Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and dismay about the future. -- Unknown
What are we expected to get out of life? Is running around on this globe trying to have fun the best way to spend our few years of existence? These questions have plagued humanity for thousands of years.
Many folks resist quietness and inactivity while trying to forget their secret lack of satisfaction and inner feeling of insecurity. Even so, millions of people feel depressed and worthless. Is this inner lack of satisfaction not an underlying cause behind much of today's drug abuse and suicides? Could this quest for fulfillment not also encourage criminal activity?
The reality of these facts brings on the questions, "Is there no satisfying solution? Where is an accurate picture to aid us in completing life's puzzle?"
According to biblical history, almost three thousand years ago, a king named Solomon reigned in Jerusalem. Throughout the ancient world, Solomon was known for his exceptional riches and wisdom. But even he had questions regarding life's purpose. In Ecclesiastes, that was likely written by Solomon, he recorded a detailed description of his fruitless search for contentment. Following, are excerpts from the second chapter.
I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine – my heart still guiding me with wisdom – and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.
I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the children of man.
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:3-11).
I think you would find that these conditions rarely satisfy.
Ask a wealthy person or celebrity if their wealth and fame give them a satisfied mind. I think you would find these conditions rarely satisfy. Though they generate brief enjoyment, at best, it is but empty gratification, always craving more and never inclined to just relax and be content. Furthermore, when these fail to produce the anticipated happiness, a distinct sense of hopelessness often occurs.[MH1] Insecurity and life's uncertainty are also grounds for concern that, I observe, plagues wealthy and influential people even more than other folks. Though insurance is available for many unexpected inconveniences, does it bring the peace of mind the users anticipate?
Is there nothing to bring us the sense of security we so desire?
Millions have dedicated themselves to a religion, hoping and believing it will bring them further fulfillment. And many explanations abound that try to define our existence and role on Earth, claiming comfort and security for those that follow their instructions for living life. Is religion the answer? If so, why do many religious folks have the same problems non-religious people have? And which religion is correct?
How can we locate and identify a remedy to aid us in completing life's puzzle?
In the following chapters, we tackle these questions and offer answers you will hopefully find reasonable. We attempt to present the truth in its purest form. (In Chapter 4 I explain why I use plural personal pronouns when referring to the author.)
This book touches only briefly on numerous topics. If you want more details than are given here, we invite you to do your own research. For your convenience, we mention various books that cover specific subjects more thoroughly.
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Note: We have inserted a note in parentheses when we have a question on the current subject and a corresponding answer in the question and answer section at the back of the book. Example: (see question 34)
Multitudes in this great valley's division,
Seeking to know what is truth and is light;
Seeking to make that great final decision,
Wanting to know the great answers of life.
-- John Esh
 A concubine is a woman with whom a man cohabits without being married.