" for sticking to our beliefs that are outlined in the Bible. People on the opposing side of controversial issues have their own set of beliefs and those who contradict them are labeled as haters. Why is it that some people are entitled to hold their own opinion and beliefs, but other people cannot, in fear they be labeled as a hater? Unless our society realizes that we live in a world where not everyone is going to follow the crowd and accept every new thing/issue/idea/belief, we cannot have meaningful dialogue because every conversation will be an argument rather than regular discourse. Society needs to realize that we live in a diverse world with diverse people and beliefs and, although we might not agree with what the other people believe or stand for, we need to take their beliefs into consideration and not automatically label them as a hater of our particular beliefs. I believe being informed of what is going on, as well as having more face-to-face contact rather than contact through text and media, are also key to having effective, meaningful face-to-face dialogue.

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    1. I saw Noah the other day and I was just reading an article on how some atheists are taking the recent influx of Hollywood movies based on biblical stories as an attack on atheism. A couple of months ago, I read something else about how certain atheists think that saying "Happy Holidays" is thinly veiled Christian normativity, because Christmas is really still the main winter holiday in the US, culturally, and this particular atheist was saying that when people said "happy holidays" to him, it seemed like what they were really saying is "you should be celebrating Christmas." It's funny, because I know a lot of biblical fundamentalists got kind of mad that Noah has a lot of extra-biblical events in it, fallen angels, and Noah being so psychologically damaged. And probably a lot of the same people who complained about Noah would say that "happy holidays" is the secular world trying to "take the 'Christ' out of 'Christmas.'" I think everyone sort of feels like they're being attacked sometimes and some people (fundamentalists, new atheists, any other extremists) are particularly defensive about it. I'd guess that the people who are most defensive are the people who are the most sure they're right.
      I'm someone who tries to never be sure, I really value listening to people and attempting to understand them, I think being sure about something would make me tend to shut people out. So I agree with you that it's important to take other peoples' beliefs into consideration but it's important to understand that when talking about something with someone who believes certain things about it strongly, a lot of what is said will fall upon deaf ears. I think people become militant after that because it's so important to all of us to be heard.
      In my experience since the time I've chosen to not believe anything, in favor of listening, I've come to find that truth really is more subjective than most people realize. I think technology and the extreme amount of worldwide connectivity in the present day just makes us more aware of that, and if we're not careful, makes us overly defensive towards the people who don't disagree with us, whose presence we are suddenly hyperaware towards. Technology isn't to blame here though... our decision to close our ears is.

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  2. I believe that we are here to love and be loved. God is love and wants to share his endless love with all of his creation. If we were created in his image then we too must be beings that want to love and be loved. When we love and receive love it makes us happy. Does that mean that love is the source of happiness? Well I believe that the pursuit of happiness is not supposed to be sought after for self-satisfying enjoyment but the pursuit of happiness is seeking for God who is love and pure happiness. Once we understand our calling to love and be loved then our happiness will be found in serving others, serving in gratitude for the love that God has for us.

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    1. I agree with you. God has intended us to love one another, just like He loves us. To answer your question, I believe that love is a source of happiness, but not the source of happiness. I believe that there are other sources of happiness that God has given us, including love. I believe that god wants us to be happy in life, whether that means being loved, loving another person, or receiving love from God. People want to find happiness in today's society and will do or try anything that will make them have be happy. God has called us to love Him and to love others, so that we will receive it just the same. With this love that He has provided, we are to serve Him and give Him the glory and praise. Pursuing happiness can be found in love and in God, but it can also be found in friendships, family, and other relationships.

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    2. I agree with you both, Julie and Megan. You both brought up wonderful points. I completely agree that love is a source of happiness, but not the source of happiness. I feel that joy plays a factor in love and loving others. Who we surround ourselves with, and how we spend our time dictates our ability to love, in my opinion. Happiness is found by combining all of what God has provided for us, including joy and love.

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    3. Jessica Siraganian-HarrApril 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      Agreeing with all three of you. But to take a challenging approach on this topic, I feel like the true appreciation for God, life, joy, and happiness is to accept that there are going to be challenging times with God. Not everything is going to go right in life whether its in a relationship, friends family and God included. Life has its ups and downs but working through them with Christ is what brings you to true appreciations of life's and its lessons that God throws your way. Through touch situations when you want to push God away the most you learn that God always pulls through for you. Through the heartache and lessons you gain appreciation of life, with appreciation of life and trust in our creator you find your happiness.

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  3. The way technology has taken over our everyday lives is troubling to me. Today, even if someone wanted to live the "simple" life, it would be unrealistic. If I randomly decided to not use my phone at all for an entire day - I would miss out on important calls from my boss, calendar events that I may have forgotten, and would be unable to communicate with someone to meet up with them or anything of that nature. As much as I hate to admit it, we rely heavily on technology to function. Everything that varies from internet, cars, and cell phones are what contribute to life as we know it. Try to imagine life without these three things. How would you get to work without a car? How would you communicate with teachers and students and relatives without email or cell phones? Even writing a letter requires a mail man who drives a car or AirMail that requires an airplane. The statement above that asks where we go after life is over is a statement that I wish more people asked. Technology to most everyone provides them a "perfect world." More specifically, a convenient world. Little do most people know, there is a world - after we die - that is more perfect than we can imagine. Technology provides an outlet for people to rely on apart from their own abilities. Unfortunately, I think that technology becomes our biggest idol and a high deterrent from God. Where do we go after our last breath? I am trusting God that I will go to heaven. Again, trying to imagine a life in heaven with no technology and things we are so reliant upon is hard to see. But if I can imagine it, it is wonderful. I am excited that heaven exists apart from this world. Because for it to be the heaven of the God I believe in, it has to exist apart from this world.

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    1. Mattie, I definitely agree with you when you say that our world had become very dependent on technology. I too think it is sad because of the fact that it has distracts us from spending good quality time with God or being active as his hands and feet in the world. It is a good observation when you say that life with technology has become a life that is dependent on gadgets and devices to make it through the day when we should be relying on God. Here are some of my ideas on what to do when we seem to get caught up in the world. First off, I would pray for guidance and knowledge on how to use technology for God's kingdom. Technology can be very good and can help spread the word and love of God we just have to figure out the right balance. Another thing is to look at what technology you use and if it is for enjoyment or practicality. One way to step out being too attached to technology is to let go of some of your enjoyment technology. Also the comfort of technology sometimes prevents us from being uncomfortable as Christians. When were Christians ever called to be comfortable when there is hurt in the world?

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    2. Mattie,
      This is a great post that definitely got me thinking. I like how you took the question about where we go after life and related it to a prevalent concept in our modern society--technology. I completely agree that we have created a perfect, little, convenient world for ourselves where we are comfortable and complacent. You are right---technology has become our biggest and, in my opinion, the most dangerous idol. I find myself letting technology take up my free time when I can be devoting it to something much more productive. Technology has shifted our focus from God and onto the popular trends of today. There are so many new social networking sites, apps, and people have become so addicted to these because they have to be constantly updated about what is going on. We, as a society, definitely need to find a healthy balance between technology and our love for God. Instead of using technology so much for social media, we could use it in other ways that would actually bring glory to God. I can't wait until Heaven where there will be no more technology to consume us day in and day out! It will be different, but a neat experience!

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    3. Chelsea MarriottApril 1, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      I completely agree that our society today relays heavily on technology. I also believe in heaven, and trust and hope that when I die I will also go to heaven. I have mixed feelings about technology in relation to our walk with Christ. I think there are many ways in which technology is helpful, for instance, having a bible/devotion app on your phone, or having cars to go places to further the kingdom, or having way to communicate with others and have resources to build stronger relationships with those not immediately surrounding us. However, I agree that technology can also become an idol and distract us from God. With technology all around us, I believe it is up to the individual to choose how to use it. Technology is in no way bad, but I believe it needs to be used wisely.

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  4. Can one person make a difference?

    In regards to this question, I do believe one person can make a difference. There are numerous historical examples of this from Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Thomas Jefferson, to Rosa Parks, and Abraham Lincoln. Even in a current world that is overpopulated, one person can still make a difference--whether it is good or bad. Consider the popular icons of today's world who have made a difference in our technology outlet, entertainment world, etc-- Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg to Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Lady Gaga. Obviously all these people are just "one person". and they have all made a difference in some way or another. I believe that we all can make a difference, big or small, in our immediate and global communities at large. It doesn't matter what class you are from, what ethnicity/race you are, or how well articulated you are---who you are as a person, how you live your life, and how you stand behind your standards, will set yourself apart from those around you who are merely conforming to general society. As believers, we already set ourselves apart by the way way we believe, the morals and standards we standby, and the way we apply our biblical beliefs to common, everyday situations. All it takes for a revolution to happen is one person to take a stand and not conform to their situation. The Bible says straight and narrow is the way to Heaven and broad is the way that leads to destruction--as believers, we are walking the straight and narrow way--we are taking a stand and making a difference in the world we live in.

