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Was Douglas Addams more correct about the meaning of life than Monty Python?

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Started: 11/27/2017 Category: Funny
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 371 times Debate No: 105334
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I think Addams was right when he wrote this line for Slartibartfast "I think the chances of finding out what is really going on are so vanishingly small that I say hang the sense of it and just try to keep busy" so in conclusion 42


by John Bowen.
April 8, 2007

At the heart of the courses I teach at Wycliffe College is the question of how to communicate Christian faith to people who are exploring their spirituality but know very little about Christianity. Of course, there"s a limit to how much you can learn about this in the classroom, so from time to time, I send my students out onto the campus to talk to "normal" people. One question that"s been especially fruitful has been to ask people: "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?" At the University of Toronto, the number one question was: What"s it all about? Why am I here? Is there any point to life? In other words: What is the meaning of life?

I guess if you asked people in their 30s or 40s, this would likely not be the main question. By that time, people are caught up in jobs and mortgages and even thinking about finding a partner and settling down, and they"ve stopped thinking about the meaning of life. Which seems to me a pity because the question is always an important one. And it"s not that they solved it, or came up with a working solution to it"it"s just that life squeezed it out of their heads.

But while you are a student is actually the perfect time to try and figure out what you believe about this"partly because of the stage of life you are at, but also because you"re in an environment that actually encourages you to think about these things"which is not true for most.

Let me tell you what I"m going to do and what I"d not going to do. My main interest, as you might guess, is in Jesus" view of the meaning of life, so I"ll say most about that. I do this partly because I suspect for many people who are trying to figure this out, they don"t even put Christianity on their list of options. They tend to think of it as a religion, and a discredited one at that. Which is unfortunate"but then (I confess) I could be a little biased.

What I"m not going to do"and I"m not qualified to do"is a full comparison of what different religions and philosophies have said about the meaning of life. But there are lots of resources out there for doing that, and I hope you"ll pursue them. (One of the best is James Sire"s classic, The Universe Next Door.)

The five examples I"ve chosen to think about the meaning of Life are not philosophers in the strict sense. But I would say in another sense, everybody who has ever thought about ultimate questions of life and death is a philosopher. And strange as it may seem, Monty Python, Douglas Adams, Samuel Beckett, the X-Box, and Jesus have all done that. And"guess what?"studying their works can actually be more enjoyable than reading the professional philosophers"though that"s good to do too.

So let"s begin.

Most philosophies and religions actually answer (or at least try to answer) five fundamental questions:

Where are we?
What kind of universe is this? Friendly or impersonal? Meaningful or a sick joke?

Who are we?
Are we "higher" animals? Fallen angels? Soft machines? Gods in disguise?

What is the problem?
A failure in evolution? Inadequate education? The violence of men? Religion?

What is the solution?
A drug to correct evolution? Universal education? Matriarchy? A secular state?

Where are we going?
Annihilation and extinction? Life after death? Reincarnation? Utopia on earth?

I"ll refer to these five from time to time as we go through.

1. Monty Python"s The Meaning of Life

In spite of the title, if you watch the movie hoping it will help, you"ll be disappointed.
What it does is help formulate the question, show why it"s difficult. I think the most helpful part in some ways is the Eric Idle song at the beginning. The words are a clue to the movie.
The Meaning of Life by Eric Idle

Why are we here? What"s life all about?
Is God really real, or is there some doubt?
Well, tonight, we"re going to sort it all out,
For, tonight, it"s "The Meaning of Life".
What"s the point of all this hoax?
Is it the chicken and the egg time? Are we just yolks?
Or, perhaps we"re just one of God"s little jokes.
Well, "a c"est "The Meaning of Life".
Is life just a game where we make up the rules
While we"re searching for something to say,
Or are we just simply spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DN" nay, nay, nay, nay, nay, nay, nay.
What is life? What is our fate?
Is there a Heaven and Hell? Do we reincarnate?
Is mankind evolving, or is it too late?
Well, tonight, here"s "The Meaning of Life".
For millions, this "life" is a sad vale of tears,
Sitting "round with rien nothing to say
While the scientists say we"re just simply spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DN" nay, nay, nay, nay, nay, nay, nay.
So, just why" why are we here,
And just what" what" what" what do we fear?
Well, ce soir, for a change, it will all be made clear,
For this is "The Meaning of Life". C"est le sens de la vie.
This is "The Meaning of Life".
Debate Round No. 1


2017 years after one man was purported to have been nailed to a tree for saying "wouldn't it be great if everybody was nice to each other for a change" you have made some very good points about the source material I have thrust upon you.
Having said that if god requires faith and knowledge precludes faith, then truly it must follow that if anyone were to figure the whole thing out then the universe might really be suddenly replaced with a far more confusing one.
Monty Python has real classical philosophical chops. Douglas Addams has a less human centric universe view.


Douglas Addams does know human life yes someone was nailed to a tree, but it was for freedom of speech
Debate Round No. 2


I'm pretty sure the official story is that Jesus died as a perfect innocent sacrifice in order to intercede with god for our salvation so long as we repent in his name. Thus the song being sung by the boys school
O Lord, please don't burn us,
Don't grill us or toast your flock,
Don't put us on a barbecue,
Or simmer us in stock,
Don't braise or bake or boil us,
Or stir-fry us in a wok.
Oh please don't lightly poach us,
Or baste us with hot fat,
Don't fricassee or roast us,
Or boil us in a vat,
And please don't stick thy servants, Lord,
In a Rotissomat.
Rather unnecessary (love Eric Idle) since as is established in Monty Python and the holy grail and life of Brian and the meaning of life... pause for breath... god exists the crucifixion actually happened and there is a heaven, where I might add the sound of music is showing on tv twice an hour.
If in Monty Python' s universe holds true then they know god won't do anything of those things to them. The contradiction will have to be explained away.
By the way the guide also is contingent upon god existing to create the babel fish before disappearing into a puff of logic.
Poor babel fish.
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