Now that I am thinking about it, I’ve been taking in a lot of different sources about “the world.” Take that however you want, because I think all of that has been included in it. What brought it all to the forefront of my mind is an article I just read, which may or may not be completely reliable, but it’s still food for thought. Programs are starting to pick up steam in which people are signing up to leave Earth to begin the first stages of Mars colonization. Here’s the website.
According to this, there are hundreds of people willing to sacrifice their lives to start Mars colonization. It features three specific people who all want to be remembered for doing something great. One woman said she was above love, that she thought it an emotion that she didn’t need. Another man said he wanted to start over because this world was too far gone. All the disease, the hatred, the natural disasters, etc.
Now, that made me start thinking about all kinds of different interpretations of “world.” I thought of Ariel wanting to be part of a different world, Shrek singing about a “big, bright, beautiful world,” the song I just heard on CSI by OneRepublic, “I Lived,” church, and also Buffy of course, but this post isn’t about that. This is about the world and not focusing on the people in it. Those are also just some of the things I thought of when I started thinking about what I was going to write about. I think it’s super silly of those people to send themselves to Mars knowing they’ll never come back to Earth.
This world is jacked up. I’m not denying that. Their are tons of awful people who seek to make life miserable for others. There are millions of people suffering in one form or another. People die unexpectedly and leave holes in the lives of others. Tsunamis sweep away entire civilizations, AIDS renders the body completely vulnerable to disease, and billions of pounds of CO2 emissions are pumped into the atmosphere while forests are cut down and animals are driven to extinction. Our society believes that killing unborn children so their parents can avoid responsibility. ISIS is beheading dozens of people on video to strike fear into peoples’ hearts. Earth and humanity are doomed.
But I still believe in this world. Why? The world is full of nasty, horrible, corrupted, wicked, and evil things. But I think God has given us a way out. He gave us Jesus. That’s the hope in the world. But I want to talk about something else first, and that’s the end of the world. I’m not fully knowledgeable about this, but Hindus call this time the Age of Kali, or the dark times. Kali will come and rid the world of evil and restore us back to a golden age of prosperity. Norse mythology details Ragnarok, where the gods will make war for a final time and the world will end in fire and ice, and even the gods themselves are not safe. The second coming of Jesus to take his people home at the end of days. I don’t know when the world will end, but most major belief systems detail some kind of end-of-the-world scenario. I am of the belief that it could very well happen in my lifetime. I shudder to think of how bad it will be after I die, if the world doesn’t end while I’m alive.
I’m such a Debbie Downer right? Well I’m trying to tell the truth. This world is really messed up. But I wouldn’t ever abandon it, even to make history as the first person to step on Mars. Mars is so far removed from everyone else. I watched Interstellar and cringed. They are SO far away from Earth. No people, no cities, not even air to breath most of the time. If something bad were to happen, you would die. Period. Nobody is around to hear you scream, or cry for help. You are completely and utterly alone. No amount of fame or glory is worth that. I’m not really too afraid of death. I’m a little more curious. Of course I’m not saying I’m going to look to die, and I wouldn’t say I’m ready to die, but I am saying that if I did die right now, I won’t be too concerned about where I’m going.
Let’s cut to the chase. This is all to say that this world is not hopeless. Sure it sucks really hard, but we’re all still here. Suffering is viewed as such a negative thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Pain isn’t a bad thing. Hell, death isn’t even a bad thing. In every book, movie, and TV show you’ve ever watched, every good character suffers. Not good as in not evil, but good as in compelling and interesting and relatable. For me, the entire show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Luke Skywalker suffered immensely. Suffering is what makes people stronger and strives them to be better. We do things to beat suffering. Suffering makes people great. Pain is the same story. Without pain, we wouldn’t know what’s good and bad for us. It reminds us that we’re still alive, and that we’re mortal. I view pain as bad too, I’m not holier than thou. This is a message to me as well. Pain motivates us. Death is necessary. If everyone got to live forever, we’d run out of room on the earth, and already we are. We’re obsessed with living as long as we can, but we complain that the earth is becoming too populated. Everyone needs to be taken care of, but those damn Indians better stop making babies because we can’t support them all. Now, I have nothing against Indians or lots of children or any of that, but death needs to not be viewed as such a terrible thing. For every person that dies, another gets to live. The tragic part to me is the thought of people dying and then having to go to hell. I don’t want that to happen, but wishing something to not happen won’t change reality. I wish it wasn’t snowing right now, but that isn’t going to stop it from snowing. The world is awful, but really, we deserve so much worse.