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    1. I completely agree with you, Chloee. One person can make all the difference. If not a world-wide known difference, the impact that one person can have on another human being is incredible. I liked how you gave examples of famous historical figures who have made positive and negative impacts in our world. I think too often when we think about the difference makers in the world, we only think about who impacts the world in a world-changing sense. However, seeing your examples of Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg, and Miley, were interesting because they have changed the way we live. I think an important think to remember, is that there are influences all around us in our everyday lives that are impacting us in great ways. We need to be aware of not only the positive influences, but the negative and impactful routines or people we include into our daily lives. I like how you ended your response by saying "narrow is the way to Heaven, and broad is the way that leads to destruction." This is so applicable to our lives in regards to positive and negative influences. The world is tossing us into the mix of bad music, TV, and other temptations that Jesus warns us about. It is much harder to resist the way of the world and take the narrow path. But if we do, how much more rewarding will that be? I believe it will be worth every struggle and strife we ever encountered.

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  5. Chelsea MarriottApril 1, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    “Can one person make a difference?” I believe that in a world full of some 7 billion people, that indeed one person can make a difference. I like to believe that making a difference is a chain reaction. One nice person does a good deed and that person repeats the good deed, and that continues on others and eventually will reach all 7 billion of earths inhabitants. I think trying to make a difference in one person’s life can affect many others and I trust that if everyone is trying to change one persons life, that can have a domino effect and really make a difference in the world. But what does this matter? I know that 7 billion people is a lot of people, unimaginable really, but making a difference has to start somewhere and through a ripple effect I believe one person can make a difference in this vast world.

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    1. Hello Chelsea, This is a very positive approach to "making a difference" in the world, but I cannot agree with the fact that if one person does a good deed, it will soon reach 7 billion people. There are somethings that we just cant do by ourselves. In a sense, I guess what you're saying could be achieved if this was through a organization. But by ones self, I don't think it is possible to make a difference by a single person doing one good deed.

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  6. Chelsea MarriottApril 2, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    “Why are we here?” This is a loaded question and will differ depending on whom you ask. Ask an American why they are here and they will most likely quote the constitution with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence). Ask a random person on the street why they are here, and they might answer, “to have a family, be able to provide for them, and be successful.” Then I asked my roommate why she thinks we are here on earth, and she said, “to expand the kingdom of God.” I think my roommate answered this question perfectly. I think that happiness is gained when favor is found in the Lord, and this is achieved through expanding his kingdom here on earth. I think that it is easy to focus on worldly things to achieve happiness and think that is our purpose in life or why we are here. But in the end, those things do not sustain our happiness or there is always more that can be wanted or achieved and happiness in the Lord never changes and that is why we are here: to be a light to the world. As the Lord’s Prayer says, “they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

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    1. Chelsea I have been thinking a lot about this lately and I completely agree with you. Expanding the kingdom of God is why I think we were created to be here on earth. I don't think God is concerned with the outer appearance but looks at the heart. This is especially true when it comes to science, because even though God shows himself through scientific discoveries, he views are actions on this earth as more important and looks past the disputes that occur in the scientific world. However, science is still important and can be used for the kingdom of God.

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    2. I completely agree with you, Ryan. God is NOT concerned with our outer appearance because, at the end of the day, we were all created in His image.
      I also think that in our society, some disputes about science are specifically said to go against the word of God. I agree that God shows himself in scientific discoveries. This is very true.

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    3. Chelsea, I assume you are a Christian after reading your response, but I believe you should ask yourself, why are we here to expand the kingdom of God? What I mean by that is, why do we exist? There is no one better at converting people to become follower of God than God himself. (Conversion of Saul) Also, does God necessary need us? I don't believe so. This baffles me every time I think about why we exist. I don't think we'll ever figure out why God created as in the first place. As an omnipotent being He knew the outcome of Adam and Eve, and He knows everything that has and will ever transpire on Earth, but yet He chose to create us. Why?

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  7. The question why are we here is not a simple question to answer. Some think that we are here to simply live life and then die. I have a hard time believing we are that simple of beings. I believe we were created for a purpose and each person has a different purpose. I believe we were made by God in order to worship him and further his kingdom here on earth. Many people have a hard time admitting this because they see the bad in the world and can't see life on earth as a blessing. They see it as a curse and in turn they curse God for letting havoc reign on earth. But havoc does not reign on earth. It exists on earth - but it does not reign. There is a religious thought called deism that believes that God created the earth, but saw it was evil and then he stepped back, let it run, and watched without interaction. I disagree. I think God is alive and working here on earth and that he works through us to complete his work. So going back to the question: "Why does God let bad things happen?" I think it is because we chose evil. When there are bad things on earth and harsh temptations that we have to face, we must rely more on him and trust his hand in our lives. Imagine a perfect world where nobody had any trouble, there was no sickness, and no war. Would God be able to miraculously heal? Would He be able to comfort the hurt and provide for the hungry? Would we be able to demonstrate His love to others the way we do and praise Him through the ups and downs? If there was not evil in the world, God would have no need to interact on earth. There would be no heaven, because a perfect world existing apart form evil is the definition of heaven. Heaven would be on earth, which is not the way it was ever intended to work. There is so much to say about why we are here on earth and why we were created. The most basic answer that it all comes back to? We were created by and for God. His purpose and His glory.

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  8. In response to the "Can One Person Make a Difference" question, I believe that it is important for one person to stand up and make a change. Even if it is something small and insignificant, without someone first choosing to make that change, nothing will get done. Say someone shows unnecessary kindness to someone on the street and that precedes a lot of other events that eventually lead to something much larger than was intended. The original "do-gooder" may not have known that something large was going to come from that but without the first initial action, there are possibilities that the outcome would have never happened.

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    1. Can one person make a difference? To first answer this question there has to be clarification of what making a difference is. For me making a difference is making progress in a positive direction leading toward a truth, big or small it doesn’t matter, but shining light on any situation will bring progress. The truth I’m talking about in truth of God. Having a closer relationship to God happens because of the progress made or is the progress made, both are the main idea. So can one person make a difference, yes. It might not be exactly what we would envision it to be or it might not be as much progress as we hoped, but if you are living a life to benefit others with a sound heart, soul, and mind then God will work something good out of it. One example that I experienced was on a mission’s trip to Mexico. After being at my site for a week and interacting with kids from a local church I felt as though being there for only a week I had done nothing worthwhile of sticking or making an imprint on a the group as a whole. Even though I had had so much fun and had made some good friendships I didn’t feel as though I could have really made a difference worth anything. However, on the way back to camp on the last day my team and I were debriefing and were talking about how we had done our part, done what God had called us there to do, we were there to plant the seeds. Just as we finished up with those thoughts it started to sprinkle/ rain for about 3 min. It was God telling us that we had succeeded and had done our part; he would take it from here. My point is that we are making a difference in the world every single day of our life by just being ourselves and obeying God’s command for our life. We may not get to see the end product but one person can start a chain reaction. Any idea or action has to start somewhere. One person makes a difference in the world by doing their part in the kingdom.

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    2. I completely agree with what you are saying. One person can definitely make a difference. Every great idea, invention, or thought was started by one person alone. The essential part in this action is to actively find followers who will support your ideas.

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  9. In response to the "Where are we going question?" I believe that the answer to this will simply just stem from one's beliefs. Different religions believe different things and since there is no way to scientifically prove whether any religion is correct, there is really no way to prove whether life after death is true.
    In my opinion as a Christian, I completely believe that life after death is a plausible belief. We learn about heaven as Christians and that although one might no longer be with us here on Earth, they are still living an eternal life in heaven.
    But as I stated previously, everyone can hold their own beliefs to the subject and I would not state whether they are right or wrong. I would simply input my own opinion.

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  10. In regards to "Can one person change the world". I do not think it is possible for ONE person to change the world. I think it is really complicated for someone to try and reach 7 billion people. Now to be completely honest, I do not think that ONE person can change things for the better, but I think that ONE person can change the world for the worse. In all honesty, I think it is so much harder to do good for the society individually. I cannot think of one person who changed the world ever since I was born on this earth. If there were movements in the world, It would always include a GROUP of people. People who can work together to make a stance, or change the world. People who actually agree with one another. As much as I do not want to include mass murder in this topic. Sandy Hook elementary victims are left devastated by the actions of one person, thus spreading to the whole nation. and that is the world being informed about an individual who did wrong to the community. People still remember. But there are 7 billion people on this planet. On only a few outside the nation know about this situation.

    If someone wants to make a difference in the world. I believe that it takes more then the actions of one to make it happen

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    1. I think that in order to make a difference in the world, once can in fact make a difference because if one person does not do an action to begin a chain reaction of other actions, there is no way to ever get anything done. In order to build a building, someone first needs to vision what they want for the building. If the person who first starts the process of making this building decides not to, then the building won't get created.

