I recently watched the Dawkins series on the meaning of Life on channel 4. I found it quite interesting, Dawkins is a very eloquent speaker and asks some good questions. He looks at three parts of the meaning of life – sex, death and getting out of bed in the morning – ethics, morality and meaning in life. I like Richard Dawkins and I think he is being genuine in his questions and he seeks answers from different areas – religious people and scientists. The conclusions that Dawkins brings is that basically the reason why atheists can get out of bed in the morning is because there is much beauty in life to enjoy, so get up and enjoy life knowing that you have come from a fish and you will carry on for generations in your DNA. There is no god, no afterlife, no reason of hope – but just enjoyment free of guilt, the creativity from arts and science to keep our minds alive and the knowledge that this life is it so make the most of it.
I wonder how people found this? This is a genuine question because I think on one level Dawkins is right. If you are an atheist then that’s what you must do with life – enjoy it till the end and when death is on your doorstep you are not to fear because your genes will carry on in your offspring.
“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (Isaiah 22:13)
Dawkins is right, there is nothing more to hope for than that and there is nothing more you want to hope for is there? But it leaves me with questions. I think back to my atheist self before I was a christian and I remember trying to embrace this, this enjoyment of life and be happy with the idea that there is nothing after. It left me feeling empty. My heart yearned for more, I cannot deny that I was not satisfied in Dawkins approach – I wonder how many other people aren’t either. When faced with death, I wonder how things would change in the way you think? I guess the question is whether Dawkins is right or not regardless about our wishful thinking! For me, I went out and examined what other people were saying and I was persuaded by a man called Jesus Christ – if you watched this program and felt an emptiness and yearning for more like I did, then come and investigate this guy Jesus Christ.
The other thing was that Dawkins is in a very good position and so are most of us. Rich, affluent, good education – dreams and desires are in our grasp and we can pick and choose what we want in life. It’s easy to fill our hearts with the comfort the world offers and dismiss the idea of anything after. We have had our fill and can do with no more – god is crushed under our affluence. But what of those that are not rich or affluent, who struggle each day, who have terminal illnesses – their hope is simply to just enjoy their life even though they may not be able to? Again it feels so empty. Richard spoke to a sweeper guy in India and he says that his sweeping gives him purpose in life, which it may – but I wonder if he hopes for more? You see Richard offers empty darkness at the end of life, a nothingness that engulfs you and if this life hasn’t worked out then its just the pattern of evolution and you need to get over it. I think that way is too easy to say from someone in a nice suit and a big house.
But Jesus offers hope, a man who has walked in the dust, walked among the poor and ate with the outcasts. He humbled himself from the riches of glory to the dust and dirt of the earth. And He offers us eternal life, even if this world is crap we can come to him and receive life in him that is overflowing in goodness and hope. Those that are ill will be made well, those that are poor will be rich, those that suffering will be comforted. It’s easy for the rich to cast such remarks about eternity even though I have no doubt there is time when they will ask… “is there more than this?”… I asked that and found the answer in Jesus.