Paul Froese on the Meaning of Life
Date: September 25th, 2016

Have you ever stopped to think about what your purpose in life is?  Or do you wonder if life has any meaning?  Prof. Paul Froese, professor of sociology at Baylor University and resident scholar at Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, has thought about these questions, but more importantly he has thought about how other people think about this question.  Prof. Froese takes us on a journey beginning with how he started to think about thinking about the purpose in life, which also engages us in a conversation about the book design and how to write in an accessible voice.  Paul notes that while this is not a “self-help” book per se, it is designed to get people to be more reflective on how the think about their purpose.  We talk a bit about some basic definitions including “meaning” and “purpose,” which also is placed against their antitheses of “meaninglessness” and “nihilism,” and some of the demographics of “meaningfulness” are revealed.  References to Russian literature and punk rock bands are scattered throughout this discussion.  The bulk of the interview walks us through several key questions that Prof. Froese set out to answer including: Does having purpose make you happy?; Who lacks purpose?; Is purpose within you or is it socially given?; What is the relation to purpose and T(t)ruth (both capital and lowercase “t”)?; And how does time, both our own personal aging and the cultural tempos of larger society, affect how our thoughts on purpose can change?  Tony reflects upon some of his life events and growing up in different cultural eras, which Paul notes seem to be changing ever more rapidly nowadays.  We finish with Paul’s reflections on what he learned over the process of his academic career dating back to his undergraduate days studying Russian literature and history, and how all of his experiences along the way have filtered into this book.  Recorded: September 16, 2016.



Prof. Paul Froese’s bio at Baylor’s ISR and Baylor’s Department of Sociology.

On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life, by Paul Froese.

America’s Four Gods: What We Say about God and What that Says about Us, by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader.

The Plot to Kill God: Findings from the Soviet Experiment in Secularization, by Paul Froese.


Paul Froese on America’s Four Gods.

Daniel Russell on Ideals and Virtues.

Joseph O. Baker on American Secularism.

Wafa Hakim Orman on Religion and Economic Crises.

Michael Rota on Pascal’s Wager.

Matthew Moore on Buddhism and Political Theory.

Andre Molle on Spirituality and Martial Arts.

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