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  11. "Can one person make a difference?" I believe each person has a specific purpose. It is impossible to go through this life without an interaction with another person. These interactions can make a difference in someone else's life even if we don't realize it. In other words, we may believe that we have made little impact but our words can make a difference even if its positive or negative. God created us with a specific purpose to ultimately advance his kingdom. If we keep this mindset we can be more open to what God has called us to be and face this world with a specific purpose and make a difference in his name.

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    1. "Can on person make a difference?"

      I really enjoyed reading your response to this topic and I found myself agreeing with many of the ideas that you had. I think that one person can definitely make a difference, whether it's a big difference or small difference, whether it's a difference on several people, or just one. I also agree with what you said about how each person has a specific purpose in life. God has created each and every one of us with a specific goal/purpose. As you said, He created us with a purpose to advance his kingdom. If that isn't our ultimate goal, then what is the point of making a difference? We are called to share the Word and try to make a difference and bring people to know Christ. You are right, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to go through life without some sort of interaction with another person. With that being said, it is very easy to have butterfly effects take place. You might make a difference in someone's life through another person. An example of this would be maybe showing a random act of kindness to a complete stranger. They could pass on this kindness and it might end up changing a person's life. Making a difference doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be through direct interaction. Also, as Christ followers, I feel as though many of us think that we are too small to make a difference. We think that there are too many people and that we can't make any difference in the world, but this is not true. Even if we are able to make a difference in one other persons life, that still counts for something and it could be a huge difference for that one person.

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  12. Can one person make a difference?

    I believe that one person can make a difference. Yes, working in a group can be beneficial, but I have believed that without one person making a difference, then we would have not come as far as we have in today's society. God planned our each, individual lives because we all have a purpose on this planet, whether or not we have figured it out yet or not. We may not think that we don not have a purpose on this planet, but we do. Everything that we do benefits ourselves or others around us, even if that means it is a positive or negative impact. One person can make a difference in this world because or she believes in different ideas and concepts that another person may not believe in. A person may have different thoughts or points of view when it comes to school-related work or any other form of opinion in regards to communicating with another person. By having this different opinion or thought, that person made a difference to the other because of a different perspective. God intended for us to be different and unique, therefore one person can make a difference.

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  13. To ask why we are here is to come face to face with the fundamental problem of humanity. Science might be able to tell us how we came to be or how to extend our lifespans or improve our quality of life, but who cares? To me, if science could refute every word of Scripture, it would make no difference. I want to know why I exist; I couldn’t care less how I came to be, I’d rather find out why.

    Christians might say that the purpose of our existence is to further the kingdom of heaven, but what do they mean? I suppose they mean increase the number of people that inhabit “heaven,” but all that does is negate human existence on earth. If our focus is solely on a presumed afterlife, what really is the purpose of our life here, on earth? I may accept the doctrine of Christianity as truth and believe Christ died for my sins, but then what? If my whole life depended on making a decision that would get me into heaven, then after making that decision, I might as well just kill myself. Heaven seems to offer pleasures exponentially more fulfilling than any here on earth, so why not just end this futile existence early and reach my destination sooner?

    To ask this question is decidedly human. No other living organism on earth questions its existence the way humans do. I take this to mean that humanity was created in the image of something divine, albeit with divine limitations. Humans were created to think, but there remains one more obstacle, one humanity was not designed to overcome. This obstacle is the question of existence.

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  14. How did we get here?

    In regards to this question, I personally believe that we were created in the image that God made. In the Bible, it states that we are created in God's image, man and woman He created us. Because God created us in His image, He also created everything else. That includes molecules, atoms, matter, and the list goes on and on. Without all of these items, God could have not been able to create us. But since He created all of the atoms and molecules that make up a human being, He created mankind in all of His glory. So in a sense, we are a product of both molecular interaction as well as God being a Master Designer. By there being a Master Designer, then that means that the designer created molecular interaction. I believe that God created the science behind the person since He is the Master Designer.I personally believe that God gave us science because He knew that we would make something of it, including molecular interaction. Without the work of God, i do not think that any science theories could arise from man's brain. God gave man the tools to use to make something of His creation, but God is still the one behind the scenes.

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  15. First of all, I love the title of this post. Because I do think this generation has forgotten, at least a little bit, that humans DO think outside of platforms like Twitter and Facebook. And these thoughts don't have to be reduced to or bundled up in 160 characters.

    The notion of "True Truth" has been weighing on me for quite some time now. Because on one hand, I want to passionately believe 'YES.' I believe God is good and alive and loves the people He created. But I also recognize that just because this is my true truth, doesn't mean it is anyone else's. I can't force someone to agree with my idea or definition of truth. I think meaningful and effective dialogue occurs when we all respect each others truths. You don't have to agree with them - there are many lifestyles I don't 'agree' with or think are healthy to live. But, I can't make them agree with what I believe. I must respect that they are living the truest version of their true truth that they know how to. And I must love them.

    - Natalie Lance

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    1. I absolutely agree and identify with this. I think that it is so easy to believe that there is one truth, and one truth only. In most of my Bible and Theology classes, we always reach the point in lecture when the professor begins to describe the author and dates of the given text. Without fail, most every book I have ever studied in the Bible has an "unknown" author/date. Much of this has to do with the fact that the text is ancient, and difficult specificially identify. But the fact that the very thing that we call Holy Word is not bound by fact and reason speaks volumes into the idea of truth. It is nothing we, as humans, are capable of grasping! I believe that God encompasses the entirety of truth, and there is, in fact, a true truth. But we can never begin to understand or overcome it.

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  16. In regards to the question concerning whether one person can make a difference, I’ve noticed the question does not specify whether the difference is positive or negative. In a world where the advancement of technology allows us to communicate to people in a global scale, I believe it is very possible for one person to make a difference. Anyone can make a difference, the not everyone can make a significant difference in a global environment with billions of people. I believe it all depends on where you are born into. This is very circumstantial, and people who can make significant changes are mostly the privileged ones, who are born into First World nations. We have access to advanced technologies, and educations, which are not available in most places, and we rely on those technologies to create a significant difference in today’s world

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    1. Masaki,
      I would have to agree with what you pointed out about not specifying whether the impact is positive or negative. I did not really think about that but now I wonder. With the advancement of technology and power of the upper class in society today, the shift in making a difference can go both positively and negatively. I believe that in order to make a difference, you really do need to have connections or a team I guess you could say. Living in a first world country, we have the opportunity to make a difference because of the technology, the money, a motivated team and connections to many other countries as well. Do you think this puts more pressure on us to act and make a difference or does it comfort us knowing that "hey I COULD make a difference, but I don't need to because I have everything right here".

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  17. "Are we products of random molecular interactions or the creation of a Master Designer?"

    This question can vary from person to person, depending on your religious background. As a Christian I believe that I am a part of God's Master Design. He is the master of design and the master of art. He created the skys and the seas. He created each and every one of us in his image.(Genesis 1:27; So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them) We might believe that we are too messed up and that there is too much going on. But God has a plan and a purpose for our lives. There is this mystery about God that makes it difficult for many people to understand because in reality, no human mind can fully comprehend or fathom all that God is. In simpler words, if there is a creator, then there is a God. To look at this creation that we call earth and people and think that it just came into existence is absurd. This world is a beautiful place and it is all in direct relation to God and the master design that he created!


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    1. Kenzie,

      I really enjoyed reading your response to "Are we products of random molecular interactions or the creation of a Master Designer?" I think this is a great question because as a Christian, my answer is 100% to the idea that we were products of a Master Designer aka God. As a Christian, this is an easy answer for me, but there are many people who do not believe in God and think that we are products of random molecular interactions which is just so weird/interesting to me. Things are not able to just appear in the world, something/someone had to have created us, our Creator. I really liked how you included the Bible verse, Genesis 1:27 because it says that God created us in his image. You could even talk about how all of Genesis 1 how it talks about God creating all.

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  18. No one person can make a difference. The slogan that Obama used in his campaign was “Hope for Change” but he couldn’t do it by himself with the help of others such as his family members and board members and the community he was able to make some change. There are other examples of people who made change through the help of others.

    It matters because they are using the earth’s resources. It can cause the earth to deteriorate. Leaving us with nothing and eventually we will die off on the earth and the rest of living creatures will be there. There will be no human life on the earth after the earth uses all of its resources. This is shown through the History channel about life without any humans.

    We are right now going toward a technology innovative world. We are using the earth’s resources until the end of the earth. The part of “life” continues, there is such a thing as life after death and people say that we become a pile of dust but the spirit and soul inside us lives on. The bible clearly states in John 3:16 it says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This clearly shows that we don’t become a pile of dust and have eternal life. There are also other religions that believe in life after death.

