On Death

I stand at the shores of a quick-raging river,
My eye reflects the city lights on the other side,
Which flow deep in the soul drowning my bitter,
While I wait for the boat to carry me past this late tide.

In this great world and wide, I trace the sun’s circuit,
Anticipating the time when it and I intersect,
This declining west I muse upon as the world glows
From the dying embers of this warm communing fire.

Yet as my eye passes through this scene,
My inner eye glimpses a dim-glassed mystery,
I too will be translated into the morning,
Where west touches east.

For those who get their dying done early,
The loud clamor of death is transformed
Into the gentle language of a quiet invitation,
At which the heart soars, beset from behind,
On the illumined path to the eternal.

For now, I act upon this material stage,
But the curtain will have its final say,
For some shall step beyond the curtain,
To begin his soliloquious apology,
Only for rough grief to be met with tender mercies.

 

(Soliloquy – A speech in which the actor talks to himself but the audience listens in.)

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Dear Moral Borrowing Atheist,

Do you believe in the higher value of humans over non-human animals? If so, you are borrowing some of your morality from Theistic philosophy. Evolution provides no foundation for this higher value. The philosophy that has its foundation in evolution equates man with animals. In this view, man does not deserve a higher value than animals. This morality is based on one’s ability to suffer.

Is it more moral to kill a pig that can feel pain or a fetus that can’t feel pain? Atheists would save the pig. Is it less moral to eat bacon, seeing as how the pig can suffer and humans killed it, or practice cannibalism as long as the human died accidentally and the relatives say it’s OK? Atheists would enjoy a good batch of John Smith stew. Is it more moral to kill a deformed or mentally retarded infant so they won’t have to suffer all of their lives, or let them live (although this “suffering” is debatable)? Atheists choose to end the suffering. Some atheists would still let the child and the fetus live and also eat bacon, but if they do they betray the fact that their philosophy does not totally align itself with atheistic philosophy. They borrow from Theistic philosophy.

Would you be more disgusted at a picture of a dead fetus? Your answer will tell you what philosophy you live by.

John Blogger Killed God

Today, (Sunday, April 11, 2010) marked the end of a long criminal trial here at New York City. John Blogger has been found guilty of murdering God. The courtroom was shocked as the jury delivered its verdict. Outrage in the justice building ensued as shouts from the audience broke the stunned silence after the verdict was read. Some relayed joy at having finally resolved this historical ordeal. Others cried in anger, shouting for a retrial with accusations of inadequate evidence, namely the body never being discovered. Blogger, nonetheless, was seen looking relieved at the verdict as he was carried away from the courtroom. He received life in prison without possibility of parole. Groups of people flooded the streets afterward and began chanting, “We are free! We are free!” A single mother exiting the scene paused slightly when asked her opinion. She said, “What’s left for me beyond the grave. I have no hope.” As for the distant masses, and the onlookers following the story from home, it is now left up to them to come to terms with what this means for them. John’s father walked the four blocks from the courtroom to his hotel keeping his gaze fixed on the sidewalk. When prompted for a comment he replied, “Why would he waste his life this way? Murder is a serious crime. Then again, why even send him to prison with God dead? Are not we released from any morality we owed to him?” Reporting live from New York City, this is Christian Smith.

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Some Thoughts on Life’s Meaning and Atheism

Having killed God, the atheist is left with no reason for being, no morality to call his own, no meaning to life, and no hope beyond the grave. To find their way, atheists must make sense out of a random first cause, profess as immoral all moral claims, express meaningfully all meaninglessness, and find security in hopelessness. If the whole of the universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning. Just like a man can’t call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. Yet, we insist there is no meaning, while we contain within ourselves some idea of what a meaningful life could be. This search for meaning is set in the heart of man.

(Content adapted from Mere Christianity and The Real Face of Atheism)

The “Dear Atheist” Letters

Dear Atheist,

A traveler from a strange land passed my way. As he described his home to me, his visage reflected great despair. He spoke of four great walls no longer connected, and all around them, a vast desert in every direction stretched to express no evidence of life for the discerning eye. Inside the walls, the form of a man can be observed laying half in the ground and half out. The bones darkened by the persistent sand provide a vestige of the cruelty the people inflicted upon their king. A hand outstretched remains anchored by the ground held upright as if still beckoning for humanity to enter. The traveler told of a people who abandoned their king even though he provided great things for them. Near the fallen form, a monument stands echoing his words to all. “Come all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The people rose up against him, and invited other great, eloquent men to enter the kingdom. The traveler relates, “The king remained faithful while the magistrates rode slowly on their horses toward the horizon. And yet from the horizon, came others riding swiftly on their horses. And as yet, we are still not free.”

I fear that as humanity trades a reasonable God for men of reason, no real freedom will be gained.

Sincerely,
Theist

The “Dear Atheist” Letters

Dear Atheist,

Something is following you. It encompasses you as you sleep. It promises to turn your work into vanity. It steals your hope for the future, and reason can provide no answer for what shall be after its arrival. Justice is made null by its coming. You have no advantage in saving lives or in murder, for all acts will cease to exist and the remembrance of them will be no more. In the end, all will be darkness. No voice can utter its frightened cry after this being has delivered its final word. Its name is Death.

Any system that does not know the origin of human beings and cannot give our reason for being, certainly must remain silent on our destiny, or at best, argue for nothingness.

