So today, just a little while ago in fact, I went for a run. Yes I have refrained from discussing my recent discovery of this sport until I was certain I would actually persevere. More on that later (because perseverance is only certain upon death).
For now let me just tell you what happened on my run. I was listening to my good friend Bob Smart as I often do when I run. My listening choices when I run kind of boils down to Bob Smart or Bono with a few others thrown in here and there for the sake of variety. Yes Bob is a preacher and Bono is a singer, but they both have a great deal to say about the human condition and redemption. I find myself learning from both and entertained at the same time.
At any rate, today I was listening to Bob preach on Ecclesiastes. One of the things he mentioned is that the “teacher” was talking about intellectual fallacies that are still common today. The teacher is the person whose voice we hear as we read that book of the Bible. He continually repeats that every attempt to find meaning or purpose is meaningless. One of the attitudes which the teacher tested out is what we would call Nihilism. This is the attitude expressed best by the belief that there is no real purpose in our existence and all we can really do is wait to die.
At the time Bob began to discuss nihilism I was running across a part of UNCW that’s really nice. A gorgeous, wide, brick sidewalk runs between buildings which share brilliant landscaping and beautiful architecture. These things were designed to be enjoyed by man. This part of campus was supposed to make life worth living. Nihilism sounded so unattractive in light of the culture man had created around me.
Of course I was semiconscious that UNCW is indicative of most of America. Growing numbers of people are beginning to believe that Christianity does not have relevant answers for the problems they face.
Then it hit me like a freight train (or a mack truck to be faithful to the title of this post) that the reason growing numbers of Americans are finding Christianity largely irrelevant is because more and more American Christians are nihilists who carry the Bible around with them. What would be attractive about that???
Seriously, with the popularity of left behind theology which teaches that you just need to pray a prayer and then start hoping to die so you can get out of here, I would hate christianity too if I thought that is what it taught!
Thank God for making it clear to us that mankind’s job is to bring culture, art, beauty and whatever it takes to make life worth living here and now. Otherwise, I don’t think I could take it for very long.