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  19. Can one person make a difference?
    Yes. I think one person can make a difference. I think that if one person invests time in just one other person it can create a chain reaction. It can then change an infinite amount of people and make an enormous difference in the world. There are so many people in history who have changed the entire world because of what they have done or what they have imagined. Ultimately, I think all change starts with one person. Nothing will ever change if one person does not stand up and start it. One person has an idea and then passes it along to friends/family, then to a community and so on. Every person in this world influences other people, whether for good or bad. It is up to each person whether they want to make a difference for the better of the world or not. The unfortunate thing is that many times people do not realize the affect and difference someone makes until they have passed away. For example, my high school coach recently passed away and it was amazing to see how many lives he touched and made a difference in. Because of how many people he touched, people are now inspired to change people's lives like he changed theirs. And so begins the chain reaction. I think this chain reaction is rooted in our nature. When something good happens to us we like to share it with others, and this is exactly what happens when someone makes a difference in our lives. We are then inspired to pass it along and change someone else's life. Not everyone can change the whole world, but each person can change one person's world.

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  20. Why are we here? Is the "pursuit of happiness" limited to self-focused enjoyment or does "happiness" have a larger meaning we need to explore?

    I think that everyone is striving for the pursuit of happiness. But this all depends on what your view of happiness is. Every human being is going to be on the pursuit of happiness because we have a hole in our heart that only Jesus can fill. Our society is a very materialistic one so naturally people are going to pursuit what gives them the most happiness. For me I believe I will always be in the pursuit of happiness, but not in a secular way. I will always strive to make myself better. I also see the pursuit of happiness like a success story. My success in life will bring me happiness. How I want to live my life away from how my parents think will be my true pursuit of happiness. I do believe the pursuit of happiness is a self-focused enjoyment because even if you are serving good and that brings you happiness you still have to be serving selflessly. Because if you are serving to be rewarded or to feel a certain way then you aren’t serving selflessly. Everyone will have their own idea of the pursuit of happiness because happiness means differently to other people. I know I will be truly happy when I am able to move out of state and be able to provide for myself.

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    1. I’m not so sure success translates into happiness. I’m a fairly happy person but I wouldn’t say any of my happiness stems from personal success, quite the opposite actually. Any success I have had has faded rather quickly. For instance, I was aiming for a certain score on my SAT and worked hard to ensure I’d get that score. When I received the score however, all my hard work seemed empty. I’d spent weeks studying only to feel like I wasted my time. Sure, I got the grade I was hoping for, but so what? I could’ve spent that time with friends or family or helping people in need, etc.

      In stark contrast to the notion that success equals happiness, another example might help. I went to a relatively small private high school and played football and basketball. The other schools in the area had at least 2,500 students compared to our 600, and had bigger pools to draw from when it came to athletic teams. Needless to say most of our athletic teams lost to the bigger schools, but our football team probably had it the worst. Of the four years I played, we probably only won 6 or 7 games total. In other words, we were not a very successful football team. This lack of success never left the team feeling “unhappy” though.

      What I think is most important to point out is that happiness is a choice. You can’t always choose your environment or change the situation you find yourself in, but the way you react to your situation is always within your control.

      Also, this might not have anything to do with the rest of the post but I thought I’d give my two cents regarding finding happiness by leaving home. Perhaps it’s my extreme laziness but the idea of providing for myself leaves me feeling anything but happy. I’d rather not have the responsibility that comes with working everyday of my life just to have enough money to pay for a place to live and food to eat. Don’t get my wrong I’d hate to live with my parents my whole life but they keep me fed and I don’t have to pay rent. It’s a lot easier to be happy when I don’t have to worry about food and lodging.

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  21. How did we get here? Are we products of random molecular interactions or the creation of a Master Designer?

    I do not believe we are just a product of random molecular interactions. I do strongly believe there is a Master Designer who created us. There is no way that random interactions could have designed the human body like God designed with such incredible detail. The body is one thing, but how God designed the world is even more incredible. There are so many amazing things God created with such intelligence. There are countless Bible verses that can prove God is our intelligent designer. Genesis 1:27 states So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. John 1:3 states All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. Genesis 1:1 states In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Through these Bible verses this leads me to believe that we are not just some random creation. We were created with a purpose and everything on this earth was created with a purpose. There is no way that just random interactions would know the earth had to be a certain distance from the sun and that we would need water and food to survive. No random interaction would know how important the tilt of the earth is for survival. God had this all planned because he created us in His image with a purpose.

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    1. This is a very debatable topic that has created many troubles within Christians and non-Christians. We are taught in Biology (public schools) that we have evolved from monkeys and therefore we are considered ‘animals.’ Is it necessarily true we are 99% monkeys DNA? Why are we taught this? As I grew up in a public school all my life and then went to a junior college, I have been taught that we are on this earth from evolution (which I never believed). In my Fundamentals Biology class in junior college we were taught this as well and our teacher called us animals because as we were growing in our mom’s stomach, we had ‘tails.’ This raised many of questions for the class and I was the one student thinking about Gen 1:1 and how God created the earth and knows us BEFORE we are created, because he created us in His perfect image. I have no doubt in my mind that God knew us before we were created and I know that he has a purpose for each and every one who believes. I also believe that Gods word is based on faith because you have to have faith before you could believe where you came from. As debatable as this topic is, I have no doubt in my mind that God is the creator of this Universe and everything he created is perfect. But why are we taught evolution in public school?

      -natalie loflin

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  22. Why are we here?

    In response to the question regarding the “pursuit of happiness,” I believe that in our world today this phrase has become the mantra to self-gratification. The pursuit of happiness is often synonymous with materialism, success, power, and the dream of the “good life.” Most individuals believe that happiness is gained through the amount of things that can be acquired through their lifetime. Whether it be recognition, fortune, love, or whatever else pleases the individual, they believe that once that is achieved they have received ultimate happiness.

    However, it has been proven time and time again that these things do not provide joy as people expect. Most of the time, they come with heartache, misery, and loneliness. So why do people keep pursuing these things? I believe that it is because they do not understand or have come to know what true happiness is. True, uninhibited joy can only come from one source. The idea of “happiness” is much larger than the material needs and wishes satisfied in this world. It requires vulnerability, openness to relationships, and knowledge of what is true in this world. Truth is not found in the seen, but in the unseen.

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    1. Maggie, I love this! I absolutely agree that happiness "requires vulnerability, openness to relationships, and knowledge of what is true in this world." Essentially, I suppose happiness is oftentimes found in being uncomfortable. Being stretched out of one's comfort zone, being open to being hurt by another, and realizing the vast world behind what is explicitly in front of us may be the key.

      I remember the first time I decided to spend a week on a missions trip to Mexico. After enduring sickness, dirt, and heat, I came home experiencing something I had never felt before: pure peace. Although I had not seen it at the time, only by being willing to travel out of my comfort zone was I able to truly experience happiness. And so, though comfort may lead to immediate happiness, or feelings similar, these are ultimately fleeting, and it may benefit a soul more to see pain to grow.

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  24. Why are we here? Why were we made to live as beings of existence on this earth? Is happiness the answer? Oftentimes, it is easy to believe we are here to play a role: mother, father, sister, brother, friend..etc. Others think we are here to fulfill some sort of destiny, or to perform a task. But among the myriad of possibilities, every person seems to be chasing one thing: happiness.
    However, whether this is spurred on by self-focus or not is a much more complex question that it may seem. I know a vast amount of individuals who find happiness in the happiness of others. My grandfather, for example, never lets me leave his house without some token of what he thinks will make me happy. Whether that be a free calendar, bag of rice, or set of pens that have been sitting on his desk for years on end, he always seems to feel the need to give. Now, whether this is due to the nature of Asian culture or not, it seems to me that in order for him to be happy, he wants me to be happy. I cannot explore his moral compass, or capacity for joy, but this causes me to wonder if happiness can happen without thinking of others, or if it maybe involves more than simply oneself. Maybe happiness cannot be found alone.

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    1. I completely agree with your thoughts on the differences in the pursuit of happiness. Each person is so unique in the ways in which they perceive happiness. No matter how each person defines their happiness, I think it is important to know what true joy encapsulates.
      I completely agree that happiness is not something that is found alone. I believe that in relationships is the best way that we can discover joy. Being in contact with other is the most enriching and fulfilling way to explore what makes you happy.

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    2. I agree to your comment. I believe that happiness is found through others. I found my happiness hanging out with friends. For example, when I first came to APU I met my roommate and my hall mates. I thought I would have a hard time making friends, but my roommate and hall mates was very welcoming and very kind. The Pursuit of Happiness shows how happiness is found through family. The movie is very emotional and the joy is shown through the relationship between the father and son.

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  25. Why are we here?

