Life is a smoke that curls--
Curls in a flickering skein,
That winds and whisks and whirls,
A figment thin and vain,
Into the vast Inane.
One end for hut and hall!
One end for cell and stall!
Burned in one common flame
Are wisdoms and insanities.
For this alone we came:--
"O Vanity of Vanities!"
(William Ernest Henley)
* * * * *
It is no longer fashionable, or even respectable, to talk of fate or destiny taking a hand. Love is a random matter, no more than that, in a universe governed by chance, which has swept aside all other deities and taken on a power that is all but supreme. But what a dull deity Chance is in comparison to those it has vanished. Dressed up as cool rationality — how rational it is, after all, to assert that there is no reason for anything — it appeals only to the impoverished of spirit.
--Iain Pears, The Dream of Scipio
* * * * *
C.S. Lewis once wrote that “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” (Mere Christianity)
Nevertheless, today there seems to be a growing number of neo-nihilists in the “new atheist” camp who have seriously proposed that the universe, this life and indeed all of human history, is ultimately meaningless and without purpose.
Ironically, these folks make their proud and purposeful proclamation in all sincerity. Indeed, they make this brazen proclamation with a straight face echoing the spirit-impoverished lament of Shakespeare's Macbeth:
The “new atheists” of today are not new at all, of course, but they have hitched their refurbished and freshly painted wagon to the Idol Mule-Team of Scientism and Metaphysical Naturalism, and with typical pop-cultural urgency, hubris and bravado have driven their spruced up existentialist rig into the bog of self-contradiction and irrationality. And they have done so with as much self-aggrandizing “sound and fury” that they can to muster.
The sensationalistic pop-cultural press has trumpeted the new atheists' claims hither and yon. The “God- is- Dead” crowd has been resurrected one more time... propped up by an idolatrous love for theoretical Science fiction rooted in a fundamentalist, faith-based adherence to blind Materialism.
As one of their own once admitted, they simply cannot let God “get his foot in the door”.
This “new” scenario is as old as the hills. The High Priests of Babel in ancient Mesopotamia promoted the first edition of this account at the very dawn of recorded human history (see Genesis chapter 11 for details). The fashionable and recurring literary motif has always...always... been a 'best-seller'. And, true to form, the oft-repeated story has once again climbed to the top of the charts. It is the updated, titillating... and pointless... made-over plot for 21st century consumption, a sequel recommended and endorsed by Oprah......
* * * * *
“But all morning I wondered: What is a mystery novel without a solution? It is an unthinkable tease. What is a question without an answer? A torment. What is a code without a key? Gibberish. And the world, to my eye and to my heart, is neither tease nor torment, and it certainly isn't gibberish. This world must mean something.
“The mystery must have a solution, the question an answer, the code a key. And not to seek these answers is to be less than human. The heart desires an answer, and yet we sit silently by, allowing the code to remain uncracked.
“That's the condition of so many people today....” --Webster Bull
"Life's a Mystery 'Whodunnit'”
(With No Meaning in the End)
Life's a riddle with no answer...
Life's a game without a Rule;
There's no Reason we're detecting...
Just a Tease 'n' Torment School.
History is going nowhere....
In the end....a pointless tale;
There's no code to be deciphered;
Smoking gun or “holy grail”
Life's a mystery “whodunnit”
With no theme or storyline...
And we're sure that no one wrote it...
It's a yarn that's un-designed.
We're content to turn the pages..
Analyze the ink and more;
Weigh it, poke it, prod 'n' stroke it...
But we'll see no “Metaphor”.
There's no clue to be discovered...
No one's there behind the scenes;
And we're sure there's no Third Person
Who might question Man's Esteem.
There's no Prologue, Introduction
There's no Purpose or “The End”
There's no funky anti-climax...
Nothing there to comprehend!
There's no wrap-up...There's no moral...
No protagonist or foe;
There's no tacit resolution,
Or a plot that's moving slow.
We're persuaded there's no Author...
Don't you see, that's just absurd!
We'll dissect the font and letter,
But we don't believe The Word.
We acknowledge there is syntax,
Punctuation we can find...
We may sense a sentence structure,
But there's Nothing 'tween the lines.
Surely we can judge the cover!
Content, though, we'll leave alone.
There' no meaning past the pages;
No.... the world's an Empty Tome.
* * * * *
Lord, some cling to this delusion...
But without excuses now....
Locked in skepticism's Darkness,
Some have chosen not to bow.
To avoid You, they're pretending,
That no Rhyme or Reason's here....
And so to a Void they're clinging,
Blind...Rejecting what is clear..
* * * * *
Lord, reveal the Sin within us...
Please remove the blinding Pride;
Help us see the Light of Calv'ry,
There the Cross and why You died.
Help us, Lord to seek the answer...
Help us, Lord, to find the key!
Help us, Father, turn the pages,
To see Christ in history.
* * * * *
"....History consists of parables whereby God communicates in terms that imagination rather than the mind, faith rather than knowledge, can grasp...The only reason for studying what goes on is to get at this parable that it [history] conveys. Otherwise it is just like an interminable soap opera whose situations recur although the characters change...To decipher the parable(s) of history we need the key...and of course the key that came to us is the Incarnation."
* * * * *
“But about going further [than words given by one shepherd], my son, be warned. Of making many books there is no end [so do not believe everything you read], and much study is a weariness of the flesh. All has been heard The end of the matter is, Fear God-know that He is, revere and worship Him---and keep His commandments; for this is the whole of man [the full original purpose of his creation, the object of God's providence, the root of character, the foundation of happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun], and the whole duty for every man.
“For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or evil.”
(Ecclesiastes 12 :12-14)
Lord, have mercy.