I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Rutledge in person while I was in Dallas for the Webmaster Jam Session and can say with confidence that he is as passionate about design fundamentals and bringing them to the web as he comes across in his Design View articles and podcasts. In his latest podcast, Andy strayed from his “usual fare” of design education and web industry professionalism to share his views on Living Purposefully. I personally found his message to be quite inspiring and a well-timed reminder to follow that nagging sense of what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I wasn’t going to write a post about this, but a few people I read and respect have chimed in with rebuttals on the faith-inspired focus of Andy’s message.
As a whole, I see the web community is a very agnostic, if not passionately athiest crowd. For that reason, I think a lot of people suppress their beliefs and convictions out of respect for those around them. If you believe that the idea of a higher power is patently ridiculous, this isn’t so hard to do. As someone who agrees with Andy and believes in a living God, and how my faith in that belief is what also gives me purpose and direction, holding my tongue out of a sentiment so pitifully self-centered as respect is a truly inadequate cause. If I care about the people with whom I share respect and connection, talking about the reason for my hope, purpose, and direction in life should not be something I am afraid to do. But honestly, I am. I’m afraid of pigeonholing myself as a Christian amongst people who admit that doing so will cause their respect for me to “slip a couple notches”.
For that reason, I normally don’t go around offering my deepest sympathies to those who don’t derive their purpose in life from something bigger than themselves. However, if I expressed what I believe is the true penalty of denying God’s existence, it would be a far more poignant plea than my deepest sympathies. That statement which Jeremy Kieth found so condescending was merely background information for the real message and intent of Andy’s podcast. You don’t have to subscribe to any religious beliefs to find merit in Andy’s words. In fact, if all references to God and Faith were removed, the podcast would still be an inspiring post about doing what you enjoy and that which makes you feel whole. If you cannot separate yourself from your beliefs or lack thereof long enough to be inspired by such a message then as as Andy said, “I’m afraid you do not grasp what ‘purpose’ is”.