    Many different people have different interpretations regarding the "pursuit of happiness". I believe we were put on this earth to make it a better place. I have discovered that helping people is the secret to happiness. Every summer I travel to Mexico to visit the orphanages and it truly is an enlightening experience. Being able to have a positive impact on someone is one of things greatest an individual can do. God has called us to love people regardless of our differences and doing missions work is only one way of achieving this.

    Finding happiness is very important because it allows us to have a purpose in this world. If we only focus on ourselves then our appreciation for other people decreases. This results in a bad attitude that is unhealthy and not pleasing to God. Finding happiness by loving people is what I believe why we were created to be on this earth.

    -Ryan McCourt

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    1. I agree that everyone has their own definition of the pursuit of happiness, but I think it ultimately means “having freedom in life.” Like it is stated in the Constitution, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” has come about through a Christian perspective just like the Flag Salute, “…One Nation under God…” which basically has defined our freedom: the pursuit of happiness. The founding fathers have created this nation as a nation under God, however, others believe differently. This is something that has been changing America with all of the rules and regulations that we have to follow and now schools are not participating in the flag salute anymore. I agree that our happiness in through God, and God alone. In order to live a completely happy life we must obey Gods word and follow his path. I believe that in Jesus Christ this is where we find our TRUE pursuit of happiness

      -natalie loflin

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    2. I like your perspective about what makes you truly happy. I have experienced joy from working on mission trips too. I also have a passion for Mexico and I love going down there to help in any way I can. There is something to be said about how you feel after you have helped someone with every intentions of glorifying Jesus with your actions of service. Anyone can help someone, but the feelings of joy after helping a person in need is greater when the action is done with selflessness. I am glad you experience happiness when helping others because we are called to serve.

      Brooke Gerlach

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  26. Can one person make a difference?

    In a world with billions of people, it is hard to believe that one person can make such a mighty difference. Even with all the role models, icons, and difference makers in our world today it is hard to believe that we could even leave a small mark on some part of our world. However, I believe that making a difference is relative. It all depends on what your view is of the world. I believe that every interaction you have makes some impression or ripple in the world. This can seem incredibly overwhelming, but I believe that it is exciting to think that your mark never truly disappears.

    It is so important to many people to make a difference in any way that they can. I know this need personally and it is one that is a powerful motivator. Instead of being discouraged when it comes to the gravity or extent of your mark that will be left in the world, it is important to think of the quality of the effect you will have. Every person has the chance to make a difference, even in everyday activities and interactions. It is up to them how they use that time.

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    1. I would agree with Maggie. I think every decision can cause a ripple. However, I don't believe every ripple makes a big enough stir to create change. Decisions are part of every day life and if every single one created change, things would constantly be transforming. This isn't the case. Decisions that are made with the intent of creating change, create change. Decisions that are made in the organic day to day, cause ripples, but aren't necessarily world changing.

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  27. In the question of "Why are we here?" it also asks "Is the "pursuit of happiness" limited to self-focused enjoyment or does "happiness" have a larger meaning we need to explore?" I found these two questions to be very thought provoking. I think that happiness definitely definitely has a larger meaning that we need to explore and is not limited to self-focused enjoyment. As Christians, I believe that we are called to serve others and serve the church. I think that doing selfish acts doesn't give us the happiness that we would experience while helping others and being able to share our love and pass it on to others. I think that God has called us to love others just as He has loved us. Personally, I feel most happy when I am able to serve others and see others happy. That is where I am able to have true happiness. I think that this has a lot to do with why I want to be an elementary school teacher. I want to be able to pour into my students and see them shine and grow. I do believe that there are some things that we can do for ourselves to cause our happiness, but as Christ followers I believe we are sent here to make a difference in people's lives. We were not meant to just sit around and watch as life goes by. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so we need to go out and bring others to Christ so that we can all spend eternity together with God.

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    1. I agree with Danielle that the pursuit of happiness has a larger meaning than self-focused enjoyment. I think she makes a good point that Christians are called to serve the church and that this will give us happiness. However, I also believe that if we are to serve the church and find happiness from it, we need to be serving with the right heart. I think that we get the most joy out of serving others when we do not expect anything out of it and we do it solely for the glory of the Lord. I also agree that seeing others happy makes us happy. I think happiness is contagious so to see the joy someone else has brings joy to yourself. I also think that success in life should not be counted by how much material wealth one has or how popular someone is because true success comes from how happy a person can be. And true happiness does not come from wealth or popularity. True happiness comes from loving others as God loves us and being able to spread that happiness whether through serving or friendship. Whatever the case, the pursuit of true happiness is much different than the pursuit of material happiness.

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  28. Can one person make a difference? In a global environment with billions of people in residence, what does it matter? Really?

    I believe that a person can start a chain reaction. Everyone has a voice, and, if supported, their voice will be heard and passed on. I think that one person can make a difference in a community, and one community can make a difference in a city, and so on. My thoughts on this subject make me think of Jesus and His work here on earth. He was one man, and He made a difference in the lives of the people who were on earth then, and also our lives now. One man did it all for us so that we wouldn't have to. This question is as relevant today as it was when Jesus walked on earth.

    Just as an example, one person had to do research and come to the conclusion that paper bags were bad for our environment. That one person, passed on the message for reusable bags to be used instead of paper bags.

    One idea can make a difference, but it all depends on how loud your voice is.

    -Daniella Khatchetourian

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    1. I agree with your statement. Believe in science is also a faith. we should respect others' belief because everyone is created unique. we are shaped by the world. science could be wrong, there are also many aspects which need us to choose carefully. Science contribute in terms of material science. Science could not explain anything about spirit.So science can only be part of the pursuit of truth, not all of them.

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  29. How did we get here?
    I believe that we are products of intelligent design and that we were created by a creator. I believe this based off of my faith as well as off of science. Many people believe in the Big Bang Theory. But to me this seems a bit ridiculous because how can there be something out of nothing? There had to be something before to create the something. Things don't just happen out of nothing. Think about the world today. In order to create anything, you need materials to start it. Also, we are intricate and complex creatures. The intricacy and the way everything in our bodies alone work is amazing. We have a heart that pumps 24/7 and systems inside us that keep us alive without us even knowing. And the way our brains function and the complexity of them is much more than we can even comprehend. How could that have happened randomly or by accident? It would be like throwing a bunch of Legos down and them randomly creating a perfect and complex structure. The world is also a complex and creative place. The number of animal species we know of plus the number of unknown ones, how can all of them happen by accident? Everything in nature works to support itself and thrive with the world around it. That doesn't happen out of chaos. That happens out of a plan. Also, if the earth was a little bit closer to the sun or a little bit farther away life would not be able to survive. The chances of this world falling perfectly into a place where it can support life by accident is rare if not impossible. And finally, if we are just random molecular reactions then life has no purpose. What is the point of our lives if we weren't even supposed to be here in the first place? But if we were created by a creator then our lives have a purpose. We were made by someone and for something and because of that life is worth living. So yes I believe that we were created and not just random accidents.

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  30. Jessica Siraganian-HarrApril 18, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    Think about it. When one person influences a few others, there are two major effects:
    1. A ripple effect that, over time, can actually impact thousands over generations.
    2. A broadening effect since one person influences many, like multiplying tree branches.
    Think about all the people you may have had an impact on in your life. Employees, coworkers, bosses, vendors, customers, family, friends. Lots and lots of people. And they're just part of the equation. You may have influenced dozens of others without even realizing it. Not that anybody really is special. I've learned from experience that we're all just flesh and blood men and women. Nevertheless, we can do great things, if only for a brief time. And most importantly, the impact of those actions - what we say and do - can reach far beyond our mortal selves.
    I absolutely think that every person in this world was here to make a difference big or small, good or negative. Not everything has to be positive, maybe someone was put on this earth to be a negative approach to teach others what they do, and then you have someone with a very positive approach

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  31. Does TRUE TRUTH exist? In a society where science claims to be truth, and those who disagree with anyone about anything are labeled "haters," how can effective and meaningful dialogue still occur?

    I disagree with that statement. Since the existence of mankind, religion started to form. When human began to explore science, there is a debate over the conflict between science and faith. Science and faith do have similarity, but at the same time they have major conflicts. In the bible, God created people and soul is the thing that dominates a person’s life. After one dies soul will go to the heaven or hell. But there are no evidence support this statement. Science needs research and evidence to prove a theory and an experiment must be repeatable in order to be true. Miracles might appear once or twice, but there is no way for the scientist to experiment them. Therefore, people say it is god that created the miracles. Science and faith are the record of human live plus the process for earning happiness. The difference between science and faith is: science is a part of human intelligence, and faith is a mystery beyond human’s comprehension.

