Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Are we too pessimistic?
I was just watching one of those disaster shows on the History Channel. You know, those shows that focus on how the dinosaurs might have been wiped out and then shows how our planet might be obliterated by a comet, earthquake, hurricane, or super volcano eruption? It got me thinking -why does the modern world seem to have a fascination with our destruction? It seems like we have become incredibly pessimistic and cynical as people.
Sure there have always been stories of humanity's destruction. From biblical accounts of floods, plagues, and apocalyptic visions to ancient Greek mythology it seems there has been some history of this talk of pending destruction.
I just finished a great book called Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die. In this book, the authors David Crowder and Mike Hogan talk about how culture thinks of death and they explore the history of the soul. Reading this book I came to realize... we're afraid of death. Could it be that humanity has an acute sense of our own mortality and that causes much of the pessimism and focusing on how we might be destoyed?
In many ways, our planet is suffering from incredible brokenness: Wars, disease, famine, natural disasters, cultural shifts, the destruction or erroding of family systems. We can feel the destruction... the despair. It rocks us to the core. As we (maybe subconciously) consider our impending death, it causes us to express this dispair in various different forms: pessimism, depression, sarcasm, cynicism, selfishness, hedonism.
How has this pessimistic culture affected me? I'm noticing as I get older (and wiser?) that I have become increcingly a more cynical and sarcastic person. The weight of our world - the despair and harsh realities are stripping away my joy little by little. How do I avoid slipping down this dark path?
I think that it just shows our need for a redeemer. A God that can pull us out of the mud and mire and breathe life into our hearts and lives. If this death and pessimism is at it's root all about dying, then becoming more hopeful and joyful must come from embrasing eternal life. Jesus Christ.