Monday, January 23, 2012

Beyond Life: To Be or Not to Be

A man, taking a survey, was asking passers-by what they considered humanity’s main problems. One man, rushing by, said,” I don’t know and I don’t care.” “Dead right,” shouted the questioner after him: “ignorance and apathy.”

One thing boggles my mind: the crazy western idea this life is all there is. For huge numbers of earth’s inhabitants, life is a liturgy of pain, anger and misery. Is this all there is for them? Even for westerners, it’s a time of emptiness and lack of real fulfilment. Is this all there is for us? Cultivated non-belief, or an apathetic lifestyle, leaves few considering eternity.

Where did that idea come from and what sustains it? To start, it’s convenient. No life beyond this, means no accountability. That explains the reckless hedonism engulfing western society. If this is all there is, do whatever generates my happiness—a philosophy designed to destroy social cohesiveness.

Then, there is the fear of death fostered by the unknown beyond it. What better protection from fear than to discard the unknown, convince yourself it doesn’t exist. Let’s eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

The vague notion there is no evidence of life beyond death supports this fond idea. But we cannot prove life doesn’t continue beyond death; only uncertainty exists. Simple common sense would suggest preparing for death. Life is a vapour; eternity is for ever.

Unfortunately, Christianity doesn’t showcase so well against other options. It appears an offence or foolishness; birthed in blood and based on an unlikely resurrection. Like most spiritual things, it is upside down to most human thinking, it cannot be assessed from the outside.

Anselm said: “I believe that I may understand.” We understand far more about water by jumping in than any description could give. It is only commitment to our need of God’s grace and forgiveness that gives sense to faith in Christ and assurance of the future.

Shall we ignore this life, or immerse ourselves in it with gladness and gratitude?

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