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  33. This question, “Can one person make a difference,” has always been a heated topic throughout this Nation and many others (who knows) but this is something I have always contemplated and what many of others have as well. As there are billions of people living on this earth, exactly how can ONE person make a change for everyone? When I begin to think about this, I automatically think about Steve Jobs, the guy who invented Apple. Not only has this changed our society, but it has taken effect on the whole nation. Today, many Americans and people in the entire world have been affected by this product good and bad. It has created millions of jobs, people have become addicted, it’s created social media websites, and millions of other things that have affected everyone. So in regards to this question, it takes one strong, smart, and talented individual to change something in this world, let alone the whole world in and of itself.

    -Natalie Loflin

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    1. Natalie, I agree Steve Jobs was a very influential individual in our time, but Steve Jobs did not invent Apple. He was the founder, but the operating system, the core element of macintosh was invented by Jef Raskin, and Bill Atkinson. He merely took over the project. Without these two technicians, Steve Jobs would not have been as influential as he was today. But I agree that it takes some kind of special individual to make a difference in today's world, whether that is wealth, intelligence, charisma, and etc. Also, the question does not specify this difference has to be a positive difference, meaning the question could either by positive or negative. It's very sad that people who are able to make the difference are mostly born in first world countries, but most of us are already satisfied with the world we live, and we often believe, there is no need for a change in this world.

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    2. No doubt Steve Jobs was a man with a lot of effects. And yes, Apple did change the way we live, and I belive that it will still change our lives. However, I don't think a individual person can make such changes like this. Steve Jobs was the head of Apple, but we can not only give him credits. He did not make all these achievements himself. I think I heard this from one of my high school teacher. He said that 'nobody can change this world, people can only affect this world'.

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  34. Does true truth exist?:

    In my opinion, I do believe that true truth exists within groups, And what I mean by that, is within my family, at a certain point in life, we are all truthful to one another. Though sometimes truth may hurt, it can be told within the family. But to those "friends" outside the loop, true truth does not exist unless you allow it to be there. I believe that true truth only exists in trust.

    If one has no trust in someone, there obviously isnt any room for true truth.
    In my opinion, if someone constantly trusted everyone, This person is only setting him/herself into being taken advantage of.

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  35. Technology is taking over our world in front of our very eyes. If humans do not do anything to stop it soon our society will fall apart. Humans are becoming more and more lazy because of it. Twitter knows how humans work. They know that humans no longer want to read long posts on social media so they set a limit. It forces people to condense their thoughts into smaller less intelligent arguments. Another problem is school. In college my mom told me she spend hours in the library reading through books trying to find information. I now lives in a very different culture. I live in a place where the world depends on a service called google. Look at this blog right know. I am submitting my blog on a google account. Now instead of actually learning and looking things up in books people in seconds can get answers on google. They do not learn anything this way. They are being spoon fed answers. I am in no way saying technology is bad. Technology is needed. Technology saves lives each and every way! Hospitals need new technology but do students really need a computer in their pocket 24/7. Their phone is such a big distraction. I have wasted probobly a year of my life on my phone/tv/computer. I will never get that time back. I want that time back! Our culture needs to do something before our society falls apart from these "Smart" machines.

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    1. Hey there Austin!
      I'mma say that I don't one-hundred percent agree with you. While technology can be a pain in the butt (look how many of us are addicted to 2048 right now), and I'll also admit that I've spent more time stalking people on Facebook than actually studying for my exams. That being said, I don't think in anyway that technology and "smart machines" are in some sort of way ruining our society. Yes, in someways we are raised not to think as critically as we probably should, but I would argue that this could occur even when reading a bunch of books. I think technology and the well of information it provides can actually be an extremely amazing opportunity for our society. Now, people who would have otherwise never had access to certain information can have it easily. I agree that perhaps we have not properly adjusted teaching styles to create deep thinkers, but I think it's important to remember that this technology has really only emerged recently, and I do not think anyone truly understands what the internet and smart machines can do for our society. So give it sometime. That's all I'm going to say about that.

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    2. I agree with you, Alexandra. The use of technology these days is obviously much more advanced and takes over a lot more than it did twenty years ago, but that doesn't mean it's hurting us. Sure we don't spend hours in the library searching for information like they had to before, but that just means we can use our time to focus on other things. Also, social media and technogoly in the use for non academic reasons isn't bad at all if it is monitored. If someone is spending most of their day in front of a video game or staring at their phone, yes that is definitely a problem. But just like everything else in life, it won't be harmful if you are doing it in moderation.

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  36. How did we get here?

    I actually do not really have a anwser for this question. According to Chinese myth, humanity was made by a female god, Nüwa 女娲 from dirt by. According to Christianity, humanity was made by God from his image. According to Darwin, we were evolved from apes. As a non-believer, I do not think I would agree with that idea that we were made by God or Nüwa. Nevertheless, I can not prove Darwin's theory of evolution, even though I think it is possible from my limited knowledge.

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    1. Why are we here?
      It sounds more like “what brings you purpose for your life”. I think there are two effects that affect people’s purposes of life. The first effect is from families, and it has been really common since the ancient time. In other words, our families have a great influence on forming purposes of life. Just like the old Chinese proverb said, “Dragons give birth to dragons; phoenixes give birth to phoenixes; and rat will only give birth to something that can dig holes”. The second effect is from life and experience. There are still some people that have different purposes of life from their families, but it is possible to understand their purposes by looking into their lives.

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    2. I think this is a very interesting take on the question and I find myself agreeing with you. I believe family can have a significant impact on ones purpose in life because they lay the foundation for your values. In my own home, my family values creativity over scholarship. This value played an important role in my upbringing and because of this I find purpose in imagination and creating rather than educational studies. I also believe experience plays a huge role in your purpose in life. Experiences shape and mold you. Experiences also spark passions and drive you into your purpose in life.

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  37. Happiness defined by our culture today depends on good things happening. If things are going well, then people are happy but if things aren’t going well, people are unhappy. They base their happiness off of good fortune. Other people believe that wealth makes you happy and therefore if you are poor, you are unhappy. They are placing their happiness in the pursuit of money. Many people place their happiness in the hands of another person, whether that is an intimate relationship, friendships or family relationships. I found in my own life that every time I place my happiness in worldly things, I am eventually let down and unhappy. This world we live in is sinful and because of that we shouldn’t trust or seek outside sources to bring us happiness. Our source of happiness and joy is our Father in Heaven, an outside being who will not let us down. According to the Bible, if we seek to know God and discover his plan for our lives, we will discover happiness that has eluded us for so long. Happiness does not come from seeking it but from seeking HIM because “happy are the people whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 144:15).

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  38. I think the question, “Can one person make a difference?” is one of the most worthwhile questions on this blog. It touches on exactly what are the essences of a quality life. First, I believe every one has gifts or talents. Remember that you as a person are full of inherent value. You are a magnificent creature capable of the most awe-inspiring virtue and actions in the universe. Even if you posses only minimal gifts you can make a huge impact on a person’s life just through kind compassionate acts. Showing people that someone values them are one of the greatest things that you can do. The most important and costly gift you have to give is not your money or your talents but it is also your time. I personally have seen time spent with the elderly make a huge impact on their quality of life. Even in this case where no one is caring for this individual the potential for greatness and an uplifted existence is there. That potential gives reason for hope. Hope is a very powerful reason to continue to live.

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  39. In response to the "pursuit of happiness" in relation to the technology of all our "smart things," we are seriously distracted from what is really important. Our society has gained a mentality of instant gratification from the overuse of technology that allows us to have just about everything at the touch of our fingers. With that, we have become codependent upon the technology that can be useful and progressive when used appropriately or simply in moderation. It makes me think of the movie "Her" where a man literally is in a relationship with his operating system (our "Siri") and falls in love with it. Although an extreme illustration, it captures the idea that we are in relationships with our technology and not the actual people it helps connect us with. We find happiness from the social media, conversations, information, and all the other endless possibilities and live in a created cyber-world instead of the one God has blessed us with. We need to learn to unplug and truly engage as to not abuse the useful technology that makes our lives easier.

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    2. Hi Ashley! Love what you had to share - especially near the end where you tied it in with God. You are right, our technology world is distracting us from the real world that GOD blessed us with. Your whole reflection resonated with me because I am guilty of being too plugged into my devices. I get lost in iPad land or the Twittesphere. Something needs to change! I am working on being more "present" wherever I am, and that will require me to be less obsessed with my Instagram profile or pointless Facebook posts. Thanks for the encouragement!

      -Bree Burdick

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  40. Galileo, who influenced many early scientists and helped usher in the Scientific Revolution, compared the objective truth of geometry and arithmetic to that of the divine:

    “…with regard to those few [mathematical propositions} which the human intellect does understand, I believe its knowledge equals the Divine in objective certainty, for here it succeeds in understanding necessity, beyond which there can be no greater sureness.”

