I know that the title of this blog is a little heavy but I think rightly so, as in the final talk of Wonder we heard about the real interruption of death in our lives. This week I have been interviewing my agnostic friend Sam about all things faith related, (you’ll see his comments on italics), and today we’re talking about life and death and meaning.
Ruben was saying that the inevitability of death cancels out the meaning that we create or seem to experience in our lives. What did you think about this?
I agree with much of what Ruben said, but I feel that he may have pushed a false dichotomy. Either Jesus died and rose from the dead, or we have no meaning in our lives? It seems contrived. Yes, death erases you, and time erases your work soon enough, but surely a legacy isn’t all that we mean by meaning. We don’t have a definition yet, but surely a requirement of meaning is to provide us with contentment. For me, I feel like my own happiness is enough for meaning. Finitude is enough.
I agree with Ruben and Sam, that death erases you and time erases the work you have done, and even in big advances to progress humanity, it seems we are working towards an ambiguous end point of purposelessness. On a biological scale our purpose is to survive, or as my biology housemate corrected me, to pass on genes. To what end do we pass on genes? It is OK for there to be no end, but it is doubtful to me.
But does there need to be a purpose for humanity’s overall existence?
For some, it’s OK that there isn’t a purpose for humanity, and for some, it isn’t OK. If you want a deeper purpose, an eventual goal to work towards, then as Ruben said, without a God this is difficult – Who wrote the plan?
Does death bother you?
When I was younger I was always worried about death, and obviously it does bother me still, in the sense of not wanting to die any time soon. But coming to terms with death is separate from faith, at least from my perspective. I understand that I won’t be around forever, and in many ways I would rather die young than suffer the effects of old age. Death is traumatic, it is troubling, and it can negate feelings of hope, but it’s sometimes better to embrace the limited word count than to hope to extend it.
I have to say here that I disagree with Sam’s last comment. Although I agree that if death really is the end and the annihilation of your existence, then the better and healthier option is to accept it rather than go to extreme lengths to extend it or avoid talking about it, but with the knowledge that death may not be the end on account of Jesus, then I feel that one would be a fool to turn that down. As well, I would not want to live ‘forever’ on an earth which brings me the tiredness that I feel even right now as I type this blog, but to be offered eternal life in a place without pain or suffering or exhaustion… Well, I’d have to accept. Jesus is offering us eternal life in a new place, and actually we won’t be dead, we’ll be resurrected, like him. Sam and I will be talking about the evidence and meaning of the resurrection in the final blog post so keep a look out!