Sincerely,
Theist

Pain

The human experience is pain. It’s the affirmation of life. If you wake up in the morning and feel a headache, there is no question that you’re alive. In fact, you may wish you were otherwise. Funny how something we don’t want affirms something we desperately want… life. Pain from a parent’s divorce, from a cheating girlfriend, from a lying father, from a pointless job, from a physical problem, from the death of loved one, from your own failures, or from a devaluing of who you are gives evidence that your time is not yet over. But we can’t stuff it away. We can’t bury it. No one is exempt. We must endure it. For pain is the true test of a person’s character. Under torture, some have stood their ground and some have fallen. What you do under pain speaks volumes to fellow humans and to God himself. What will you do? It’s your life.

The Wooden Box

I grabbed a cup of water and put it under the faucet. The sound of the water pouring into the cup drew my mind away from the present. I drifted where I always went. I needed it. My mind bent on how I could get it next. I heard the sound of pounding in the distance, but the sound of the cup filling to the top drew me back to reality. Quickly, I turned the faucet off and poured some of it back out. Why did I need water in the first place? Couldn’t I just survive on what I really wanted? Ah… there was that pounding again. It came from the living room.

“He always wants out but he’s not going to get out. Ever. However, a little rest on the couch would be nice.”

The pounding got louder as I entered the living room.

“I’ll just spend a little time in here. It won’t bother me too much. Resting my legs feels good anyway. Now, if I could just get more of that stuff I need.”

I felt an excitement in my stomach just thinking about it.

“I need more of it. I did the last of it months ago. Ah… if only it lasted longer.”

The pounding really got loud now. It came from the large wooden box sitting beside the couch. I slammed my fist on the top of it and yelled, “Shut up!” Sometimes he can be so annoying. At least he wasn’t trying to talk to me. After all, he put me in charge. He should accept how things worked out and just be quiet. On the top of the wooden box a small window controlled the only visual communication between me and him. His breathing was rapid and his eyes danced wildly back and forth as they pleaded with mine. I ignored him and sipped my water.

“Why is this water never enough?”, I thought. “It would be if I had what I really needed. I just can’t seem to find it. It’s not available anymore.”

My eyes wandered around the room. Dust and dishes were scattered throughout the floor. My clothes were strewn on the back of the couch and the only chair I had. Memories of children running through the house went through my head more like ghosts than real thoughts. I really should get a maid. Cleaning is just not a priority. I guess months of fulfilling my needs takes it toll on a house. The wooden box made it seem like the room was furnished more than it was.

“He could clean the house though.”, I considered. “Oh, he would just love that.”

I laughed a little. I sipped more of my water and peered out of the windows. It’s so dark nowadays. I can’t remember the last time the sun peaked over the hills. Darkness prevailed outside the house rendering the windows useless. I stopped looking out of them months ago. There were no neighbors anyway. My street used to bustle with laughter and children’s games. That was before I found what I needed. The pounding started again and this time he spoke.

“Please let me out, “ he said, “I’m sorry I tried to stop you.”

I stood up and kicked the box. “You wanted this Jerry. Just shut up! I’m in control now, and no one can tell us apart anymore.”

“Help me… Help me!”, He cried.

He sobbed quietly as I stood up to leave the room. Jerry used to be my friend. I guess in the end, it was me that turned on him. He always did what I said. Now he can’t do anything.

Dave walked down the hospital corridor. The sun shined through the windows of each room as he passed. Today would have been an excellent day to go fishing, but he had urgent business that could not wait. A Bible could be clearly seen under his arm as he stepped into hospital room 124. A man lay on the bed in front of him. Dave stepped aside to let the nurse finish her check of the patient’s chart. She placed it back at the foot of the bed. The name on the chart was Jerry.

“Jerry, Jerry, it’s Pastor Dave. Can you hear me?”

Jerry’s skin was pale and thin. It looked as though it was draped over his bones like a worn out curtain. Although he was continually moving, Jerry was clearly bed ridden. The sound of the previous question seemed to be sucked into nothingness as the beeping monitors that were hooked to Jerry’s body persisted through an otherwise quiet room. His eyes danced wildly back and forth and his mouth formed inaudible words. He looked like he was crying. Dave spoke again.

“Jerry, Jerry, it’s Pastor Dave. Can you hear me? I’ve come to help you.”

Silence.

“Jerry, I’ve come to tell you about Jesus.”

Jerry’s eyes stopped for just a moment and made their way over to Dave’s. His head shook as he leaned toward Dave. He didn’t have much strength left. Jerry opened his mouth to speak. At first there was a deep gargling sound and then an ever so quiet voice, almost like a baby’s voice, resounding in the small room.

“Help me… Help me.”

At this, he collapsed back on the bed and his eyes resumed their awful dance once again.

“Jerry? Jerry!” Dave called out, but it was no use. He sat in the room for what seemed like an eternity hoping to see more moments of lucidity. The beeping of the machines were relentless. After a while, a nurse walked in and Dave felt it was time to leave.

That night, Dave slipped into bed with his wife. He had not repeated the account of his visit to anyone, and his heart was heavy as his mind drifted back to Jerry. He could still hear his cry.

“Help me… Help me!”

Sleep came slowly to his heavy heart, but his body soon gave way to the familiar rhythms of restful breathing. After all, God gives his beloved ones sleep.

That same night, Jerry slipped into the darkness once more and never returned.