    Here can be seen a precursor of modern day scientific atheism. As technology improved, the need for God as an explanation began to diminish. Mathematics would become the foundations for other sciences, namely physics, which sought to explain the world around us. If mathematics were as legitimate a truth as the divine, humans no longer needed to evoke God as an explanation for certain events. For example, before “science” reached the indigenous tribes of the Americas, it is well documented that human sacrifices were offered to placate the gods. Be it famine or drought or hurricane, the tribal people sought an explanation for their hardships and lacking the necessary knowledge of weather patterns, they placed the causes directly on the shoulders of divine spirits. The same goes for the Nordic peoples of Europe, who used gods such as Thor to explain lightning and other frightening events.

    All that said, it seems science is set on marginalizing God. Early on in the Scientific Revolution, for instance, it was believed that matter could neither be created nor destroyed. If matter was destroyed, the event that caused the destruction could only have been described as miraculous. 20th century physics, however, showed that matter could be destroyed (not necessarily destroyed, but transformed), removing the destruction of matter from the realm of the miraculous into the realm of science.

    As technology grows evermore useful to science in explaining the universe, it seems the need for God as an acting agent in the world diminishes. If this is the case, what are Christians to do about it? Will science soon dictate the relationship between God and man so much so that God is reduced to an expression of a small group of people too scared to face a world with no inherent purpose? These are questions I think Christians should keep in mind as society slowly moves away from the need for any kind of faith in the divine.

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  41. How did we get here?

    Are we products of random molecular interactions or the creation of a Master Designer?
    Not everything happened could be explained using science. From the science research and study, we know that the earth was formed around fifty billion years ago. Different chemical materials in the earth caused the earthquake and volcanic eruption. Each life was started from a cell. Through the history record, mythologies are the key way that people spread the information generally about how people were created. In eastern culture, the earth was a solid egg-shaped chaos. Pan Gu separated the sky and ground. He made the world and created the people. He exhausted and passed away because he did these things without rest. After he died, his eyes became sun and moon; h is legs and arms became mountains; his blood became rivers. In the western culture, bible stated that God created the world in seven days, and created human on the sixth day. In the reality, we can use science to prove mythologies are not true. Immortals only live in the mythologies. T here is no evidence to prove that immortals existed in the history. I personally agree with the scientific explanation about the origin of the world.

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  42. One question I think is consistently being asked both explicitly, and internally for everyone, is if any single person can make a difference. Honestly, I think the hope that someone can make a change is one of the strongest inclinations to live. If there is no potential to change the brokenness of the world, life is just a depressing, meaningless existence and there is no need to grow intellectually, creatively, or spiritually. Spiritually speaking, Romans 12:6 says, "God has given each of us different gifts for doing certain things well." These gifts work together to glorify God and connect us to His purpose.

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  43. Does true truth really exist?

    I would say absolutely. There are things in life that have definite answers, definite causes, and things that are factual. Those would all constitute as true truth. I think when faith enters the picture, there is still true truth, but it requires a certain amount of uncertainty. We will never fully know all of the mysteries of God because we literally do not have the capacities to do so. As we enter into dialogue, respectfully, we begin to unpack these complexities and figure out what true truth actually is.

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  44. Jessica Siraganian-Harr #3April 28, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Where are we going?

    I guess that all depends on your personal faith. If you are a Christian, you most likely think that you are going to heaven. As a Christian you practice living for God and dying, and when you die you are to live again with God in heaven. For me, that's all I know because as a Christian that's where I know and believe I'm going to go just like someone who practices another religion may think thy are going somewhere else. Even though our body is left on earth, our souls are definitely going somewhere else in my opinion. That's what is so beautiful about religion, you should care about what's going to happen to your corpse when you die, as long as your soul lives on with the creator you love and adore.

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  45. Where are we going?

    I am not really sure if it matters. I am a christian, maybe not a good one, but oh well. I would like to believe we go somewhere after death. I would like to believe that life continues beyond what we know it to be. I suppose that’s where faith comes in. I am just not sure what that looks like, or what that really means. I cannot fathom not being, so I assume I must always be. But it seems, in some ways, a far stretch to imagine the particles that make-up who we are will some how magically end up in where ever happens to “heaven” or “hell”. Granted, I don’t claim to understand everything about the universe -- heck, this class has been a stretch when it comes to my scientific knowledge. I think whatever happens, our particles will be recycled back into the system. I don’t think life dies, I think it just kinda transfers into something else. Whether or not souls are made-up of particles is another question. I’m not sure what happens to them. So regardless of whatever afterlife or continuing life there may be, I do not think what happens to our bodies should change the way we live. I think regardless of what happens, at the end of the day, we’re all we have got. So we should make it count.

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  46. Does TRUE TRUTH exist?

    I think there might have been a time when I would have said “no” to this question. There would have also been a time where I gave a more definitive “yes.” But seeing as I am in neither place at the moment, I’m just going with a solid “probably.” I don’t say probably because I believe everything I believe is completely right. I think I believe it because of history and the way societies have been able to function since the beginning of our existence. I think there must be some “truths” for this to be possible. In Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Rope”, he discusses some of these very issues. I won’t ruin the film for anyone, but moral of the story is, when we abandon any sort of “truth”, it opens the door to murder and other such crimes that most would consider wrong. If there is no reason for this to be wrong, then why do most people believe it is wrong? And also, if moral codes are in place simple for the preservation of the species, than the objective of keeping the species alive would kinda be a true truth. In a sense at least. I’ve found, with my generation, it’s all about ears. Sure, if you stick by your beliefs you will probably be labelled as a “hater.” But when it comes to individual conversations with people, most of the time, I have felt like people will respect you for what you believe as long as you respect them. So even in a society that rejects the traditional “truths” or at the very least, seriously questions them, I think it is still possible to have good and open conversations about what things in life really matter. Or if any of it matters.

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  47. Can one person make a difference?

    I truly believe one person can make a huge impact in the world. The definition of difference is a point or way in which people or things are not the same. That definition is extremely broad, and we can look at it many different ways. You can make a small difference in someone's life, but to them, perhaps it made a huge change for them. One person specifically who made a difference in my life was my elementary school Bible teacher. His name was Eric Holt and he truly helped build my foundation for my faith. I don't think I would be the strong believer I am today if it wasn't for his patience and kindness in teaching me the ways of the Lord. I have always loved the saying "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world." That quote is a perfect example of one person being able to make a difference. With that all being said, it doesn't take many, just one hard working person to make change.

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    1. Hi Alicia,
      Great points. I agree with you - one person can make a huge difference by touching other people's lives. I think the question really lies in how we define "difference". Is it the kind of difference that an entire nation will remember, and it will be passed down for years in history textbooks? Or is the kind of difference that influenced a small group of people, or even just one person? And then, is the difference worth it if your action only changed one life? My answer to that is absolutely! Even if no one remembers the impact but a few people, each one of those lives is infinitely important. So, I agree: one person can really make a difference because each human being is so valuable.

      - Rebecca Stischer

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  48. Why are we here?

    One of my favorite scriptures, Jeremiah 29:11, states "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I believe people are all put on earth for a different purpose. Some are born with a desire to serve their country, some are born with a desire to be a doctor, some are born with a desire to share the gospel with others in foreign countries, etc. God has a plan for all of our lives. We may not know what the plan He has for us is yet, but we need to have faith that He knows what is best for us. One thing we are here for is to be a light unto the world. We as Christians need to stand out from the rest of the world, because we should strive to be like Christ. Not saying we are better than everyone else, but we should be different. We should share the good news of the Lord, and help those in need. That is one reason we are here.

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  49. "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" A phrase that is very well known by our country. The pursuit of happiness is taken these days to affirm a right to chase after whatever makes one subjectively happy. What is interesting is that one person's happiness could be someone else's sadness. As well, one person's happiness could also be someone else's. The more we see of the world and the older we get, our "pursuit of happiness" changes. We have different goals, we meet different people, we see different places. I don't believe that one person has just one happiness. I think there can be multiple forms of happiness and that we are allowed to purse different ones, daily. For me, it's fulfilling my dream of being a teacher, a mom, a wife, and a follower of Christ. Now, I have lots of little ones as well but these are my main "pursuits" I would say, that seem to the same as I grow up.

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  50. In regards to the "Why are we here?" and "Can one person make a difference?" questions I would like to shed some light on that. For myself, I would say that we are all here for a reason that is either known or unknown to us from God. Every person has a reason on this Earth in one way or another and it's up to us how we choose to handle it. I believe happiness is something that has a large meaning for us, and we open our eyes as we get older to true happiness and not something that was just a facade. As far as one person making a difference, I believe we can. Even the smallest of terms, one person can make a difference in another person's life that will mean the world to that person. Just because someone's impact wasn't "world-wide" it could still help out the people around them. That's the most important thing I believe.

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  51. Another thought, specifically the "Where are we going?" question. It's just always interesting to me what people think is going to happen once we breathe our last breath. I believe that our life continues on with God and it almost just seems depressing when people say we becoming nothing when we pass away.

