Tonight I was sitting in my living room, reading a book that I am reviewing, and I had this sudden feeling of, “Is this all that there is?” I remember when I was a kid, sitting in my room, dreaming about what my life would look like when I was old. I went through a lot of possibilities: being a teacher, a doctor, a missionary…just to name a few. I always had a nice place of my own, and I was always happy.
I wasn’t fighting with my family over ideology. I have parents who hate Ronald Reagan; I have an aunt that wants us to be a socialist nation at best, communist at worst; my sister may or may not have a job next week, depending on whether or not Comcast decides to cut her loose in the next round of layoffs; my meager 401K has been all but depleted. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You see, I find myself very fortunate. All of these things are temporal. I don’t find my identity in politics. I don’t find my security in my earnings or my job. I find my identity in Christ. Psalm 121:1-3 says, ” 1 I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? / 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. /3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber.”
I’ve had this spirited conversation going on for a while…with a good friend behind the scenes and new friends within this post. These guys have made some great points and have asked me questions that have made me stop and rethink quite a bit that I’ve taken for granted. They’ve also done something that I don’t think that they’ve expected, and it’s certainly something that I’ve not expected. They’ve helped to solidify my faith that Jesus Christ is who he says he is. The more questions that they ask, the more answers I’ve been seeking. The picture at the top of this post is the stack of books I’m attempting to tackle because of the questions.
I can find rest in these uncertain times because I don’t believe that this is all there is. I’m not a follower of Christ because it allows me to go to heaven. I am a follower of Christ because the Christian gospel is a gospel of peace, forgiveness, charity, compassion. The gospel–the whole story of Jesus–is about giving of yourself to others.
If I’m wrong, I’ve lost nothing. I’ve lived my life with more peace than I would’ve without my faith. Hopefully I’ve made a few people’s lives better. I die. My corpse decomposes. End of story.
If I’m right, I get to spend eternity asking Jesus all of the questions that have been running around in my mind. I get to ask Peter what went through his mind at the fire with Jesus. I get to ask Paul what it was like on the road to Damascus. I get to ask Abraham how he could be willing to sacrifice his son, the son of promise, and how relieved he was when the angel appeared and pointed out the ram. I get to see Jesus, face to face, and well, I don’t know where I’d begin with him. I get to spend eternity doing what I love to do more than anything now.
Basically, I’ve got nothing to lose because of what I believe.
12 thoughts on “Is this all there is?”
First of all, I just want to say that I’m glad you find solace and comfort in your faith. And that you think it makes you a better person.
I just wanted to make two points really fast.
“If I’m wrong, I’ve lost nothing.”
Well, no. If the atheists are right (and I think we are) then you’ve lost nothing out of potential afterlives. You have lost whatever time you’ve spent praising a god as opposed to spending that time doing more good deeds. But that’s not a huge thing.
However, if we’re talking about the afterlife, you’ve lost nothing only if the atheists are right. What if the Muslims are right? Then you (and me) will both be burning in hell.
Just thought I’d get you thinking out of the box, because it isn’t an either-or scenario.
My other point is just this:
This IS all there is. But all there is is everything in the world. And everything in the world is more than enough for me.
Can you prove to me that this is all there is? Can you prove that there is NO afterlife? 🙂
Nope. And I wouldn’t try to. I just see no evidence for their being anything else. 😛
It also looks that, sometimes, people seem to treat each other and the world a little better when they don’t think this is just a rest-stop before the real party.
Much like your faith makes you a better person, my lack of faith makes me a better one. I have no do-overs, no second chances and no eternal forgiveness for anything I might get wrong. I have to get things right the first time.
This is the only life that I KNOW I’m getting. So hopefully I’ll make it the best I can for myself and those around me.
I hate making typos. There, not their. 😦
I think that we have a lot more in common than not. I’m not living my life like I have a do-over coming in the end. While I do believe I have forgiveness for the things that I do wrong, I understand that the price for that forgiveness was high.
Yes, I admit I am pretty excited at the prospect of eternity. I’d be lying if I said I weren’t. But that doesn’t mean that I live my life solely focused on heaven. That would be a horrible waste of my time here on earth. My friend Paul gave me a book called The Power of Now. Reading that book made me realize that this moment is all that I am guaranteed. (Jesus says this in the Bible as well…just sayin’.)
My major life goal is to help other people achieve their dreams. I want to leave this world a better place than I found it. I want people’s lives to be positively impacted as a result of my presence in their lives.
The biggest evidence for the after-life is that Jesus was killed by Roman soldiers, who were very very good at killing people, and yet Jesus rose from the dead. There it is – life after death.
I wrote a long essay this morning about that. Given the circumstances–the best Roman guards watching the tomb with the penalty of death looming over them if Jesus’ body disappeared, the Jews having so much to lose if Jesus did rise as he said he would–there is much more evidence FOR Jesus’ rising from the dead than against.
If it were sufficiently backed up by historical evidence, I’d be with you. Hey, if the gospels were even written when it supposedly happened I’d be behind you. The way things are, not so much.
As it is, I’ve been reading the Gospel of John, where no guards are put on the tomb and the body is given to Joseph of Arimathea.
Suspicious? A wee bit.
The gospels were written within 100 years of the events, which makes them more historically accurate than the “gospels” that are supposed to refute them.
Um…the Gospel According to John, in the New Testament. Not a gnostic gospel, but a gospel that’s in every bible.
And something written a century after the events is not terribly convincing.
I know what the Gospel of John is…thanks 🙂
I’m glad. But this made me wonder: “which makes them more historically accurate than the “gospels” that are supposed to refute them”
Was confused about what gospels you were referring to.