We deserve hell. I’m not trying to sound like southern Baptist preacher, but that’s reality. Our measure of good is different from God’s. In His eyes, to be good, you have to be perfect. That’s none of us, so we have to go where the bad people go. By human standards, there are a lot of good people, but really some of us are just “less bad” than others. That all being said, there is so much beauty in this world beyond the “bad” things. We celebrate Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. because of their courage in the face of suffering. The world is also a beautiful place, brimming with hope and promise, because that’s how God created the world originally. It’s dark now, but the light isn’t gone. I’ve written about it before; just look at some of my prior posts. Sunrise and sunset, stars, the moon, water, fire, mountains, art, music, people. . .we thrive. There is so much beauty in this world. This is where the song “I Lived” comes in.
Live life to the fullest. Life is a blessing. We ought to be feeling blessed that we have the chance to suffer and experience struggle and hardship and strife. One thing I hear from a lot of atheists is that having one life to live is inspiring because then you have to make the most of it. You won’t exist after you die, so you may as well make the time you have the best it can be. Some people who believe in an after life, to contrast that idea, seem to think that the world is so bad and the after life will be perfect, so they spend their life just getting by and waiting for death. They pass life by not living for the day that they truly start to live. I think the latter is miserable. I agree that life after death will be far better than anything this world can offer me, but there is a reason we’re here! We weren’t put on this earth to die. Part of it was to enjoy it. Enjoying this life isn’t harmful, to an extent. Isn’t it kind of insulting that God provided all these great, pure, wonderful things for us that we just won’t do because it might make us happy? Embrace those fun things that are “God sponsored.” Sports, family, friends, love, nature, whatever it is. Milk this life for all that it has, otherwise you really aren’t living in a way that honors God. Again, “God sponsored” stuff, not harmful things. Go bungee jumping, skydiving, learn how to surf. I’m going to steal this from a Twilight movie (What?! You’re gonna use THAT to tell me how to live?). This is Jessica’s valedictorian graduation speech:
“When we were five, they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. Our answers were things like astronaut, president, or in my case… princess.
When we were ten, they asked again and we answered – rock star, cowboy, or in my case, gold medalist. But now that we’ve grown up, they want a serious answer. Well, how ’bout this: who the hell knows?!
This isn’t the time to make hard and fast decisions, its time to make mistakes. Take the wrong train and get stuck somewhere chill. Fall in love – a lot. Major in philosophy ’cause there’s no way to make a career out of that. Change your mind. Then change it again, because nothing is permanent.
So make as many mistakes as you can. That way, someday, when they ask again what we want to be… we won’t have to guess. We’ll know.”
Now, what I take from that is to not have any regrets. Live life. Making mistakes is the only way to really learn. The yin and yang. There can’t be good without evil. Resist evil, but know that you will mess up and it’s okay. You’re still loved and can be forgiven. Keep your chin up and keep going. I don’t think it means that downtime is a bad thing, or that you should neglect responsibilities. Really, you don’t have to do anything extreme. It’s more of a mindset, a perspective change. I can choose to wake up on Monday and say to myself, “Ugh, Monday. School sucks. I wish this were over. Poor me.” Or, I could wake up and say this, “Wow, I’m alive and I’m breathing. I’m healthy. I’m going to see my friends today and get smarter. I’m going to have a great day.” Now maybe both of those are rather extreme, but they illustrate my point about perspective. Believe that there is a reason for everything. Did you get in a car crash? Well maybe God was trying to tell you to stop talking on the phone while driving. Good can come out of the bad. Even death. Your mom just died from a drunk driver, but you have no idea why. God takes moments like that and makes the best of them. I’m going to quote part of a line from the TV show Angel that I think is magic.
“Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. – It’s harsh, and cruel. – But that’s why there’s us. Champions. It doesn’t matter where we come from, what we’ve done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be.”
That show is magic. I love both of the shows with all my heart, and the characters are magnificent. But I said I wouldn’t talk about them, so I’m done. We do live in a rough world, but we need to do the right thing, even if it doesn’t help at all. You don’t do what’s natural or what the world would have you do. You do the right thing. We will always fail sometimes and stumble along the way, but the right thing to do is to keep going and not let it get us down. Life is really a wonderful gift. It’s only a matter of how we want to view the world. But I will try to view it in the way it should be viewed. I believe in the hope brought to Earth by Jesus, and that is good enough for me.