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  52. Why are we here?
    I agree with Alicia Cruz when she says we are here because God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. We're each born with our own gifts and talents to serve others and ultimately serve the Lord.

    Can one person make a difference?
    Yes! Even if its in a way that may seem insignificant to some people. For example, certain teachers I've had in high school have impacted me so positively and they probably don't even know. You can make a huge difference in someones life just by doing one simple act of kindness.

    Where are we going?
    I know a lot of people who claim to be atheists yet they say they believe there's something greater out there. That we can't just die and thats it for us.
    I believe our souls will live on and our bodies will become part of the Earth. I agree with Christian Delarosa when he says believing otherwise is just depressing.

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  53. These are all wonderful questions to ponder, and I have found myself asking these very questions many times. So, how did we get here? Growing up in a Christian dominated household, I have often simply believed without critically thinking about it that God is our creator. Although, as my mind has developed to critically think, I have realized that our world is structured so delicately and perfectly to act in such an efficient way that I have come to the conclusion that there is no way that our world just out of mere chance just came to be. There must certainly be an all-knowing creator behind it all. Through my schooling in the sciences and math, I have discovered that these subjects have reinforced my belief in God and that he is most certainly our master designer. As for the question of why we exist, I agree with Masaki Nakamura when she says that we will never truly understand why we exist exactly. God didn’t need us, yet he chose to create us: but why? Yes, we are created to serve him and witness to others about him, but as to the reason specifically why he chose to create us is unknown to us, and will remain so till he reveals the answer to us one day when we meet him.
    -Marion McGinnis

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  54. I agree the post of Alicia. We believe God has a best plan for each one of us. Everyone has he or she specific mission in this world. God gives us different talents. This is a gift from God. We should contribute our specialty to the world. God loves us. We should learn to love others like God. He is a model for us to study.

    Why we are here?
    Before we were born, God already make the whole life plan for us. What we should do is following his step and walk in his way. Although it is hard for us to see the road before us, only we believe in faith we can know the best of God. However, we still should have ourselves pursue. Sometime we do not know whether that is the willing of God, but the God will guide us.

    Can one person make a difference?
    I agree the Chloee post. The history gives us a lot of example shows one person can make a difference. We are just ordinary people, but the influence is limited. We still can use our own influence to influence one by one. If people keeps going, the influence will over our expect.

    --Kunyi Xie

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  55. “How did we get here?” & “Why are we here?”

    It seems that our generation has become consumed with how many followers, likes, or re-tweets we can get. However, that is not the purpose of life, and that is not why we are here. We are here because God designed and created us to glorify Him, and further His Kingdom on earth. We are meant to share the good news of Christ and let everyone know who God is. We are not here for the “pursuit of happiness” or to “follow our hearts”. As believers, we know that our hearts are deceitful, and sin stems from our hearts. Therefore, we can not be focused on what the heart wants. Being a Christian is not always easy, and we are meant to face persecution and trials in order to grow our faith in Christ. That is why we are here.

    “Can one person make a difference?”

    I believe that one person can make a difference. Sometimes that person needs the help of others to execute their plans, but one person can still spark a huge change. Jesus made the biggest difference of all time. Not that we are as powerful as Jesus, but with Him as our rock and foundation, we can make a difference too. I feel that people often see this question on a large scale, as in making a difference that would change the entire world. However, making small differences in day-to-day life is just as significant as a grand worldwide change. Maybe the difference you will make will be in your family. Maybe you will bring someone to Christ. Making a difference like that seems much more significant than starting a recycling program. If one person could make a difference in someone’s like by sharing Christ with him or her, that is the ultimate difference that could truly save someone.

    -Bryley De Ghetto

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  56. There is one God, one truth, and one purpose for us: to serve God! He gave us a specific mission to guide other people to His love and free gift. That's how we make a difference! We can also be kind to other people in everyday life situations. God is the ultimate creator of everything, from the force of gravity to the complexities of human personality. Without Him, there would be nothing!

    -Jenna Wood

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  57. Growing up in a Christian home and constantly being surrounded by Christian peers, many of these topics and questions have been addressed thoroughly in my past, and I feel like the way I answer and address them today hasn't changed so to speak but it has matured.
    The question of how did we get here seemed very uncomplicated to me when I was little because the answer was always simply that God created us. While I still believe that, the more that I have learned about science has caused me to think deeper about this subject and realize that there are very complex forms of science at play. I can see merit in certain arguments and I find it very thought-provoking to listen to different theories on how our world came into existence but ultimately it is something we cannot fully know. However, given the complexity of our world and the absolute perfect conditions that are present that allow us to live and thrive, I cannot grasp the possibility of creation of our world being the responsibility of anything but a Master Designer.
    As far as the "why are we here question?" goes, I believe that this ties in to the first to some degree. When reflecting on the display of power that it took to create this world, I absolutely believe we have meaning. I think that many people struggle to find this meaning, but as someone whose identity is found in Christ I think it comes much easier. I believe that this allows us to pursue happiness for the right reasons and with the right mindset. I think that there are certain forms of happiness that can be limited to self-focused enjoyment, but that the pursuit of happiness as a whole has to do with identifying our individual purposes and determining what that means in the overall scope of God's plan.
    I absolutely believe that one person can make a difference. I don't think that everyone ultimately makes a difference on large scale, but we all inevitably make a difference in some form or fashion in another person's life. I think it is easy to get caught up in the thoughts that tell us we are only one out of billions which can be discouraging, but I still believe that sometimes it only takes one.
    I think that the quest for truth is something that will always exist and realistically won't be the same for everyone at any point. In a society where science claims truth, but many disagree with certain facets it is just too difficult to for there to be a definitive bottom-line truth. I think that this does create problems in terms of creating effective and meaningful dialogue and these problems will more than likely always exist. However, I am always inspired by people like Leslie Ann Wickman who have illuminated some of the connections between science and faith that I have never previously considered. I think that this is a difficult subject to deal with and even though I believe that "true truth" does exist, what that means will likely be different for everyone depending on their individual views and perspectives.
    The "where are we going" question is another one that I have a firm belief on, mainly because I have grown up with the view that heaven does exist and that life continues after death. I believe that our worldly bodies will disintegrate and be no more but that our spirit lives on. Because of this, I believe that we have a calling as Christians to intercede in as many lives as possible because none of know how many days we have left on this world.
    I do believe that these are valid questions with real answers but they will inevitably be different for everyone. I do not know if my answers are correct, but these are very personal questions that are defined by who we are as individuals and our stance on God and faith. I think they are very good conversation starters and it is always interesting to see how people address ideas like this and it allows us to understand the world and people around us better.

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  58. Firstly, I simply want to thank you for presenting some of the most important questions we can ask in such an easy, accessible format! I strive to continually stay in a place of curiosity, engaging with these questions daily. Something that struck my eye is this thought of "what is the happiness that we are pursuing?" Can we truly be fulfilled if only our needs are being met? I don't think so. I think there is a happiness and joy that can only be experienced in the context of community and family when we operate as 'the Body' that Christ has identified us to be. Within us is a need to lay our lives down for the sake of others, which can only be encountered as we interact in deep relationships.

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  59. We are all critical thinkers, and some of the questions that most if not all of us ask ourselves and try to figure out at some point in our lives are actually quite simple: who, what, where, and why. If we do not question life, then what exactly are we questioning? Without questioning something and thinking critically about it, how much do we really know, or do we just assume? There are many different ideas relating to how we got here, and I think one should question what they have been taught. Following religion blindly, without looking into it for yourself, should not be done. Not only that, but people must think for themselves to determine every choice in their lives, especially the vital ones, such as their purpose in life, what they want to do in life, and their future. These questions involve serious planning. Personally, I have a different view on religion now than I did when I was younger because I was able to learn more about it as well as gain experience from life in order analyze it for myself. I do think that one person can make a difference in this world, and although I do not know if I will ever be one of those people, I know that I will try.

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  60. I think that the older we get the easier it is to realize what is actually important in this life. I see young children who are glued to their smart phone or other electronic devices and have absolutely no concern for anything that is not on their little screen. I have come to appreciate the critical thinking questions that I have encountered as I grow up. Especially being at a school like APU we are always being encouraged to find a deeper meaning for the events we experience and the decisions we make in our lives. I think that the critical thinking process is an ongoing growing experience for everyone.

    -Kristen Negrete

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  61. Kristen,

    I agree with your post! I think as I have become older, I begin to really think about what the important things in life are. I look back at times when I thought it was the end of the world for some silly reason, and think about how little that thing mattered in the big scheme of things. I think electronics definitely distract critical thinking, and it takes a lot of self-discipline to contain that which is why younger children get caught up in it. The older I get, the more I am aware that my devices are distracting me from learning something important and that I must make a change in the way I am thinking in order to fix it.

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